Wheatley began his career creating short films and animations and internet "virals." He then moved into television, working on comedy programmes such as BBC Three's Ideal (written by Big Finish actor and author Graham Duff). His debut feature film, Down Terrace, was made in just eight days in 2009, and he has followed this with the features Kill List (2010), Sightseers (2012), A Field in England (2013) and the forthcoming Freakshift, a $15 million American film. He is also working on a science-fiction drama series called Silk Road for the American cable network HBO.
Wheatley, who will be one of the most high-profile directors ever to have worked on Doctor Who, told the BBC:
I am very excited and honoured to be asked to direct the first two episodes of the new series of Doctor Who. I've been a fan since childhood (Tom Baker is my Doctor if you are asking). 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.News of the hiring of Wheatley has generated some excitement online, with the website Den of Geek describing him as "...one of British cinema's best working directors. Throw in the Peter Capaldi factor, and this is, in our humble view, quite brilliant news."
Meanwhile, it has also emerged that the novelist and screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce is working on a script for a potential future episode of Doctor Who, having been put in touch with the production team by former showrunner Russell T Davies. Boyce, who worked with Davies on the Granada Television drama series Springhill in the mid-1990s, broke the news of his involvement with Doctor Who in response to a question at a BBC Writersroom event at the Manchester Literature Festival last week.
Boyce was a writer for the Granada soap opera Coronation Street early in his career, and later wrote the screenplays for several films by the award-winning director Michael Winterbottom, including 24 Hour Party People (featuring Christopher Eccleston). He is also an acclaimed author of children's fiction, having won the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Prize, and the writer of official sequels to Ian Fleming's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In 2012, Boyce worked closely in collaboration with director Danny Boyle to write the script for the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games, which received worldwide praise.
It is unknown yet whether Boyce's script is to be part of series eight in 2014, or a later run, or whether it will eventually appear at all.
(Thanks to Andy Murray)