Ben Wheatley, known for his unsettling, macabre and darkly-comic style in films such as Sightseers and Kill List, is confirmed to direct the first two full length episodes to star the Twelfth Time Lord, Peter Capaldi.
Wheatley will direct the episodes for series eight through December and into the new year for transmission in autumn 2014.
“I am very excited and honoured to be asked to direct the first two episodes of the new series of Doctor Who. I’ve been a fan since childhood (Tom Baker is my Doctor if you are asking),” Wheatley revealed. “I’ve been watching the current run of Doctor who with my son and have discovered it all over again. The work that has been done is amazing. I’m really looking forward to working with Peter Capaldi and finding out where Steven Moffat is planning to take the new Doctor,” .
Wheatley’s features include acclaimed horror Kill List, about two hit men who become embroiled in a nightmarish cult. His debut feature was comedy crime drama Down Terrace in 2009 and he directed Alice Lowe and Steve Oram in dark comedy Sightseers, which won top awards at the BIFAs and Sitges. His most recent film was psychedelic English civil-war drama A Field in England, which was the first UK film to be released simultaneously in cinemas, on DVD, free TV and VoD.
In taking on the challenge, he becomes the most established film director to tackle the Time Lord. However, Wheatley will need to curb some of the darker instincts on display in his features, given that Doctor Who airs pre-watershed on BBC and has a legion of younger fans. But Wheatley has proved that he can also handle the lighter side, after working on BBC 3 Johnny Vegas comedy Ideal, and sketch show The Wrong Door. The director is known to have a passion for the sci-fi genre and has been in development for some time on his first US feature Freakshift, about a band of misfits who hunt down and kill nocturnal monsters.
The choice of Wheatley as the director of Capaldi’s two debut episodes seems to fit in well with Moffat’s recent reveal that the 12th Doctor will be a much darker and grittier character – so expect those behind the sofa moments to be just a little bit more intense!