Rachel Talalay has spoken about directing the two-part “action-packed, emotional” Doctor Who Series 8 finale.
Speaking to The Globe and Mail, Talalay said: “There’s so much action and effects and emotional material. It’s a Cyberman episode. We shot in London for two days. One day we shot outside St. Paul’s Cathedral. There were a billion tourists circling us while we were trying to film. Part of what we were tasked to do was replicate some classic shots - from the 60s show - of the Cybermen outside St. Paul’s. It’s a whole new story.”
Elaborating further, she spoke about the difficulty of filming in a very public area: “We had a big scene with Peter Capaldi and Michelle Gomez - a dialogue scene. We had about seven hours of shooting and quite a bit of material to cover. I didn’t factor in that we were basically given 5 minute periods to shoot, then we had to let pedestrians cross. So for every 5 minutes of shooting, we had about 20 minutes of moving pedestrians. It was very hot as well, which made it also very hard. The Cybermen were scorching hot in their suits. You’re all the time worried they’re going to pass out.
“You’re trying not to have all your scenes prerecorded and posted on people’s iPhones and on the Internet before you have finished your own shooting. You’re trying your hardest just to keep focused. You just go, ‘Here are my priority shots. Here’s the absolute minimum we need to get, and let’s just stay concentrated on that.”
On working with Peter Capaldi, she said: “He has very much found the character. Nobody had any doubts about his ability to act. The biggest challenge was he’s Doctor No. 12. He was constantly worried he had 11 Doctors he might be mimicking. Pretty much anything you do in some ways is going to mimic some other Doctor. Becoming completely your own Doctor is fine when you’re No. 2, but a much greater challenge when you’re No. 12 and you have the 50-year history. I think he was truly challenged by that concept. But even when I saw the very first footage from the first episode, which I was privileged enough to see as soon as I arrived, it was clear he knew exactly who he was as a Doctor.
“For me, David Tennant and Matt Smith, both of whom I absolutely adore, are these young, romantic Doctors. When I went to interview, before they had even announced Peter, they said, ‘We’re going to go back to the older Doctors.’ Not age, just a slightly grumpier, more complicated Doctor. They chose a different direction and different type of Doctor. For me, [Peter] is the Doctor now because that’s what I have been living with for the last four months.”
Doctor Who Series 8 will begin on Saturday, 23rd August on BBC One.