10 Things We Learnt From Steven Moffat Talking About Doctor Who Christmas Special And The End Of Capaldi

10 Things We Learnt From Steven Moffat Talking About Doctor Who Christmas Special And The End Of Capaldi

The End Of An Era

♦ The Doctor Who Christmas Special marks the end of Peter Capaldi as The Doctor and the conclusion of Steven Moffat’s run as its showrunner. Radio Times just did a big interview with Moffat and here are 10 things we learnt from it…

1. We met the twelfth doctor in a bit of a mood: “He’s had enough of becoming other people. A subject he expands on in the special. He’s having a strop. In a wintry landscape he meets the first Doctor [David Bradley taking on the role from William Hartnell, who died in 1975], who is also refusing to change.”

2. The Christmas special is a nod to the very first Doctor’s end: “It starts with a reprise of The Tenth Planet [the first Doctor’s finale from 1966]. We do the “Previously on Doctor Who…” and follow the first Doctor out of that adventure, having left his companions Ben and Polly behind. So then it’s the 12th Doctor telling the first that he has to regenerate, and realising he must as well. This is the moment where he decides whether or not to go on. And it will mark the only time that David Bradley has played a younger version of Jodie Whittaker.”

3. Moffat points out that they have brought back the original Doctor with all that entails: “Without being too outrageous I think we have re-created that version of Hartnell’s Doctor, with all the 1960s political incorrectness in place. At the same time the original Doctor has a lot of fun at the expense of the modern one’s sonic glasses and electric guitar. There’s something funny about the 12th Doctor realising that he came from this politically incorrect, funny old man. This is who he was.”

4. Doctor Who regular Mark Gatiss is back for the special as is Toby Whithouse:I asked Mark a long time ago to make sure he’d be available and then I needed another actor to lie in a bomb crater and talk in German. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if we got Toby?” who is also a very fine actor. So we have the two principals of my writing room sitting with guns drawn on each other.”

5. Moffat sees the first Doctor as the one who seems to lend himself to being played by multiple actors: A weird thing happened with the first Doctor. In The Five Doctors [1983], which I love, we didn’t really remember what Hartnell was like. Somebody else turned up who didn’t look like him or behave like him, and wore a strikingly different costume but was close enough to the general silhouette. Richard Hurndall was rather good and very engaging, but the fact is he was not the Hartnell Doctor.”

6. It wasn’t always their plan to bring back the first doctor: “I wasn’t especially building towards the return of the first Doctor. Available on videotape is the exact moment where it became possible. At the New York ComicCon last year someone was asking me about which Doctors I wanted to be in The Day of the Doctor. And the Doctor you’d really like to meet the modern Doctor is the William Hartnell Doctor because he’s moved on so much, because that would be the entire span of the character’s life. The first Doctor would be so shocked that he is going to become this strutting megalomaniac. And so I said, “But we can’t do it,” and then Peter said, “We could get David Bradley.” “Oh yeah…!”

7. Moffat was pleased they could get Pearl Mackie back:” you know a star when you see one. She’s great. People responded strongly to her and they like the contrast between her and Peter. They liked Nardole and the little family unit together in the university. You could have watched them for five years in that set-up. And seen more of his lectures and the scenes in my head I never got to write, which were the Doctor taking his role in university very seriously and going to budget meetings and arguing for a new science block.”

8. The show has always spotted and cast future film and TV stars: “Our casting director Andy Pryor is so assiduous on who’s coming up. We’d never have seen Matt Smith but for him. We had Olivia Colman [in 2010] a heartbeat before she became a goddess. She was already regarded as a genuinely great actress but within a year of that she was the darling of the nation.”

9. Carey Mulligan, who has gone on to a long career in film, was a big hit in Blink but Moffat is under no illusions about her feelings about Doctor Who these days:Oh my God, Carey Mulligan! It’s funny but Blink, I say immodestly, is a very famous episode of television and yet Carey Mulligan, who was the star of it, I’m almost certain wouldn’t even remember being in Doctor Who. I don’t think she was much of a fan, or anything. They liked her so much, they said, “Do you want to be the next companion?” but she said no. God, she was amazing.”

10. Moffat has fond memories of dealing with the late John Hurt on the show: “John Hurt loved being the Doctor and was quite insistent, asking, “Am I a real Doctor? Do I really count?” And we said, “Yes, you count. You’re on the poster. It is definitely you.” David Bradley is so thrilled that he is really the Doctor now. Because obviously he was sort of the Doctor in An Adventure in Space and Time [2013]. He’s been a star for ever, but being the Doctor is special, somehow. He’s a bit like Hartnell in a way. He’s got a mean face but he’s the nicest man alive, so sweet and generous.”


To read the whole interview, visit Radio Times here

Steven Moffat Doctor Who Christmas Interview www.tripwiremagazine.co.uk

Radio Times Steven Moffat Doctor Who Christmas Special Interview


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