Skip to content

Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi Sunday Times Interview

Today’s Sunday Times magazine supplement carries a brand new interview with Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi.

The interview, conducted by Sunday Times senior writer Matt Rudd, covers everything from Capaldi’s insights into the upcoming series of the show to the vision he has for his version of the Doctor and some reflection on the choices and moments in his career that have led him to this point.

Capaldi was announced as the latest actor to take on the role of the Doctor a year ago, and he says that he had some fun with not being able to tell others before the official reveal:

“When I was Doctor elect, before it was announced, I used to go to Forbidden Planet [a sci-fi superstore in the West End], and just hang around. It would amuse me that people wouldn’t know they were standing next to the next Doctor Who. That’s all past now. I can’t do it any more.”

Capaldi elaborates on Steven Moffat’s comments that the Doctor will be ‘a lot fiercer‘:

“All that’s true, but he’s also joyful. One thing the show does well is balance the epic and the domestic. You can go from the edge of the universe to a pedestrian precinct. This Doctor loves watching stars being born in Andromeda; he’s also thrilled to see litter blowing across the supermarket car park at dawn.”

One aspect of Capaldi’s portrayal of the Doctor that he was insistent on was that there would be no flirting with his companion, Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman):

“There’ll be no flirting, that’s for sure. It’s not what this Doctor’s concerned with. It’s quite a fun relationship, but no, I did call and say, ‘I want no Papa-Nicole moments.’ I think there was a bit of tension with that at first, but I was absolutely adamant.”

The interview also features a special photoshoot with Capaldi in full costume, and the actor reveals that the process of selecting his outfit was rigorous:

“I tried on everything anybody suggested. We’d go to a costume house and have huge, exhausting sessions of getting dressed up. It’s fine for about 15 minutes, but by the time we’ve done 3½ hours, it’s like, get me out of this. The most ridiculous outfit, the one I loved, I looked like Count Arthur Strong with a real, old cardigan.”

And on his final costume:

“I think it’s quite a hard look. I always wanted him to be in black — I always just saw the Doctor in dark colours. Not tweed. Matt’s a really young cool guy — he can wear anything, but I wanted to strip it back and be very stark.”

Capaldi shares his thoughts on the direction the show will take in the new series:

“We still blow a lot of s*** up. That’s very important, but it’s going to be a bit different from what we’ve seen over recent years. A bit more gravity. Some situations are more sombre and I think there are more rooted dramatic scenes. Over the past two or three years, which I’ve loved, there has often been a breathless vigour; we still have that attack, but we have another level of drama, another tone. And the scenes are longer.” 

He also reveals that he considered very carefully whether he should take on the role:

“I didn’t want to be Doctor Who in a Doctor Who I didn’t like. I had to be convinced the show was going in a direction I was interested in. I had to think carefully about the level of visibility. My life was blessed, but as soon as this happened I had paparazzi outside my house. People spoke to me before and recognised me, but nothing like this. I had to decide if I was ready to live with that, because once that genie is out of the bottle, it doesn’t go back in.”

The reason he eventually said yes?

“I thought, ‘You’ve loved this since you were a kid, how can you not be Doctor Who?’ ” 

The Sunday Times have made a snippet of this interview available online, which features Peter Capaldi’s reaction when asked at what age his mother stopped buying him the Doctor Who Annual:

The full interview – in which Capaldi also explores his early career, including The Thick of It and his time in punk band The Dreamboys with chat show host Craig Ferguson – is available from newsagents for £2.50 or online with a subscription, with a 30-day trial for £1 available for new subscribers.

Series 8 of Doctor Who will begin on Saturday 23rd August with the feature-length episode Deep Breath, but some fans will be able to catch Peter Capaldi before then during the Doctor Who World Tour, which kicks off in Cardiff on Thursday 7th August.