Page 3 Profile: Ben Wheatley, Director


Doesn’t he have a penchant for all things grisly?

Yes, you’re probably thinking of the British director’s previous blood-soaked, macabre offerings such as Kill List in 2011 and last year’s black comedy Sightseers, which received seven nominations at the British Independent Film Awards and won best screenplay. He’s a bit of a cult phenomenon due to his disturbing, edgy style and seen as one of the rising stars of his generation.

So more of the same to come?

Actually, it was revealed yesterday that Wheatley will direct the first two episodes of Peter Capaldi’s stint in the eighth series of Doctor Who, which will air in autumn 2014. The BBC’s long-running science fiction programme, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next month, has a family audience and a slot way before the watershed, so any brutality will have to be kept to a minimum.

Doesn’t that make Wheatley a bit of an odd choice?

There are sure to be a few raised eyebrows. The director is a sci-fi fan and said he is “excited and honoured” to have been chosen. Wheatley told Screen Daily: “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. I’m really looking forward to working with Peter Capaldi and finding out where Steven Moffat is planning to take the new Doctor.”

I heard this isn’t the first controversial choice for the new series

You’re right there. Peter Capaldi is probably best known for his role as spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in the BBC comedy The Thick of It, where he turns the air blue and makes insults an art form. Perhaps Wheatley and Capaldi are a provocative pairing for Doctor Who, but isn’t versatility the sign of all great creative types?

Is it all change for Doctor Who then?

Unfortunately, we don’t have a Tardis, so we’ll have to wait and see what Wheatley will bring to the show.