Way back when The Bells of St. John was waiting around the corner for us, Steven Moffat said that he tells each director to make the show their own. That’s why we’ve got such stunning episodes, including Colm McCarthy’s Sherlock-esque visuals, Skaldak storming through Alien-like surroundings (courtesy of Douglas Mackinnon), and glass-smashing mayhem from Nick Hurran in The Day of the Doctor.
But the first two episodes of Series 8 are helmed by Ben Wheatley, best-known for the horror film, The Kill List (starring The Impossible Planet actress, MyAnna Buring), so are we to expect the Doctor leading a cult into human sacrifice? Well… No.
Reece Shearsmith, who’s worked with Wheatley on Civil War epic, A Field in England, insists the show won’t turn visceral:
I’m not sure that you could ever somehow visually taint it with your style. Maybe it’d be different if he was writing it as well. There’s a very abrupt and savage streak in Ben’s work, but I don’t think it will quite filter through… with a Who script.
Showrunner, Steven Moffat, has written the two stories that introduce the world to the Twelfth Doctor, and Shearsmith – who played Patrick Troughton in docu-drama, An Adventure in Space and Time - says of Wheatley:
I think he thought it would be an exciting project to get his teeth into. He’s learning all the time and I think he thought it would be a good challenge to do it. It’s very prestigious to do Capaldi’s inaugural episodes.
We can only agree! But we’re also lucky to have Wheatley on board. Next series will be gorgeous.
Of course, Doctor Who isn’t really a stranger to horror tropes – not even human sacrifice! The Brain of Morbius, The Masque of Mandragora, The Fires of Pompeii… So would you be up for seeing some more nightmare-inducing material?