Doctor Who's upcoming Beatles episode was only possible for THIS surprising reason

Virgin Radio

9 Apr 2024, 08:57

Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor with the TARDIS and the Beatles

Credit: BBC/Getty

Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies has revealed his upcoming episode featuring The Beatles was made possible thanks to a surprising realisation.

The popular writer - who among the many episodes he has penned for this May’s series 14 has written one set in the 60s and which features The Beatles - explained in a recent interview with Empire magazine that it was actually the limitations that would be placed on writing such an episode which led to him creating it.

“I knew instantly you can never play Beatles songs on screen because the copyright is too expensive,” Davies explained, thinking back to when he’d first considered letting the famous time traveller meet the ‘Yesterday’ stars.

But determined not to ‘Let it Be’, Davies revealed this was the exact fact which ended up leading to the episode - entitled The Devil’s Chord - being written.

“So I’m thinking ‘How would you do a Beatles episode without Beatles music?’ And that becomes the entire plot,” he continued. “That’s where the idea came from - copyright law!”

Another important contributing factor for penning this particular series 14 adventure came from a conversation the current showrunner - who was also at the helm of the BBC’s revival of the sci-fi show in 2005 - had with a young director.

“There a young director called Sam Arbor who I’ve kind of been mentoring for a while, and when I told him I was going back to Doctor Who he was just 21 and said, ‘Oh my God, if I had a TARDIS I’d go back and watch the Beatles recording their first album,” Davies revealed.

“And I thought for a 21-year-old to say that must mean there’s something to that idea," he explained.

Also interviewed for the same feature was Doctor Who himself, Ncuti Gatwa, who made his full-length debut as the series’ 15th incarnation of the Doctor in 2023’s Davies-penned Christmas special, The Church on Ruby Road.

Gushing about what he loves about the showrunner’s writing, the Barbie and Sex Education star said: “I would say Russell’s very good at humanity and the duality of it. He captures the complexity and simplicity of the human condition and the light and the dark of it. He puts normal on the page and shows how it’s really special.”

Doctor Who returns to TV on Saturday 11th May, with two episodes immediately released on BBC iPlayer at midnight, and later premiered on BBC One.