Doctor Who finale director: Missy reveal made me shriek

Rachel Talalay also explains that Peter Capaldi and Michelle Gomez mouthed their most spoilerific lines to avoid being overheard

Who is Missy? Ever since her first appearance in series eight opener Deep Breath, that question has loomed over Peter Capaldi’s Doctor, with each subsequent appearance of the mysterious Guardian of the Nethershpere (usually after someone has died) perplexing fans even further. 

Advertisement reader’s theories about Michelle Gomez’s enigmatic character have ranged from her being a female incarnation the Master to the Valeyard – a future Doctor turned evil – to the brain of Madame de Pompadour in the body of a cyborg. Whatever the answer is, it certainly excited Rachel Talaley, director of the two-part finale, who apparently shrieked when she read the reveal in the script for Dark Water.  

“I read episode 11, the morning it came to me, as I left for the UK,” she said. “I read it on the airplane and I shrieked!”

Talaley, who directs final episodes Dark Water and Death in Heaven, also went on to say that extra measures were taken to protect the secret during filming at St Pauls in central London, which attracted many fans and photographers. 

“When we shot outside in the two major public places – which I can talk about because of all the press – there were huge secrets to be kept. We put out script sides that were incorrect. We published for the crew a script that was incorrect. The actors, when they finally did the correct lines, mouthed them.”

“We were outside St Paul’s Cathedral with everyone on their iPhone recording. I’m still shocked that the big spoilers, the secrets, have been kept until now. People were taking cameras and sticking them in the tent. Taking pictures of the sound man’s script! So I give huge credit to the team for figuring out a process! I so enjoy all the theories as to who is Missy and what’s going on!”

Speaking to Den of Geek, the Tank Girl and Cry-Baby director said that when it finally came to recording those mouthed lines in post-production, she wasn’t the only one who was wowed by the identity of Missy. 

“The other day when we were doing ADR, adding in the dialogue, [and] the ADR technician slammed the console and said ‘oh my God, really? Really?’ It was classic, and I thought yes, it’s going to work!”


Dark Water airs this Saturday (1st November) on BBC One at 8:15pm. Check out who readers think Missy is at our poll here