THE TWELFTH DAY OF CHRIST­MAS

Peter Ca­paldi talks gen­der swaps and sea­sonal scares…

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Doctor who -

Does your Doc­tor do Christ­mas?

Well, he’s in the Christ­mas edi­tion! I don’t think he par­tic­u­larly favours Christ­mas or is par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in it. It’s a very jolly episode but it ’s also very scary. They’ve got a re­ally good mix of the fright­en­ing and the fes­tive, which is quite dif­fi­cult to pull off. I think it ’s in the tra­di­tion of fes­tive ghost sto­ries. There’s some­thing about the fes­tive sea­son that trig­gers some kind of su­per­nat­u­ral fear or belief, some­thing quite pa­gan. They have Santa Claus in it, but it ’s the real Santa Claus. We don’t re­veal that he’s a ro­bot or a mon­ster or an alien be­ing or what­ever. He is the ac­tual real deal, and it ’s not in a bo­gus fash­ion. It’s very clever how they’ve man­aged to pull it off.

The Doc­tor Who Christ­mas spe­cials are a tra­di­tion now. How did it feel mak­ing your first?

It is, of course, weird do­ing the whole thing of hav­ing snow and Christ­mas lights and Christ­mas trees in Septem­ber, be­cause your body does re­spond to it. You just start to feel Christ­massy. You think, “Oh god, have I done my shop­ping?” It’s very, very pow­er­ful, all that. The worst thing about it is that you have so much snow but what you don’t see is that the snow ma­chines that make all that snow are in­cred­i­bly noisy. They sound like the old­est boiler you’ve ever heard in your life, clat­ter­ing and bat­ter­ing away. And you know that you’re go­ing to be in the stu­dio rere­cord­ing all the di­a­logue, which is what we ended up do­ing. But it was lovely.

Nick Frost told us he was the one man who could make you corpse on this se­ries. Was it a daily strug­gle?

Yes, be­cause I don’t re­ally corpse very much, but he’s so bril­liant and so funny and he just started to make me laugh. And then of course once he knew he could make me laugh it was a night­mare. So ev­ery op­por­tu­nity he took he would do some­thing else to make me laugh. So there’s lots of out­takes of me lit­er­ally hid­ing be­hind monsters when I shouldn’t be laugh­ing – in a very se­ri­ous scene with very fright­en­ing things go­ing on, hid­ing be­hind monsters’ heads. He’s bril­liant. I’m a big fan of his. He’s a great pres­ence to have and he’s just such a hugely gifted comic ac­tor.

The last episode ended with the Doc­tor and Clara de­cid­ing they didn’t want to travel with each other. How does their re­la­tion­ship fare?

There’s a dilemma that ap­pears which the Doc­tor has to solve. And she’s at the cen­tre of it. So he has to find her again, and he has to help her. But it cre­ates some pro­found changes in the re­la­tion­ship.

We’ve just seen the Master re­gen­er­ate into Missy. Does that bring us closer to a fe­male Doc­tor?

There eas­ily could be a fe­male Doc­tor. I think the next time might be a fe­male Doc­tor. I don’t see why not. I think it ’s good to do that. I think with Missy that was just a great idea. You wanted to keep it a sur­prise and that was the best way to do it, but yes, it does sug­gest all kinds of in­ter­est­ing stuff. They have a to­tal love/ hate re­la­tion­ship any­way but they were both men for a long time, and still have that love- hate re­la­tion­ship, and we will see more of that prob­a­bly. It’s in­ter­est­ing, be­ing able to swap like that. I think it ’s good.

You’re about to go into your sec­ond sea­son. Do you feel more own­er­ship of the part now?

I feel I know the en­vi­ron­ment I’m go­ing into, which is good, but I don’t think you can ever re­lax be­cause it ’s too im­por­tant and it ’s too iconic. It needs at­ten­tion. You can’t just leave it. You can’t just go “Oh, I know how to do this now”, be­cause I don’t know how to do it. You just go in and you do your best but not with any great plan. And so I can’t re­lax and say “I’m there now”, be­cause I’m not. And that would also be dull, to say we’ve fig­ured this out. You can’t fig­ure it out. You’ve got to just keep at it, keep see­ing where it can go.

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