Since making an impressive debut with Dinosaurs on a Spaceship Director Saul Metzstein has become one of the most distinctive directors to take the helm of a Doctor Who episode.
From his stand-out use of close-ups via monitors in that debut episode to the spine-tingling staircase ascent to the TARDIS in The Snowmen, his keen eye and economy have made him a perfect fit for the anything can happen world of the Doctor.
Recently, the director of this week’s The Crimson Horror sat down with Doctor Who TV to discuss marshalling the Doctor, the difference between this and other shows and just what’s in store in the finale, The Name of the Doctor.
One of the boons for any TV buff working on The Crimson Horror would be the presence of genre TV royalty in the form of Dame Diana Rigg and her equally accomplished daughter Rachael Stirling; so what was it like to direct the pair?
Mark Gatiss wrote the parts especially for them, and I can only speculate how – and how much – the relationship on screen reflects their real relationship!! (not too much, I hope). But it was great fun, particularly shooting the big dramatic scene between them in the factory attic.
It’s that mixture of interesting character arcs and ‘big dramatic scenes’ that makes Doctor Who such a unique programme; so what is it like to direct an episode:
The obvious difference is that Doctor Who can be anything at all. One minute you’re in the wild west, the next you’re on a spaceship, then next you’re in Victorian London. I think there is a general fluidity that I try to bring to it, but it’s important to be very flexible and responsive to the massively varying material. Most TV programmes have much stricter stylistic limitations.
Something not hemmed in by limitations will be this year’s go-for-broke finale The Name of the Doctor; and, unsurprisingly, Saul isn’t just about to spoil the party…in fact, if he dares utter a word upon it, he could face legal action!
I promised not to give anything away. In fact, I’m legally obliged not to give anything away!
For the full interview, head over to Doctor Who TV. Catch The Crimson Horror this evening on BBC One and BBC HD from 6.30pm and on BBC America at 8 ET.