The First Doctor The Second Doctor The Third Doctor The Fourth Doctor The Fifth Doctor The Sixth Doctor The Seventh Doctor The Eighth Doctor The Ninth Doctor The Tenth Doctor The Eleventh Doctor The Twelfth Doctor
New Series Episode 86:
Let's Kill Hitler

Plot

The Doctor returns to Leadworth to update Amy and Rory on his search for their daughter, Melody, only to have the TARDIS hijacked to 1938 Berlin by Amy's friend Mels. But Mels is really a future version of Melody, regenerated and brainwashed by the Silence into making an attempt on the Doctor's life. And even as the Doctor hovers on the brink of death, a new threat appears: a shapeshifting Justice Vehicle, sent back in time and tasked with prosecuting Melody Pond for her ultimate crime -- the murder of the Doctor.

Production

With the broadcast of Doctor Who's thirty-second season divided into two halves and split across the summer months, executive producer Steven Moffat found himself effectively responsible for two premiere-type episodes. For the year's eighth installment, which would kick off the second half, Moffat would need to both draw viewers back to Doctor Who after the summer break, and further the storyline of the Doctor's search for Melody Pond. He was also keen to produce a script which would be tonally different from The Impossible Astronaut, the dark and foreboding episode which would inaugurate Season Thirty-Two.

This led Moffat to the notion of an adventure which would promise an encounter with infamous Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, but would in fact treat this event as a comedic sideshow. He was inspired by the 1989 film Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, in which the eponymous archaeologist inadvertently found himself collecting Hitler's autograph. Thus Moffat's script gained the intentionally lurid title Let's Kill Hitler. The writer wanted the true focus of the episode to be on the relationship between Amy, Rory and River Song, who had been revealed to be a future version of their daughter, Melody, in the preceding episode, A Good Man Goes To War. In particular, the revelation that Amy and Rory's childhood friend Mels as another incarnation of River was intended to temper the darker aspects of Melody's disappearance, since Amy and Rory would now be shown to have played an integral part as their daughter grew up.

The Anti-Bodies were originally envisaged as humanoid robots with featureless chrome heads

Moffat was writing Let's Kill Hitler by January 2011. His inclusion of Professor Candy and Luna University was a reference to his short story “Continuity Errors” from the 1996 anthology Decalog 3: Consequences. A detail included in the script which did not make it to screen was Mels' surname, Zucker. One aspect which changed considerably as production approached was the Anti-Bodies which threatened Amy and Rory aboard the Teselecta. These were originally envisaged as humanoid robots with featureless chrome heads. However, it was eventually felt that this appearance hewed too closely to the look of the Handbots from The Girl Who Waited, which would be made shortly before Let's Kill Hitler (but transmitted two episodes later). As such, the Anti-Bodies instead became floating, tentacular automatons.

Let's Kill Hitler was made on its own as Season Thirty-Two's eighth recording block (although it was formally known as Block Seven-A). The director was Richard Senior, who had recently shot the mini-adventure Space / Time for the 2011 Red Nose Day fundraiser. This would be Senior's first full television episode as a director. Appearing in Doctor Who for the fourth and final time would be Caitlin Blackwood as the young Amelia Pond. Blackwood would continue to act, winning roles in the online series Cops And Monsters and the film Journey Bound.

Production began at Upper Boat Studios, with the flashback scenes of Amy, Rory and Mels in Amy's bedroom and outside the principal's office recorded on March 22nd. More flashbacks -- this time at the police cells -- were on the schedule for the 24th, along with work on the TARDIS set. On March 25th and 28th, sequences on the bridge of the Teselecta were filmed, followed by material in Hitler's office on the 29th and 30th. The first location for Let's Kill Hitler was the Temple of Peace in Cardiff. This chiefly posed as the Hotel Adlon dining room for recording on March 31st and April 1st, although a shot outside the German Chancellery was also captured there. On the 2nd, Brangwyn Hall in Swansea offered both the Chancellery courtyard and corridor, while the nearby Guildhall posed as the hotel exterior.

The work in Hitler's office had been delayed by the complexity of setting up the TARDIS crashing through the windows

It was back to Upper Boat on April 4th, for sequences in the TARDIS and aboard the Teselecta, including the bridge, the lift and the gantry area. The next day reprised the work in Hitler's office (some of which had been delayed because of the complexity of setting up the TARDIS crashing through the Chancellery windows). Additional taping on this set was completed on the 6th together with scenes in River's hospital room, the TARDIS and the Teselecta gantry, as well as inserts. Filming on April 7th began at Cyfartha Castle High School in the community of Park, for the classroom flashbacks. Material in General Zimmerman's office was then recorded at Upper Boat before Senior travelled to Hensol Castle in Hensol for the concluding shot at Luna University.

Upper Boat was then the site for a variety of pick-up shots on April 16th, 18th and 19th, and effects work on the 30th. Furthermore, on April 25th, the prequel for Let's Kill Hitler was filmed on the TARDIS set. Directed by Steve Hughes (who had helmed the season's penultimate episode, Closing Time) this took the form of the Doctor listening to a voicemail message from Amy which essentially recapped the circumstances of his search for Melody Pond. Unusually, there was then a two-and-a-half month hiatus before the final two location days for Let's Kill Hitler. The work in question involved the sequence in the cornfield, and it would take until midsummer before the crops had reached an appropriate height. As such, this material was finally filmed on July 10th and 11th at Penmark, drawing the production of Season Thirty-Two to a belated close.

There was a 2½ month hiatus before the final two location days for Let's Kill Hitler

In the meantime, on July 7th, it was announced that executive producer Beth Willis was about to leave Doctor Who to return to her previous post at Kudos Film and Television. With Piers Wenger's departure also imminent, this would leave Moffat as the last of the three original executive producers for the Matt Smith era. Two weeks later, on July 21st, Caroline Skinner was announced as the successor to Willis and Wenger. Skinner had been a script editor on numerous programmes such as Bleak House, the Philip Pullman adaptations The Ruby In The Smoke and The Shadow In The North, and House Of Saddam. More recently, she had produced Five Days and the dark fantasy series The Fades. Skinner would join the Doctor Who team with the 2011 Christmas special, The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe.

On August 15th, the prequel to Let's Kill Hitler was released online. Twelve days later, on the 27th, the episode itself premiered on BBC1; the 84 days which had passed since the transmission of A Good Man Goes To War marked the longest break within a single Doctor Who season to date. This also meant that, for the first time since 1989, the programme would still be broadcasting as the long summer days began to give way to the darker evenings of autumn...

Sources
  • Doctor Who News.
  • Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #30, 21st March 2012, “Let's Kill Hitler” by Andrew Pixley, Panini Publishing Ltd.

Original Transmission
Date 27th Aug 2011
Time 7.10pm
Duration 48'03"
Viewers (more) 8.1m (11th)
· BBC1/HD 8.1m
· iPlayer 1.6m
Appreciation 85%


Cast
The Doctor
Matt Smith
Amy Pond
Karen Gillan
Rory
Arthur Darvill
(more)
River Song
Alex Kingston
Mels
Nina Toussaint-White
Amelia Pond
Caitlin Blackwood
Young Mels
Maya Glace-Green
Young Rory
Ezekiel Wigglesworth
Zimmerman
Philip Rham
Carter
Richard Dillane
Anita
Amy Cudden
Jim
Davood Ghadami
Harriet
Ella Kenion
Adolf Hitler
Albert Welling
German Officer
Mark Killeen
Professor Candy
Paul Bentley
Nurse
Eva Alexander
Female Teacher
Tor Clark


Crew
Written by
Steve Moffat
Directed by
Richard Senior
Produced by
Marcus Wilson
(more)

Stunt Coordinator
Crispin Layfield
Stunt Performers
Stephanie Carey
Gary Hoptrough
Andy J Smart
Jo McLaren
Gordon Seed
1st Assistant Director
Steffan Morris
2nd Assistant Director
James DeHaviland
3rd Assistant Director
Heddi-Joy Taylor-Welch
Assistant Directors
Michael Curtis
Janine H Jones
Location Manager
Nicky James
Unit Manager
Rhys Griffiths
Location Assistant
Geraint Williams
Production Managers
Phillipa Cole
Claire Hildred
Asst Production Coordinator
Helen Blyth
Production Secretary
Scott Handcock
Production Assistant
Charlie Coombes
Asst Production Accountant
Ceredig Parry
Script Executive
Lindsey Alford
Script Editor
Caroline Henry
Script Supervisor
Steve Walker
Additional Photography
Sarah Bartles-Smith
Camera Operator
Joe Russell
Focus Pullers
Steve Rees
Jonathan Vidgen
Grip
Dai Hopkins
Camera Assistants
Svetlana Miko
Simon Ridge
Matthew Lepper
Assistant Grip
Owen Charnley
Sound Maintenance Engineers
Jeff Welch
Dafydd Parry
Gaffer
Mark Hutchings
Best Boy
Pete Chester
Electricians
Ben Griffiths
Bob Milton
Stephen Slocombe
Alan Tippetts
Supervising Art Director
Stephen Nicholas
Set Decorator
Julian Luxton
Production Buyer
Ben Morris
Standby Art Director
Dafydd Shurmer
Assistant Art Director
Jackson Pope
Concept Artist
Richard Shaun Williams
Props Master
Paul Aitken
Props Buyer
Adrian Anscombe
Prop Chargehand
Rhys Jones
Standby Props
Phill Shellard
Helen Atherton
Dressing Props
Tom Belton
Kristian Wilsher
Graphic Artist
Christina Tom
Draughtsman
Julia Jones
Design Assistant
Dan Martin
Petty Cash Buyer
Kate Wilson
Standby Carpenter
Will Pope
Standby Rigger
Bryan Griffiths
Store Person
Jayne Davies
Props Makers
Penny Howarth
Nicholas Robatto
Props Driver
Medard Mankos
Practical Electrician
Albert James
Construction Manager
Matthew Hywel-Davies
Construction Chargehand
Scott Fisher
Graphics
BBC Wales Graphics
Assistant Costume Designer
Samantha Keeble
Costume Supervisor
Vicky Salway
Costume Assistants
Jason Gill
Yasemin Kascioglu
Frances Morris
Make-Up Supervisor
Pam Mullins
Make-Up Artists
Vivienne Simpson
Allison Sing
VFX Producer
Beewan Athwal
Casting Associate
Alice Purser
Assistant Editors
Becky Trotman
Carmen Sanchez Roberts
VFX Editor
Cat Gregory
Post Production Supervisor
Nerys Davies
Post Production Coordinator
Marie Brown
Dubbing Mixer
Tim Ricketts
Supervising Sound Editor
Paul McFadden
Sound Effects Editor
Paul Jefferies
Foley Editor
Jamie Talbutt
Online Editor
Jeremy Lott
Colourist
Mick Vincent
Online Conform
Mark Bright
Original Theme Music
Ron Grainer
Casting Director
Andy Pryor CDG
Production Executive
Julie Scott
Production Accountant
Dyfed Thomas
Sound Recordist
Bryn Thomas
Costume Designer
Barbara Kidd
Make-Up Designer
Barbara Southcott
Music
Murray Gold
Visual Effects
The Mill
Special Effects
Real SFX
Prosthetics
Millennium FX
Editor
Will Oswald
Production Designer
Michael Pickwoad
Director Of Photography
Tim Palmer
Associate Producer
Denise Paul
Line Producer
Diana Barton
Executive Producers
Steven Moffat
Piers Wenger
Beth Willis

Updated 28th July 2014