It’s fair to say that Doctor Who fans are pretty excited for this year’s Christmas special, which will see Peter Capaldi’s Doctor team up with his former self (David Bradley) to battle a mysterious time-freezing force.
But it’s probably ALSO fair to say that many of those fans will be most excited for the episode to end, when they’ll get a look at someone very special – Jodie Whittaker’s new Doctor, who takes over from Capaldi at the end of the episode. And it’s a fact not lost on the Doctor Who team themselves…
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“There is a little bit of like ‘I want to see Jodie now!’” episode director Rachel Talalay admitted on the Radio Free Skaro podcast.
“What I do hope is, for Christmas you don’t have your Christmas pudding and your brandy, and say ‘OK, let’s just get to the regeneration!’ I hope you can actually enjoy the story too.”
Still, Talalay wasn’t shy about discussing some aspects of the pivotal final scene, which she shot both Capaldi and Whittaker’s parts for on different days under the direction of current showrunner Steven Moffat and new boss Chris Chibnall.
“I knew I was going to shoot both parts of the regeneration, but I did say to Chris Chibnall if you want a different director to introduce Jodie, you should have a different director,” she recalled. “Because he’s creating a whole new world.
Because he is brilliant and has helped me no end. Including on Heaven Sent/Hell Bent and more to come! https://t.co/gc9OJU1kj5
— Rachel Talalay (@rtalalay) November 17, 2017
“[But] he too was absolutely lovely and said no, we’re absolutely delighted it’s going to be you, and no-one else. And so we sat down and talked about the Jodie portion of the regeneration, and it was wonderful.
She added: “The thing I would love to talk about, and look forward to talking about in the future is how I planned Peter’s portion of the regeneration versus how I planned and shot Jodie’s.
“Because as a director, that was a really satisfying, interesting, fun challenge, and I’m really pleased with both sides of it.”
Of course, the side Talalay COULD talk about was Capaldi’s, with the director revealing that the Scottish actor had played a big part in the planning of his final scene.
“When it came to the regeneration in the Christmas episode, Peter has a big scene about it, as one would expect,” she said.
“And he and I spent some time alone on the Tardis, which is his place to sit when he wants to be quiet. We just sat there, in that space, alone, talking through that whole scene. Talking through in his happy space.
“He had a hundred notes on his script. Again, I view myself as a guide. But he was deeply into it.”
And apparently the collaboration paid off handsomely, with Talalay full of praise for the Twelfth Doctor’s last stand.
“It’s absolutely a Peter Tour-de-force as you can imagine,” she said. “I was so lucky to get to do it.”
In other words, then, it seems like we’re in for a simultaneously sad, exciting, nostalgic and forward-thinking episode of Doctor Who that contrasts with itself just as much as it does with anything else on the telly.
Business as usual, then.
Doctor Who returns to BBC1 this Christmas