Entitled: Doctor Who – New Broom, New Titles

doctor who capaldi titles

In a nice mirroring of life long fan Peter Capaldi landing his dream role as The Doctor (or Doctor Who, as he seems to refer to both show and character as one), the BBC has responded to the sterling creativity of a fan made title proposal by having the designer join with their team to bring a variation of his work to the show’s new official titles.

Motion graphic designer Billy Hanshaw uploaded his portfolio piece to You Tube last September, quietly and without fuss. It quickly racked up more than 500,000 views and attracted the attention of Steven Moffatt and the show’s producers. Creative Review dug a little deeper with Billy into how he came to work in an official capacity as graphic title designer to Gallifrey’s latest Time Lord…


“I think the whole concept of time travel is surreal,” Billy said. “The titles still evoke that feeling, which was very much a core concept of the YouTube version I posted online last September. It seemed to me that the Steampunk aesthetic really chimed with the way the show was progressing and I wanted to hint at that with the creative approach. Steven Moffat calls it a radical change. I know that the show has a long history of tradition, especially when it comes to the title sequence. Sometimes, holding on to this can stifle creativity as there’s nowhere else left to go, so I went ahead and did something outside of those boundaries.”

Billy’s original portfolio concept was storyboarded, designed and made over four weeks. “Initially it was only on YouTube. Vimeo and Behance came later. I didn’t tweet about it or publicise it in anyway, however. After all, it was for me to show to prospective clients. The hit rate on the video was incredible, far exceeding my expectations. Radio Times picked up on it, asking if the BBC could top it. The Huffington Post followed suit. I was amazed.”

It was show co-executive producer Brian Minchin who contacted Billy, via Linkedin.

“He said that both Steven and himself were huge fans of the YouTube sequence and would I like to help them out with the series eight titles … it’s the kind of offer you don’t think twice about. I had joked with my writer / producer colleague about whether Steven Moffat would have seen the initial concept before they got in touch. Apparently the fans inundated the BBC office with emails drawing their attention to it.”

There are some differences between the original concept and the finished collaboration with the BBC VFX team, namely the omission of the Seal of Rassilon , the fob watch, and Capaldi’s face reflected in the watch (interestingly, in the first episode, when the Doctor talks about self-perception with the half-faced man, his face is reflected in the silver tray he holds up between them as a mirror).

“I went ahead and built a new sequence myself. Even though it wasn’t going to be used in the actual show, it could be used to provide the stills for the concept story board, and would be a good reference point for the VFX team.


Concept storyboard

It was actually a very finished piece of work. I created two different sequences, one with and one without the face. The cogs now came into view through the ‘mists of time’, with certain cogs pulsing with light in time to the theme music. The cog tunnel now turned. My version had the Tardis bursting out through the Doctor Who logo, an idea that was ultimately jettisoned further down the line. The BBC team had some ideas of their own, such as the clock spiralling off into the distance. An idea I very much approve of. The planets became a stylised orrery and Capaldi’s face was replaced with just his eyes, and it works really well.”

Originally posted 2014-08-25 21:38:06. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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