Series 14 Set Photos Hint That RTD Is Bringing The Beatles Back to Doctor Who

New set photos show Ncuti Gatwa and Mollie Gibson crossing a makeshift Abbey Road. Do the Fab Four have a Ticket To Ride in the TARDIS?

Ncuti Gatwa and Mollie Gibson dressed in swinging 60s clothes as The Doctor and Ruby Sunday
Photo: BBC Studios

WARNING: contains set photos and speculation with potential Doctor Who spoilers

Ever since the BBC released photos of Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson filming a Doctor Who episode set in the swinging sixties, speculation has been rife about what the plot might involve. 

The latest set photos give some serious hints that this adventure might involve a certain Fab Four, aka The Beatles. Let It Be! and Get Back! we hear you cry. Time to Come Together and take a look at the evidence:

The Doctor and Ruby Visit Abbey Road

After traversing Across The Universe, The Doctor and Ruby have found themselves on a Long and Winding Road (okay, enough with the song title puns before we start trying to shoe-horn I Am The Walrus in somewhere).

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Not only were Gatwa and Gibson spotted by a makeshift Abbey Road (filming is actually taking place at The Parade in Cardiff, rather than the real Abbey Road in London), but this video also shows The Doctor and Ruby dancing across the famous zebra crossing:

You can’t see the crossing in the video, but here’s a fan photo from another angle:

Could This Episode Have a Musical Title?

Unconfirmed reports suggest the episode being filmed on Abbey Road could be called The Devil’s Chord:

This may well be a working title (or just a rumour) but there’s plenty to suggest this episode has a musical theme. Previous filming days for this sixties-themed episode back in April featured Jinkx Monsoon – a drag queen famous for her musical talents, including a recent stint on Broadway – reportedly playing a piano on a rooftop in Newmarket:

And while official photos of recent guest cast coup Jonathan Groff have revealed a 19th century Regency-era look for his character and the TARDIS team (see below), there’s no saying the Broadway and musicals star couldn’t also cross over into the sixties-set story.

It Wouldn’t Be The First Time The Beatles Appeared on Doctor Who

One of Doctor Who’s unforgettable musical moments occurs in ‘The Executioners’, a 1965 episode in which The Doctor acquires a Time-Space Visualiser (i.e a TV that can show any moment from history) and companion Vicki is delighted to see The Beatles performing ‘Ticket To Ride’ on Top of the Pops. It’s a brief cameo and doesn’t play into the episode’s plot beyond adding an amusing moment, but it ended up becoming quite important: the BBC wiped the clip from its archive so it now only exists within that episode of Doctor Who.

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Peter Capaldi’s Doctor and Jenna Colman as Clara Oswald also took part in an Abbey Road photoshoot back in 2015:

What Else We Know About The Series 14 Sixties Episode

It’s directed by Ben Chessell – the Block 4 Director – whose previous work includes BAFTA-winning crime thriller Giri/Haji and Aussie comedy dramas The Family Law and Doctor Doctor (nothing to do with this Doctor, though). Executive Producer Phil Collinson explained they sought out Chessell because “we knew he was a perfect fit for this two-episode block, which takes the whole show into genuine new territory.” 

We’ve also seen set photos featuring 1960s cars on set, and appearing to show the TARDIS with a psychedelic purple interior for this episode:

Doctor Who will return to the BBC in November 2023