Entertainment & Arts

Sightseers director Wheatley to take on Doctor Who episodes

Peter Capaldi and Ben Wheatley
Image caption Peter Capaldi (left) will make his full-length debut in two episodes helmed by Ben Wheatley (right) next year

British filmmaker Ben Wheatley has revealed he is to direct Peter Capaldi's first episodes of Doctor Who.

Best known for the grisly thrillers Kill List and Sightseers, he will shoot two episodes of the show's eighth series, which is due next Autumn.

Speaking to Screen Daily, Wheatley said he was "excited and honoured" to have been asked, adding "I've been a fan since childhood".

Scottish star Capaldi will replace Matt Smith in this year's Christmas special.

Capaldi's highest-profile role before now has been as the vicious spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in political satire The Thick Of It.

Rediscovering Doctor Who

Known for his bravura swearing, Capaldi's casting in the Saturday teatime series raised a few eyebrows.

The news that Wheatley will direct his debut may raise them even further.

His macabre films contain scenes of physical and psychological torture, brutal murders and dark humour.

But he has also been praised as one of the most promising directors of his generation.

Last year's Sightseers, a black comedy about a British couple who embark on a killing spree, received seven nominations at the British Independent Film Awards, eventually winning best screenplay.

His most recent film was psychedelic English civil-war drama A Field In England, starring The League of Gentlemen's Reece Shearsmith - who is due to play the second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, in a BBC docu-drama later this year.

Born in 1972, Wheatley said Tom Baker was "his" Doctor, adding that he had "been watching the current run of Doctor Who with my son and have discovered it all over again.

"The work that has been done is amazing," he said.

"I'm really looking forward to working with Peter Capaldi and finding out where Steven Moffat is planning to take the new Doctor."

Doctor Who celebrates its 50th anniversary next month, with a 75-minute special episode called The Day Of The Doctor on Saturday, 23 November.

Other programmes marking the birthday include a BBC Two lecture by Professor Brian Cox on the science behind the show and a BBC Radio 2 documentary, Who Is The Doctor?

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