Fans of the long-running British sci-fi TV show ‘Doctor Who’ are buzzing about the upcoming Christmas Special episode, which will see current Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi regenerate into Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker. Although Whittaker will only appear briefly at the end of the episode, her appearance will mark the first time in the show’s storied history that the main character will be regenerating into a female iteration.
In a recent podcast interview, Rachel Talalay, the director of the Christmas episode (along with several other ‘Who’ episodes over the years), spoke about the anticipation she is feeling from fans she speaks with:
“There is a little bit of like ‘I want to see Jodie now!’ What I do hope is, for Christmas you don’t have your Christmas pudding and your brandy, and say ‘OK, let’s just get to the regeneration!’ I hope you can actually enjoy the story too.”
Talalay herself was actually surprised that she was given the opportunity to direct the entire Christmas episode and regeneration sequence:
“I knew I was going to shoot both parts of the regeneration, but I did say to Chris Chibnall if you want a different director to introduce Jodie, you should have a different director, because he’s creating a whole new world. [But] he too was absolutely lovely and said ‘No, we’re absolutely delighted it’s going to be you, and no-one else.’ And so we sat down and talked about the Jodie portion of the regeneration, and it was wonderful.
“The thing I would love to talk about, and look forward to talking about in the future is how I planned Peter’s portion of the regeneration versus how I planned and shot Jodie’s. Because as a director, that was a really satisfying, interesting, fun challenge, and I’m really pleased with both sides of it.”
While change is inevitable and nothing to be concerned about, many fans (myself included) will sorely miss Capaldi as he hangs up his ‘Who’ hat. The actor turned in a phenomenal performance over the last three years as the crotchety-but-lovable Doctor – and Talalay did take the time to expound a bit on what the audience can expect to feel in his final scene:
“When it came to the regeneration in the Christmas episode, Peter has a big scene about it, as one would expect. And he and I spent some time alone on the TARDIS, which is his place to sit when he wants to be quiet. We just sat there, in that space, alone, talking through that whole scene. Talking through in his happy space. He had a hundred notes on his script. Again, I view myself as a guide. But he was deeply into it. It’s absolutely a Peter Tour-de-force as you can imagine. I was so lucky to get to do it.”
The Christmas Special episode of ‘Doctor Who’ will air on Chrismas Day, December 25th, on BBC America.