Doctor Who director teases “action packed, emotional” series eight finale

Director Rachel Talalay also says that Peter Capaldi was "worried he had 11 Doctors he might be mimicking"


Rachel Talalay, director of Peter Capaldi’s first Doctor Who two-part finale, has revealed some details of how series eight will end. 


Talalay, who also helmed movies Tank Girl and Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, says that the Cyberman-focused episodes will be action-packed and “emotional.”

“Both parts were written by Steven Moffat, which is fantastic,” she said. “There’s so much action and effects and emotional material. It’s a Cyberman episode. We shot in London for two days. One day we shot outside St Paul’s Cathedral. There were a billion tourists circling us while we were trying to film. Part of what we were tasked to do was replicate some classic shots – from the sixties show – of the Cybermen outside St Paul’s. It’s a whole new story.”

The classic episode that Talalay refers to is the 1968 story The Invasion, which sees Cybermen rise out of the sewers and walk down the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral. Last month, Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor and new addition to the cast Michelle Gomez were pictured recreating the scene among actors overheating in Cybermen costumes and a huge crowd of fans. Talalay adds that, logistically, it was a difficult shoot. 

“We had a big scene with Peter Capaldi and Michelle Gomez – a dialogue scene. We had about seven hours of shooting and quite a bit of material to cover. I didn’t factor in that we were basically given five-minute periods to shoot, then we had to let pedestrians cross. So for every five minutes of shooting, we had about 20 minutes of moving pedestrians. It was very hot as well, which made it also very hard. The Cybermen were scorching hot in their suits. You’re all the time worried they’re going to pass out.

“You’re trying not to have all your scenes prerecorded and posted on people’s iPhones and on the internet before you have finished your own shooting. You’re trying your hardest just to keep focused. You just go, ‘Here are my priority shots. Here’s the absolute minimum we need to get, and let’s just stay concentrated on that.'”

Talalay also had high praise for Doctor Who’s new lead Peter Capaldi, telling The Globe and Mail that he was a Doctor like no other. 

He has very much found the character. Nobody had any doubts about his ability to act. The biggest challenge was he’s Doctor No 12. He was constantly worried he had 11 Doctors he might be mimicking. Pretty much anything you do in some ways is going to mimic some other Doctor. Becoming completely your own Doctor is fine when you’re No. 2, but a much greater challenge when you’re No 12 and you have the 50-year history. I think he was truly challenged by that concept. But even when I saw the very first footage from the first episode, which I was privileged enough to see as soon as I arrived, it was clear he knew exactly who he was as a Doctor.”


Fans will get their first taste of Capaldi’s Doctor when the series returns with feature-length episode Deep Breath on 23rd August.