Peter Ca­paldi (and friends) re­flects on the 12th Doc­tor’s wildest ad­ven­tures

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Peter Ca­paldi waves good­bye to his sig­na­ture role. Not a dry eye in the TARDIS.

PETER CA­PALDI’S DOC­TOR still has one jour­ney to make: the Christ­mas spe­cial air­ing this De­cem­ber. But with Jodie Whit­taker con­firmed as the next oc­cu­pant of the TARDIS, it’s the end of an era for both Ca­paldi and showrun­ner Steven Moffat, who got to nav­i­gate through time and space to­gether for just over three years. As they pre­pared to bid farewell to thou­sands of fans at Comic-con, we sat them down to­gether, plus guest writer and Christ­mas spe­cial co-star Mark Gatiss, to hear their mem­o­ries of some key Ca­paldi episodes.

DEEP BREATH (SE­RIES 8, EPISODE 1) In which the freshly formed 12th Doc­tor is star­tled by his new, crag­gier face. Specif­i­cally the “at­tack eye­brows”.

Ca­paldi: Steven is a hugely gifted writer, ob­vi­ously, but one of his quirks is that he loves to put in cheeky re­marks that he would never say to your face. Matt Smith was blessed by the gods with a gen­er­ous chin. So Steven liked to have

the com­pan­ions make re­marks about ‘Chin Boy’. With me it was the eye­brows.

Moffat: Matt ac­tu­ally came around to my house when he was first be­ing cast as the Doc­tor and my son Louie, who was tiny, went, “You’ve got a big chin.” Matt said, “I like to think of it as a square jaw.” And he said, “No, it’s big.” I think your eye­brows are very funny.

Ca­paldi: He also de­scribed me as run­ning like a pen­guin with his ass on fire. Which I do.

MUMMY ON THE ORI­ENT EX­PRESS (SE­RIES 8, EPISODE 8) The Doc­tor goes full Poirot and solves a mur­der mys­tery on a mov­ing lo­co­mo­tive.

Ca­paldi: I love the episode be­cause it was the first time my Doc­tor was re­vealed to be quite heroic.

You dis­cover that he’d put him­self in the po­si­tion of be­ing con­sumed by the mummy, which I thought was very brave. The mon­ster was great too.

Moffat: I said at the meet­ing, “For­get all the mummy movies — they get it right in Scooby-doo.”

Ca­paldi: Mon­sters tend to smell of sweat, but he ac­tu­ally smelled of tal­cum pow­der, which was nice.

Gatiss: Who’s to say that mum­mies didn’t talc?

SLEEP NO MORE (SE­RIES 9, EPISODE 9) The Doc­tor winds up on a space sta­tion that’s been or­bit­ing Nep­tune, plagued by Sand­men — crea­tures made of sleepy-dust.

Gatiss: I feel like found-footage hor­ror has been a bit over­done, but not on tele­vi­sion.

The con­straints of it were fas­ci­nat­ing: every­thing has to be from some­one’s point of view.

Ca­paldi: If you look re­ally closely at the cor­ri­dors in the episode, the bot­toms are lined with this me­chan­i­cal-look­ing thing. I ex­am­ined it on set and it turned out to be Ikea cutlery draw­ers. They’d ob­vi­ously bought 20 of them and screwed them on. I love that stuff.

HEAVEN SENT (SE­RIES 9, EPISODE 11) A one-man show of an episode, in which the Doc­tor is trapped in a mys­te­ri­ous cas­tle on a seem­ingly end­less time-loop.

Moffat: I was watching Peter hold­ing court one day and thought, “You could spend 55 min­utes with the Doc­tor just talk­ing to him­self.”

GATISS: I re­mem­ber you say­ing it was the most ridicu­lous read-through there’s ever been. We could have done it in a ho­tel room.

Moffat: It was just Peter act­ing and me bark­ing the stage direc­tions. So two mid­dle-aged Scots­men shout­ing at each other for an hour, with a bunch of peo­ple watching.

GATISS: Like Glas­gow High Street at two in the morn­ing.



Moffat: If you’re go­ing to take con­ti­nu­ity se­ri­ously, as any­one who dis­cusses these mat­ters must, his name is Doc­tor Who. It was ab­so­lutely men­tioned in [1966 four-parter] The War Ma­chines. Twice.

CA­PALDI: Also, you know, peo­ple don’t shout, “The Doc­tor!” at you in the street. They go, “Hey, Doc­tor Who! Where’s your TARDIS?” I love call­ing him Doc­tor Who. It noises peo­ple up.

Moffat: It’s the first ar­ti­cle of faith for fans, isn’t it? Go around the play­ground con­demn­ing your­self to vir­gin­ity for a few decades by say­ing, “Ac­tu­ally, it’s the Doc­tor...”


Moffat: We’ve fin­ished shoot­ing it, but re­ally, re­ally re­cently. It’s still a work in progress.

CA­PALDI: I couldn’t have wanted for a more mov­ing and emo­tional end to my time as Doc­tor Who. It is strange do­ing [the re­gen­er­a­tion scene], but in a way you’ve been prac­tis­ing all your life to col­lapse on the floor of the TARDIS. Or what­ever hap­pens!

And we had a whole day to do it, which was nice. GATISS: It’s amaz­ing, you can see the footage of [fourth Doc­tor] Tom Baker turn­ing into [fifth

Doc­tor] Peter Davidson — it was lit­er­ally a minute that they had to do it. It was an ex­tra­or­di­nary con­trast: a day to do it, ver­sus, “Get in! Do it!” TWICE UPON A TIME WILL BE ON ABC IVIEW FOL­LOW­ING THE UK BROAD­CAST ON BOX­ING DAY MORN­ING. ABC AND ABC ME WILL BROAD­CAST IT LATER THAT EVENING

Clock­wise from left: A change is gonna come for Steven Moffat, Peter Ca­paldi and Mark Gatiss;

The Doc­tor and Clara (Jenna Cole­man) in ‘Sleep No More’; The Doc­tor with his first in­car­na­tion (David Bradley) in this year’s Christ­mas spe­cial, ‘Twice Upon A Time’.

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