Doctor Who (series 8)

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This article is about the 2014 series. For the 1971 season, see Doctor Who (season 8).
Doctor Who series 8
DVD cover for Series 8, featuring the Twelfth Doctor and Clara Oswald; as well as Danny Pink, Missy, a Dalek and a Cyberman.
UK Region 2 DVD box set cover
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 12
Release
Original channel BBC One
Original release 23 August 2014 (2014-08-23) – 8 November 2014 (2014-11-08)
Series chronology
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2013 specials
List of Doctor Who serials

The eighth series of the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who began on 23 August 2014 with "Deep Breath" and ended with "Death in Heaven" on 8 November 2014. The series was officially ordered on 20 May 2013,[4] and led by head writer and executive producer Steven Moffat, alongside executive producer Brian Minchin. Nikki Wilson, Peter Bennett and Paul Frift served as producers. The series is the eighth to air following the programme's revival in 2005, and is the thirty-fourth season overall. It is also the first series since series five not to be split into two parts.

The series is the first to star Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor, the most recent incarnation of the Doctor, an alien Time Lord who travels through time and space in his TARDIS, which appears to be a British police box on the outside. It also stars Jenna Coleman as his companion, Clara Oswald. Also playing a major recurring role in the series is Samuel Anderson as Danny Pink, Clara's boyfriend. The main story arc revolves around a mysterious woman called Missy (portrayed by Michelle Gomez), who is often seen welcoming people who have died throughout the series to the "Promised Land", a place that serves as an apparent afterlife to deceased characters. Missy's true identity is later revealed to be the Doctor's arch-enemy, the Master, who has hatched a plan using the help of the Cybermen and through manipulation of the Doctor and Clara's relationship.

Steven Moffat was directly involved with the writing of seven episodes, with sole credit going to him on four, and the other three where he was credited as a "co-writer". Other writers who worked on this series included Phil Ford, Mark Gatiss, Stephen Thompson, Gareth Roberts, Peter Harness, Jamie Mathieson (who wrote two), and novelist Frank Cottrell Boyce. Directors of the series included ones who had previously worked with Moffat on the show, and brand new ones. Filming began on 6 January 2014 and lasted exactly eight months, ending on 6 August 2014.

The series premiere was watched by 9.17 million overnight viewers, the highest ratings for a premiere since Matt Smith's first episode as the Doctor back in 2010. Ratings remained consistent throughout the course of the series, seeing a low of 6.71 million viewers with the episode "Flatline", and ended with 7.60 million people watching the finale (up 150,000 viewers from the previous season finale). The series received high acclaim from critics and fans alike, with praise going to the writing and directing, as well as the acting of Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Michelle Gomez, and Samuel Anderson.

List of episodes[edit]

The first episode of the series, "Deep Breath", has a running time of 76 minutes, the second longest episode since the return of Doctor Who in 2005, the longest being "The Day of the Doctor" with a running time of 77 minutes.[5] As with the previous series, Series 8 consists mainly of standalone episodes; the series finale was the first two-part story since "The Rebel Flesh"/"The Almost People" from the mid-point of Series 6.

Story Episode Title Directed by Written by UK viewers
(million)[6]
AI[6] Original air date
242 1 "Deep Breath" Ben Wheatley Steven Moffat 9.17 82 23 August 2014 (2014-08-23)
When a dinosaur materialises alongside the Houses of Parliament in Victorian London, the Doctor's old friends the Paternoster Gang are relieved when he arrives, seemingly to deal with the creature. However, they soon realise that the Doctor is the one in need of help; newly regenerated, extremely volatile and questioning his self-worth, this is a very different man from the one they last saw. The only person that may be able to help him is Clara, and she is still grappling with losing the Doctor she knew and loved. After the spontaneous combustion of the dinosaur, the Doctor takes on the case of whoever killed the time-travelling beast. The Doctor has an internal battle with himself, pondering where his new face came from. The Doctor and Clara are called to a restaurant, only to find out all the other customers are androids. After discovering the robots' hidden spaceship, and their long-term goal of reaching a "promised land", the Doctor confronts their leader, who falls to its death from an airship, though it is unclear whether he fell as part of a self-destruct mechanism or if the Doctor pushed him. Clara receives a phone call from the previous Doctor, and is convinced to join the Twelfth Doctor on his journeys. Meanwhile, the Half-Face Man awakes in a mysterious place, greeted by an equally-curious woman named Missy.
243 2 "Into the Dalek" Ben Wheatley Phil Ford & Steven Moffat 7.29 84 30 August 2014 (2014-08-30)
The Doctor saves Journey Blue, a rebel fighter, from her space shuttle, which is under attack by Daleks, but is unable to save her brother. Upon returning her to her rebel ship, the Doctor then drags Clara away from a potential date with Danny Pink, her new colleague at Coal Hill School, and is thrown into the most dangerous place in the universe: the inside of a Dalek. The Doctor and Clara, along with a team of rebels aboard the Aristotle, a military station in space, are miniaturised and sent into "Rusty", a Dalek that has turned good. At the Dalek's power centre, the Doctor discovers a large crack, which he deduces is causing the malfunction within the Dalek. He uses his sonic screwdriver to seal the crack, but their meddling has a terrible outcome, causing the Dalek to realise its true cause again. It sends a message to the rest of the Daleks, giving them the base's location. The mysterious Missy and "Heaven" once more make an appearance after Gretchen sacrifices herself to allow Clara and Journey access to the mind of Rusty. In an attempt to show Rusty the beauty of the universe, the Doctor connects his mind with that of the Dalek's. Rusty, however, sees the Doctor's hatred for the Daleks and is inspired by this instead, deciding to exterminate his own race. After the battle, Rusty calls the Doctor a "good Dalek", and the Doctor and Clara leave, with Clara returning to her date.
244 3 "Robot of Sherwood" Paul Murphy Mark Gatiss 7.28 82 6 September 2014 (2014-09-06)
Treating Clara to an expedition of her choice, the Doctor takes her to the twelfth century to prove that her childhood hero, Robin Hood, doesn't exist. He is stunned when he stumbles upon a gang of outlaws, led by a man claimed to be the great hero himself. The Doctor duels with Robin Hood with a spoon, and remains in disbelief even as Robin takes the two to meet his band of Merry Men. Robin takes part in an archery contest against the Sheriff of Nottingham, splitting the arrow to claim a prize of a golden arrow. The Doctor challenges Robin before impatiently blowing up the target, causing the Sheriff to order his arrest. Robin defends the Doctor, but after slicing the arm off of one of the guards, it is revealed that they are robots. After the capture of the Doctor, Clara and Robin, Clara is taken to the Sheriff to act as the trio's leader, where she finds out that the Sheriff witnessed a spaceship crash and has been trying to repair it by collecting all the gold in the nearby land, so that he can use it to travel to London and take over the kingdom. The Doctor and Robin escape their prison, where Robin demands that Clara reveal who exactly the Doctor is. Robin Hood defeats the Sheriff in a sword fight, and after allowing the robots' spaceship to detonate harmlessly in the atmosphere, the Doctor and Robin Hood part ways, after which Maid Marian is reunited with Robin.
245 4 "Listen" Douglas Mackinnon Steven Moffat 7.01 82 13 September 2014 (2014-09-13)
After a failed date with Danny Pink, Clara returns to her home to find the Doctor awaiting her. He seeks a creature he believes to have perfected its ability to hide, that stalks humankind and is responsible for a dream common to all humans. Using the TARDIS' telepathic circuit, the duo end up in the mid-1990s, where Clara meets Danny Pink as a boy. The Doctor and Clara comfort Danny from his fear when an unknown entity enters the boy's room. After returning to her date with Danny and failing a second time, Clara returns to the TARDIS and meets Orson Pink, a distant descendant of Danny Pink, one of Earth's first time travelers stranded at the end of the universe. After a brief moment with the entity, Clara triggers the TARDIS' departure to an unknown barn, where she finds a crying child. Hiding beneath the bed, she realises that the child is the Doctor in his younger years. When the boy gets out of the bed, Clara accidentally grabs his leg, and she realises that she is the monster under the bed. She comforts him with the notion of fear being a constant companion that can bring out the good in him, where one day he'll return to the barn during the moment of his greatest fear. Clara leaves, forcing the Doctor to not see where they had been. Clara and Danny reconcile, and the Doctor rejects the notion of the unknown entity ever existing.
246 5 "Time Heist" Douglas Mackinnon Stephen Thompson & Steven Moffat 6.99 84 20 September 2014 (2014-09-20)
The TARDIS' phone rings in Clara's apartment, and the Doctor and Clara find themselves in a strange chamber suffering from memory loss along with Psi the augmented human and Saibra the mutant human. They have been recruited by 'The Architect' to rob the Bank of Karabraxos, the most impregnable bank vault in the universe. The quartet collect the tools required for their heist, before witnessing a mysterious alien named the Teller turn the brain of a criminal to 'soup' with its psychic abilities. Saibra is later caught by the Teller, and activates an atomic disintegrater to avoid the pain of the Teller's brain scan. Psi soon follows when caught by the Teller, and Clara and the Doctor gain access to the vaults of the bank. They gain the rewards of their heist from the vault, and proceed to the Private Vault, but not before regaining contact with Psi and Saibra who were actually teleported. The four find that the private vault is home to Director Karabraxos, and the Doctor gives her his number before she leaves the bank as it is destroyed by the solar storm. The Doctor regains his lost memories back from the Teller, revealing himself as the Architect, and unveiling the goal of the heist – to rejoin the Teller with the only other one of its species. The Doctor takes the two aliens away to live out their lives, and returns Saibra and Psi to their homeworlds, and Clara to her flat for her date.
247 6 "The Caretaker" Paul Murphy Gareth Roberts & Steven Moffat 6.82 83 27 September 2014 (2014-09-27)
Clara is trying to maintain two separate lives: one as the Doctor's companion, and the other as a school teacher in a romantic relationship with Danny Pink. The Doctor tells her that he's going deep undercover, disguising himself as a temporary caretaker at her school (Coal Hill). Tracking a Skovox Blitzer, which vaporised a community support officer, CSO Matthew and is one of the deadliest machines created, he plans to displace it a billion years into the future where nothing else can be harmed. The Doctor meets Danny without realising he's Clara's partner, instead believing that Adrian, another teacher who reminds him of his previous incarnation, is the one that Clara is romantically interested in. The Doctor treats Danny with disdain after finding out that he was a soldier. Suspicious of the Doctor, Danny accidentally tampers with his trap, and the Skovox Blitzer is only sent seventy-four hours into the future. The Doctor learns of Danny's relationship with Clara, and Danny about Clara's double life, leading them to argue. When the Skovox Blitzer rematerialises earlier than the Doctor initially estimated, the three work together to trick it in to deactivating itself. Danny warns Clara about the Doctor pushing her into reckless and dangerous actions, and tells her that he can help her if she needs it. CSO Matthew awakens in the Nethersphere, which he thinks is the Promised Land.
248 7 "Kill the Moon" Paul Wilmshurst Peter Harness 6.91 82 4 October 2014 (2014-10-04)
The Doctor takes Clara and Courtney on a trip, where they arrive in 2049 on a Space Shuttle to the Moon with one hundred nuclear bombs. Noting the Moon's higher gravity and meeting Captain Lundvik, the Doctor questions her, where he's told that her team are on a suicide mission to blow up the Moon. A sudden mass high tide had threatened humanity's existence, the cause being the Moon. Their mission was the only way to save the planet. Colonists are found entombed in spider webs, and the Doctor finds through the readings that had previously been taken, noting an increase in the Moon's mass - the cause of the sudden tidal shift. A spider-like being attacks the group, and the Doctor realises that they are only germs. The Doctor determines that the Moon is an egg, with the creature inside ready to hatch. The Doctor abandons them, forcing Lundvik and Clara to decide on their own. They call upon Earth to make the decision, receiving an unanimous vote to save the Earth. Clara intervenes and stops the bombs' countdown, and the Doctor rescues them from the Moon. From Earth, they watch the creature hatch and the shell disintegrate, with the creature laying a new egg as a new Moon. Clara angrily confronts the Doctor, claiming that it was his decision to make too, since Earth is important in his life as well. She leaves the TARDIS and the Doctor, to be comforted by Danny.
249 8 "Mummy on the Orient Express" Paul Wilmshurst Jamie Mathieson 7.11 85 11 October 2014 (2014-10-11)
Clara rejoins the Doctor for one last outing before she leaves the TARDIS and the Doctor for good. They arrive on a train named the Orient Express which travels through space, a distant future remake of the famous train. The Doctor soon discovers that an elderly woman has recently been murdered by a creature only she could see – she described it as an Egyptian 'Mummy'. The Doctor insists that she died of old age, but when a member of the kitchen staff dies in the same way, the Doctor realises that the 'Mummy' (known as the Foretold) is invisible to all but the one that it is about to kill. Once it is seen, it kills its victim in exactly sixty-six seconds. The train's computer program, 'Gus', reveals to the Doctor that he has tasked him to capture the Foretold or face the death of innocents. The Doctor takes the consciousness of the Foretold's next victim to see it, and discovers that it is a dead soldier powered by future technology with unfinished business. The Doctor discharges the soldier by surrendering, and the train's occupants are saved. Gus declares that the survival of the train's occupants is not required, and begins removing the train's air supply. The Doctor uses the future technology from the Foretold to teleport the train's occupants to safety, just before the train explodes. Later, Danny calls Clara and decides she is not ready to leave the Doctor.
250 9 "Flatline" Douglas Mackinnon Jamie Mathieson 6.71 85 18 October 2014 (2014-10-18)
Arriving in Bristol, the Doctor and Clara find the TARDIS has shrunk on the outside. Clara gets out to investigate the area, while the Doctor stays in the TARDIS until it has shrunk down to a handheld size, theorising that something was leeching its external dimensions. Clara encounters a young graffiti artist named Rigsy, and communicating through an earpiece, the Doctor tells Clara that the thing they are facing is an alien from a universe that's solely two-dimensional. The creatures have achieved the ability to make 3D objects 2D, and Clara, Rigsy, and community service people attempt to run from the creatures. The Doctor is soon able to create a device that can change the dimensions of objects similarly to the creatures. However, the TARDIS cannot function with a lack of dimensions, and the Doctor powers it down into a 'siege' mode. The creatures have also learned to make themselves 3-dimensional, and assume demented guises of the people they have absorbed into two-dimensions. With the help of Rigsy, Clara is able to trick the creatures into powering the TARDIS once more and restoring it to regular size. The Doctor uses its power to send the creatures back into their dimension. Clara and the Doctor part ways with Rigsy, and after she asks if she was a good doctor, he tells her that she was an exceptional doctor in his place but goodness had nothing to do with it.
251 10 "In the Forest of the Night" Sheree Folkson Frank Cottrell Boyce 6.92 83 25 October 2014 (2014-10-25)
Maebh, a young girl, is running through a forest when she comes across the TARDIS. She knocks and is answered by the Doctor, who realises that a forest has grown over London. Meanwhile in London Museum, Clara and Danny lead a group of kids out into the new forest after a museum sleepover. Clara immediately calls the Doctor, who reveals he is already aware of the forest and tells Clara to meet him in Trafalgar Square. Upon arrival they attempt to figure out the truth behind the forest, and the Doctor realises Maebh is missing, and he and Clara set out to find her. Following a trail she has left, they find her, only to be cornered by and rescued from wolves and a tiger which have escaped the zoo. The Doctor realises Maebh is behind what's going on, and uses the sonic to get the trees to speak through her. They reveal an extinction-level solar flare is heading towards Earth. Heading back to the TARDIS, the Doctor offers an escape route. Clara says she would never leave Danny, Danny would never leave the kids, and the kids would miss their parents. The Doctor leaves, before realising the trees have grown to protect Earth like a giant airbag and the solar flare wouldn't kill anyone. He heads back to Earth, where he recruits the kids to send a message to the world to not destroy the trees. The solar flare passes by harmlessly and the excess trees disappear, their job done.
252a 11 "Dark Water" Rachel Talalay Steven Moffat 7.34 85 1 November 2014 (2014-11-01)
While Clara attempts to gain the courage to tell Danny about her life with Doctor, Danny is hit by a car and is killed. Clara is comforted by her family, until she calls the Doctor. She attempts to blackmail the Doctor into saving Danny by throwing the TARDIS keys into a volcano one by one. The Doctor removes her from the dream state he placed on her and uses her memories for the TARDIS to find Danny. They are brought to a facility named 3W, in which skeletons are contained in a blue liquid. Elsewhere, Danny is being consoled by Seb for his death. The Doctor opens an information book, read by a hiding Missy, who claims that she is a droid. Meeting Doctor Chang, he explains that the dead are conscious and also shows them "dark water", a substance which can only display organic material. Meanwhile, Missy awakens the skeletons and the tanks begin to drain. Clara talks with Danny, and she tries to find proof of his identity, but Danny refuses to let her be with him in death, so Clara ends the call. The Doctor and Chang exit into the hallway to see the tanks drain, revealing the skeletons are actually Cybermen. The Doctor and Missy exit and find themselves on the steps of St Paul's cathedral. The Cybermen begin to march out of the cathedral, and Missy tells him that his efforts to evacuate are pointless, and that Missy is short for Mistress, revealing that she is the Master.
252b 12 "Death in Heaven" Rachel Talalay Steven Moffat 7.60 83 8 November 2014 (2014-11-08)
As part of Missy's plans, Cybermen detonate themselves around Britain, releasing "Cyber pollen" that reincarnates and transforms the dead into Cybermen. Danny is one of these, and rescues Clara from 3W. UNIT bring the Doctor and Missy aboard a plane, where the Doctor is given control of Earth's armies as "President of the Earth". Osgood tells the Doctor that this is happening all over the world, and the clouds have not yet dispersed, the Doctor offers her a chance for "all of time and space" as his companion. With the help of the Cybermen, Missy overpowers UNIT, kills Osgood and blows up the plane. The Doctor survives by calling the TARDIS to him and reunites with Clara in a cemetery, where Clara has discovered the Cyberman who saved her is Danny. Danny reveals that a forecoming rainfall will convert all living people to Cybermen as well. Missy arrives and gifts the Doctor with control of all the Cybermen so he can conquer the universe. The Doctor refuses and gives control to Danny, who leads other Cybermen into exploding and stopping the rainfall. Missy is disintegrated by a final Cyberman, a reanimated Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. In the aftermath, Clara and the Doctor bid farewell with lies to each other: Clara tells the Doctor that Danny was brought back from the Nethersphere; in reality, he used his one chance to get out to revive a young boy he accidentally killed when he was a soldier, and the Doctor tells Clara he has found Gallifrey with coordinates Missy gave him; the coordinates actually led to empty space.

Casting[edit]

Peter Capaldi was cast in August 2013, while Jenna Coleman announced her return in March 2013

The show's star since 2010, Matt Smith announced in June 2013 that he would be leaving Doctor Who[7] following the 2013 Christmas episode "The Time of the Doctor". His replacement was announced, after several weeks of speculation,[8] on a special live broadcast called Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor on 4 August as Peter Capaldi, who up to that point was best known for portraying spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in the BBC comedy series The Thick of It.[9] Capaldi had previously appeared on the show as Caecilius in "The Fires of Pompeii".[10] He also played John Frobisher in the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood: Children of Earth.

In October 2013, actress Neve McIntosh stated in an interview that recurring characters Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint and Strax (known to fans as "the Paternoster Gang") were due to return in the series premiere "Deep Breath".[11] On 24 February 2014, it was announced that Gavin & Stacey actor Samuel Anderson will join the cast as the recurring character Danny Pink, a teacher and Clara's colleague at Coal Hill School.[12]

Beyond the return of the Paternoster Gang, and the casting of Samuel Anderson, the first major guest star of the series was announced in March 2014 when it was revealed that Keeley Hawes had been cast in episode five as a character named Ms. Delphox.[13] Subsequently, Tom Riley, Ben Miller, Hermione Norris, Frank Skinner, Foxes, Christopher Fairbank, Sanjeev Bhaskar, and Chris Addison were cast in guest roles.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]

Jemma Redgrave and Ingrid Oliver reprised their roles of Kate Stewart and Osgood, respectively, last seen in the fiftieth anniversary special "The Day of the Doctor", in the two-part series final "Dark Water" / "Death in Heaven" featuring the return of the Cybermen. Michelle Gomez was later cast as a character named Missy, described as "The Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere" and was originally announced to be featured in the series finale, however, Gomez also appeared in the series' first, second, sixth, ninth and tenth episodes as part of a recurring story arc.[22][23][24] In "Dark Water", it was revealed that Missy is in fact The Master, with Gomez taking over the role from John Simm.

Production[edit]

Writing and development[edit]

At Comic-Con 2013, Steven Moffat said that, although much of the focus at that point remained on the 50th anniversary and Christmas specials, writing for series 8 was under way:

The scripts [are] coming in, we know what we're going to do and how it's going to end, and what it's building to.[9]

In an interview with Doctor Who Magazine, Moffat likened his initial plans for the Twelfth Doctor to Tom Baker's first season, with the Doctor being tricky to deal with at the beginning, but with the benefit of familiar characters to ease through the transition; Moffat also commented on the situation of Clara having to deal with the Doctor changing.[25] Moffat has also stated that, unlike the situation with Colin Baker,[26] reference will be made to Peter Capaldi's previous appearances in the Whoniverse:

I remember Russell [T Davies] told me that he had a big old plan as to why there were two Peter Capaldis in the Who universe: one in Pompeii and one in Torchwood. When I cast Peter and Russell got in touch to say how pleased he was, I said, "Okay, what was your theory and does it still work?" and he said, "Yes it does. Here it is..."[27]

Steven Moffat said that the issue of Peter Capaldi's previous appearances would be addressed, amongst other story issues.

Chris Chibnall, who has written five previous episodes of Doctor Who, and a few for Torchwood, indicated in April 2013 that he had been approached by Moffat to contribute to Series 8.[28] The subsequent success of his drama series Broadchurch, has led to Chibnall stating that, while still willing to write for Doctor Who, his schedule may mean it not being possible for this upcoming series.[29]

Neil Cross, who wrote two episodes in Series 7, has also stated a desire to write for Series 8.[30] Cross confirmed that he would be writing at least one episode for Series 8 in August 2013, while Neil Gaiman, who contributed one episode to Series 6 and another episode to Series 7, and Frank Cottrell Boyce also stated that they were developing scripts. However, neither were able to confirm initially whether these would be for Series 8 or a subsequent series.[31][32] On 4 July 2014, it was confirmed Boyce would also write an episode.[33]

Gareth Roberts, who has written five previous episodes of Doctor Who, has been confirmed to be returning for Series 8.[34]

On 7 January 2014, it was announced that former producers Peter Bennett (producer in 2010, who has also worked on spin-off Torchwood and former showrunner Russell T Davies' Wizards vs Aliens) and Nikki Wilson (script editor and producer from 2009 to 2010) would produce the series. Will Oswald is editing Episodes 1, 2, 5 and 6.[35]

On 26 March 2014, it was announced that Mark Gatiss will write either one or two episodes for the series. In a Q&A in Brazil he said that he believes that Jane Austen should feature in an episode, just like other famous authors who have appeared on the show, such as William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and Agatha Christie.[36]

In April 2014, it was announced Peter Harness and Jamie Mathieson would be writing for the series.[37]

Filming[edit]

In September 2012, Matt Smith stated a desire to see an episode of Doctor Who directed by Sir Peter Jackson, the director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Jackson responded positively to the suggestion by saying "name the time and place".[38] In March 2013 he maintained his desire to have an involvement in the show, stating that he would happily accept a Dalek in payment.[39] Steven Moffat stated in August 2013 that Jackson was serious about his desire to direct Doctor Who, and also said that, if it were to happen, there was a good likelihood of filming taking place in New Zealand.[40]

In August 2013, actress Jenna Coleman initially announced that filming was scheduled to begin in January 2014, after the broadcast of Peter Capaldi's initial appearance in the Christmas special that would contain the Doctor's regeneration.[41] In late 2013, announcements were made for various directing appointments for the new series, with a total of six episodes allocated initially; in October, the first two episodes of the series were allocated to Ben Wheatley, with production due to start in December 2013.[32][42] In November and December two further episodes were each allocated to Paul Murphy[43] and Douglas Mackinnon.[44] The first read through took place on 17 December 2013.[45]

Filming began on 6 January 2014 in Cardiff,[46] with Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman shooting their first scenes for Series 8 on 7 January 2014.[47] On 22 February 2014 it was announced that Paul Wilmshurst would also direct an episode.[48] On 11 May 2014, it was announced that an episode directed by Wilmshurst and written by Harness would be filming in Lanzarote, the second time Doctor Who has filmed there after the 1984 serial Planet of Fire.[17] Filming took place in Volcán del Cuervo, also known as the Raven’s Volcano.[49] On 14 May 2014 it was announced that American director Rachel Talalay would be directing two episodes of the eighth series.[50] On 2 July 2014 filming for the finale took place at the Box Cemetery in Llanelli, previously the location for the final scenes of the seventh series mid-season finale "The Angels Take Manhattan".[51] On 4 July 2014 it was announced that Sheree Folkson would direct an episode.[33] On 19 July 2014 filming with the Cybermen took place outside St Paul's Cathedral in London, which had previously been the setting of 1968's The Invasion.[52][53]

Filming on the series was completed on 6 August 2014.[54]

Production blocks were arranged as follows:

Block Episode title Director Writer Producer
1 "Deep Breath"
"Into the Dalek"
Ben Wheatley Steven Moffat
Phil Ford & Steven Moffat
Nikki Wilson
2 "Listen"
"Time Heist"
Douglas Mackinnon Steven Moffat
Stephen Thompson & Steven Moffat
Peter Bennett
3 "Robot of Sherwood"
"The Caretaker"
Paul Murphy Mark Gatiss
Gareth Roberts & Steven Moffat
Nikki Wilson
4 "Kill the Moon"
"Mummy on the Orient Express"
Paul Wilmshurst Peter Harness
Jamie Mathieson
Peter Bennett
5 "Flatline" Douglas Mackinnon Jamie Mathieson Nikki Wilson
6 "Dark Water"
"Death in Heaven"
Rachel Talalay Steven Moffat Peter Bennett
7 "In the Forest of the Night"
Sheree Folkson Frank Cottrell Boyce Paul Frift

Design changes[edit]

The series eight title card, which was co-created by fan of the show, Billy Hanshaw.

The introduction of a new lead actor brought about another change to the title sequence. The sequence for Series 8 was inspired by a fan-made sequence produced by Billy Hanshaw, an illustrator and 3D animator, who posted it on YouTube. This eventually came to the attention of Steven Moffat, who subsequently based the official sequence on Hanshaw's work.[55][56][57][58]

Promotion[edit]

On 10 June 2014, the BBC announced that a "World Tour" promoting Series 8 would take place between 7–19 August 2014 and feature Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Steven Moffat. They are set to visit seven cities across five continents in these 12 days, where they will attend fan events and media interviews. The destinations are Cardiff, London, Seoul, Sydney, New York City, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro.[59] On 13 July 2014 the first full length trailer was aired on BBC One, during the final half-time of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[60]

Leading up to the launch of the series, four teaser trailers were released on 23 May, 27 June, 4 July and 27 July 2014.[61][62][63][64] On 7 August 2014 an interview with Peter Capaldi was shown on BBC News, featuring clips from the second episode.[65] Starting on 18 August, the BBC released a series of six short teasers counting down to the series' premiere.[66][67][68][69][70][71]

Episode leaks[edit]

On 6 July 2014, the scripts and rough "pre air screeners" for the first five episodes of the series were inadvertently leaked online from BBC Worldwide's Latin America headquarters. The leaked scripts were immediately shared online, prompting wide coverage in the media. In a statement, BBC Worldwide asked people with access to the leaked material to keep the storylines of the five episodes secret.[72]

On 12 July, the black and white, watermarked "pre air screener" of "Deep Breath" was uploaded to The Pirate Bay.[73] The video was a rough cut of series 8's first episode, missing many visual effects, but otherwise mostly complete.[74] The video leak was also widely covered in the media, however the BBC confirmed the leak was from the same source as the script, and had been contained. Despite the fact that the initial version of "Into the Dalek" contained a glitch that made it unable to download, a workable version found its way online by the second week of August 2014.[75]

"Robot of Sherwood" was subsequently leaked in the third week of August, with fears that the rough cuts of the next three episodes, which were also included in the exposed file, would also be made available through file sharing sites.[76][77] "Listen" and "Time Heist" were also leaked later on.[78][79]

Broadcast[edit]

Series 8 was initially slated to be broadcast starting in the late summer of 2014, with Steven Moffat acknowledging this likelihood in July 2013, prior to the announcement of Peter Capaldi's casting.[80] In September however it was suggested that the broadcast date would likely be pushed back to the third quarter of 2014, which would tie in with the production starting in January 2014 and typically lasting up to 9 months before the transmission of the first episode. It was also suggested that the series would be a twelve rather than thirteen episode run.[81] In an October 2013 interview, Steven Moffat said that there will be at least 13 episodes in the series.[82]

In February 2014, Ben Wheatley, director of the first two episodes, stated that his episodes would begin airing in the summer of 2014.[83]

At the final 50th anniversary event at the BFI in December 2013, Steven Moffat confirmed that the series would contain 13 episodes and would be broadcast in the second half of 2014. He also stated that it would not be split into two parts, instead being transmitted continuously.[84] Moffat also announced that this would be the standard broadcast format for future series.[85] A teaser trailer released on 23 May 2014 revealed that the eighth series will air in August 2014.[61][86] An extended teaser released on 27 June 2014 showed the airdate to be 23 August 2014.[87]

The first episode, "Deep Breath", had its world premiere on 7 August 2014, at the Cardiff visit on the World Tour.[88] Following additional preview screenings at other World Tour visits,[89][90][91] the story also received a worldwide cinema release at participating cinemas on 23 August 2014, the same day as its television broadcast.[92]

Broadcast[edit]

BBC America in the United States aired the series the same day as the United Kingdom, and in Canada, it was aired on Space (TV channel), the science fiction/fantasy channel. ABC1 in Australia aired the series live with the UK.[93][94]

DVD and Blu-ray releases[edit]

The opening episode of the series "Deep Breath" was released as a standalone DVD and Blu-ray on 8 September 2014 in Region 2, 9 September 2014 in Region 1, and 10 September 2014 in Region 4.[95] A 5-disc DVD and Blu-ray boxset containing all 12 episodes was released 24 November 2014 in Region 2, 19 November in Region 4 and 9 December 2014 in Region 1.[96][97]

Doctor Who: The Complete Eighth Series
Set details Special features
  • 12 episodes
  • 5-disc set
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Subtitles: English
Release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
9 December 2014 (2014-12-09)[98] 24 November 2014 (2014-11-24)[99] 19 November 2014 (2014-11-19)[100]

Reception[edit]

Critical reaction to Series 8 has been highly positive, with many labelling it a return to form and one of Doctor Who‍‍ '​‍s strongest seasons.[101][102][103] The series has a calculated score of 80 on Metacritic, signifying "generally favourable reviews".[104]

Critical reception to individual episodes has also been predominantly positive. "Listen" and "Dark Water" in particular received critical acclaim, with many critics noting them as potential classics and some of Doctor Who‍‍ '​‍s finest episodes.[105][106] "Deep Breath", "Into the Dalek", "Time Heist", "The Caretaker", "Mummy on the Orient Express", "Flatline" and "Death in Heaven" have also received predominantly positive reviews from critics, with many praising the show's renewed focus on character development and the series' darker tone.[102][107][108] "Kill the Moon" widely divided critics, some praising it as a classic matching "Listen"[101][109] and others finding it a weak or badly-scripted episode.[110][111] Dan Martin, writing for The Guardian, criticised "Mummy on the Orient Express"; in his opinion, there was "sexual tension" between the Doctor and Clara, while the show's cast previously stated that there would be no flirting between the two.[112] Ian Jane of DVD Talk gave the series 4.5 out of 5, calling it an improvement over the Matt Smith years, praising Capaldi's performance for "[breathing] new life to the show", Clara's character development and the writing, and found the series' flaws not to overshadow its overall quality.[103]

There has, however, been a degree of controversy. A number of complaints were made to the BBC about a perceived "blatant gay agenda" during the series.[113] The new, darker themes were criticised by parents of young children.[114] Despite highly positive reviews from critics, audience reaction has been more mixed when compared to the previous six seasons.[115] The AI scores for the series, although still predominantly in the low to mid 80s (considered excellent), have not been as high as the previous six series, which were typically in the mid to high 80s.[116]

Soundtrack[edit]

Selected pieces of score from this series, as composed by Murray Gold, were released in a 3-CD set on 18 May 2015 by Silva Screen Records along with music from the 2014 Christmas special "Last Christmas".[117]

References[edit]

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