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Ben Wheatley to direct new Doctor Who episodes

The director isn't known for producing family-friendly fare

Ben Wheatley, whose works include "blood-soaked" fare such as Kill List and Sightseers, is the surprise choice to direct the opening episodes of the new series of Doctor Who.

Wheatley, who made his name with the crime thriller-turned-horror Kill List - described as a "gut-wrenching chiller" - has a cult following and has been championed as a rising star among British directors.

He will direct episodes of series eight of the long-running BBC show, which airs well before the watershed, and will star Peter Capaldi who takes the role from Matt Smith. They will air next autumn.

The director told Screen Daily: "I am very excited and honoured to be asked to direct the first two episodes of the new series of Doctor Who. I've been a fan since childhood."

His Doctor is Tom Baker, he revealed. "I've 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."

His films, which are also known for being darkly comic, include Sightseers, described as "Nuts in May with axes," by film critic Mark Kermode; comedy crime drama Down Terrace, and the recent A Field in England.