Doctor Who confirms new writer and director for Jodie Whittaker’s next special
Ella Road and Haolu Wang will team up with Chris Chibnall for a “swashbuckler” of an episode.
We’re finally getting to learn a bit more about upcoming Doctor Who special Legend of the Sea Devils, with the episode’s co-writer, director and other new details confirmed in the latest edition of Doctor Who Magazine.
"It’s a bit of a swashbuckler," executive producer Matt Strevens told DWM. "It’s the last ‘regular’ adventure story before you go into the machinations of a regeneration story."
So who is behind this penultimate peril for Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor? Well, co-writing the episode with Chibnall is Ella Road, a playwright and screenwriter who wrote Olivier-nominated play The Phlebotomist (later adapted for BBC radio) as well as episodes of upcoming Call My Agent remake Ten Percent. Legend of the Sea Devils marks the first time a guest writer has co-written a special alongside Chibnall, as well as Road’s Doctor Who debut.
The episode’s director, meanwhile, is Haolu Wang. Long-rumoured to be helming this story, Wang makes her TV debut after previously working on short films including The Pregnant Ground and Lao Wai.
And while plenty of cast for the episode had already been revealed – alongside regulars Whittaker, Mandip Gill and John Bishop the episode stars Crystal Yu, Arthur Lee and Marlowe Chan-Reeves – it’s also now been announced that a familiar figure from the last series will also play a role.
Fans are unlikely to recognise him, however – because it’s Craige Els returning, after impressing as dog-faced alien Karvanista in series 13. This time he’s credited as Marsissus, almost certainly the main Sea Devil already spotted in the episode’s teaser trailer.
"The next Special, Legend of the Sea Devils, is a chance for all the design departments to totally show off," Strevens said in his DWM interview. "We built these massive, full-size galleon ships in the studio, the costumes are exquisite – John [Bishop] had great fun dressing up as a pirate.
"And Chris [Chibnall] is a superfan, as we know, so for him it was really important that we did the Sea Devils justice. He was really keen to stick close to the classic design."
So far, it sounds like this episode has all the ingredients for some rip-roaring springtime fun. All aboard!