Doctor Who | Russell T Davies on the inspiration for his The Beatles episode

Doctor Who The Devil's Chord
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The Beatles make an appearance in Doctor Who’s new series – but not with the costly music. Russell T Davies explains more.

The second episode in the new series of Doctor Who – which the BBC and Disney+ seems to be banding, as teased, as season one – sees Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor and Millie Gibson’s Ruby in London in the 1960s. Revealing only what’s been giving away in the promotion for the episode, the Doctor and Ruby find themselves at Abbey Road Studios (not the real one, a recreation of it on a soundstage) for an encounter with The Beatles.

Russell T Davies talked about the inspiration for the episode in question, entitled The Devil’s Chord, at the launch for the new series in London last week. The Devil’s Chord, he revealed, came from a conversation he’d had with a director by the name of Sam Arbo.

Arbo directed the Amazon Prime show Dead Hot, which Davies described as “a lovely show”. But it was in conversation with Arbo that he said admitted if he had a TARDIS, he’d choose to go back and meet The Beatles. “I thought, that’s a lovely idea”, Russell T Davies said. “But at the same time I knew that The Beatles music is so expensive. Even on a Disney budget, we couldn’t afford that”. He’s not a fan of the prohibitive pricing holding back modern use of The Beatles’ work, but accepted what he was working with.

“And so I thought imagine you’re visiting The Beatles, and you couldn’t have The Beatles music. What would you do? And that’s the story. It kind of created itself”.

Which it didn’t, of course, but that was the genesis of the idea. The reason why they couldn’t film at the real Abbey Road is pretty clear when you see the episode, not least because they’d never have got permission anyway.

Still, The Devil’s Chord will arrive on BBC iPlayer and BBC One in the UK from 11th May 2024.

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