Skip to content

Doctor Who’s Steven Moffat On Peter Capaldi’s Casting

After yesterday’s live reveal that Peter Capaldi is to play the next Doctor following Matt Smith’s regeneration in the 2013 Christmas special, Doctor Who’s executive producer Steven Moffat spoke to a group of journalists about the experience of casting the most iconic role in television. Capaldi’s casting was arguably the most hotly anticipated showbiz news of the year so far, and Moffat was asked if he was disappointed that the rumour somehow appeared online earlier in the week.

“Does [the secrecy] matter? No, not very much. It matters that people love the choice, and what we were looking at when we saw that there were some hints out there that it was going to be Peter… everyone was rapturous about the idea. I said to Peter before he went on tonight, because he was a little bit nervous obviously, ‘Imagine if you weren’t Peter Capaldi and you had to walk out tonight – you’d be mown down! It has to be you!'”

Moffat was also asked if he had a shortlist of actors he wanted to play the part, and whether Capaldi had been considered for the role when David Tennant left the show in 2008.

“Yes, the list went, ‘Peter Capaldi’ – it was a very short list! Honestly, there was only one audition this time… and it wasn’t an audition so much as… he came round my house and we put him on video to see what he looked like as the Doctor and, gosh, he was terribly good! 

“He did flick through my mind when we were replacing David and it didn’t feel right at all – if you think about that, that wouldn’t have been right, not then. But there’s something about Matt’s Doctor that paves the way for Peter’s Doctor somehow. The important thing to remember about the Doctor is that it is one character, going through his life, played by a succession of different actors. and you have to get to that place each time. 

“I can somehow absolutely believe that the strange old/young Matt Smith will turn into the strange young/old Peter Capaldi.”

Capaldi appeared on the show in the fourth series, in The Fires of Pompeii, as well as playing a prominent role in Torchwood: Children of Earth, and Moffat was asked when he first came onto the radar as a potential Twelfth Doctor.

“Quite a while back. I happened to know that he’s a very, very big fan and there’s something rather seductive about an utterly brilliant, arresting-looking leading man – one of the most talented actors in Britain – who you happen to know is a big fan of the show. You do start to think, ‘Maybe we should do something about that!'”

The casting of the 55 year old Glasweigan marks a definite shift away from the younger Doctors that the show has seen of late – Matt Smith was only 26 when he was cast. Capaldi’s age is already proving to be a controversial talking point amongst fans, but Moffat indicated it wasn’t a conscious decision to go for an older Doctor this time around.

“The apparent age of the Doctor makes no narrative sense at all – he’s been anything from his twenties to his seventies. Obviously he doesn’t care, he just sort of picks a face off the rack and goes with it! 

“I think it’s good that we’ve got a different age, just because I cannot imagine what somebody in their twenties would do with the Doctor after Matt showed us all how to be a twenties Doctor. I don’t know what you would do after that, because he was so perfect. You’d have to be an alternative or a deliberate contradiction – it wouldn’t work, I don’t think. So it makes life easier, I suppose, that Peter is different. But that wasn’t the reason, the reason was… the Doctor was in the room and that’s it. You don’t argue with that!”

Capaldi’s first appearance onscreen will be in this year’s Christmas special, and fans are eagerly anticipating the first glimpse at the kind of Doctor he will portray. When asked what Capaldi’s Doctor will be like, Moffat showed his confidence in his new leading man despite the fact no scenes have yet been filmed.

“Magnificent! The truth is, we don’t know. I’ve seen him do ‘Doctor-ish’ stuff and it’s worked. I’ve seen him deal with the technobabble, I’ve seen him deal with the nonsense… 

“I wrote scenes [for the audition] that were deliberately impossible – deliberately impossible dialogue, just to see, ‘Can you do the impossible, even without gunk being poured on you?’ and now we’re going to pour gunk on you, and throw a lizard at you, and ask you to say all this stuff and explain the plot… 

“So we don’t know [what he’ll be like] yet, we’re going to work on that. Matt developed hugely as he approached the part over the first few episodes and we’ll do the same with Peter.”

Doctor Who returns to screens for Matt Smith’s penultimate appearance as the Doctor in the 50th Anniversary special to be broadcast on November 23rd.

[Source: Digital Spy]