Well this is extra welcome news! After absolutely owning the task of director Doctor Who Series 8’s two part finale, “Dark Water” and “Death in Heaven,” Rachel Talalay will be returning to direct episodes 11 and 12 of Series 9, which will form another two-parter finale. Both episodes are written by showrunner Steven Moffat and produced by Peter Bennett.
Talalay is the Chicago-born, multi-continental director of such feature films as Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and Tank Girl — as well as myriad TV shows ranging from Ally McBeal to The Dead Zone, and even Supernatural.
Last year, she had the enviable/unenviable position to wrap up Peter Capaldi’s first series in episodes that had to kill off major characters, establish a place where dead people go, reveal Missy’s true identity, present dozens of flying and zombie Cybermen, and finish up the arc of the Twelfth Doctor and Clara’s rather tumultuous relationship. She really knocked it out of the park.
“Dark Water” had to be moody and dark and sad and scary and end with a massive cliffhanger, whereas “Death in Heaven” was a raucous action movie set largely on an airplane where you still had to have little character moments. There’s virtually nothing to connect the tones of the two episodes, and yet Talalay delivered, in my opinion, on all fronts.
Talalay and Sheree Folkson directed the final three episodes of Series 8 and represented the first women to direct for Doctor Who since Catherine Morshead in Series 5. For Series 9, Talalay joins “Blink” director Hettie MacDonald, who’s already been announced as directing the two-part premiere, “The Magician’s Apprentice” and “The Witch’s Familiar.”
Series 9 will also see the first female writers on the show since Series 4, in the form of popular Torchwood writer Catherine Tregenna, who will be writing episode 6, entitled “The Woman Who Lived,” and Sarah Dollard, who’d previously written for Merlin and Being Human, who has signed on to write the as-yet-untitled 10th episode.
Who’s excited for all these ladies in the Doctor Who-sphere? I certainly am.