"I can't be only one who looks forward to @scottm's 10 Things about #drwho almost as much as I look forward to Dr Who!" – Twitter user @JoshRochford
Everyone has questions about the seventh series of Doctor Who. These are some you may not have thought of:
• Why does Rory take such a circuitous route to find coffee in New York?
• What were the NATO war games that had the Russian submarine officers so spooked?
• Why does the Doctor keep going back to visit Amy and Rory when he hasn't done so for previous companions?
• What was wrong with a performance of "Jerusalem"?
• Would there really have been a black priest in the town of Mercy?
Taking a different look at the most recent series of BBC drama series Doctor Who, Ten Things About Who looks at every episode of Series 7, from Asylum of the Daleks to The Name of the Doctor, and finds ten points of discussion. Looking at Amy and Rory's relationship with each other and the Doctor, the rise of the Great Intelligence, the appearance and reappearance of Clara, issues of casting and historical contexts – nothing is off limits.
Based on the author's blog posts made after each episode's first showing, this collection has been revised and expanded.
Scott Matthewman is online editor of The Stage – the UK publication for the theatre and entertainment industries – where he has interviewed Doctor Who names including former executive producer Julie Gardner, Arthur Darvill (Rory) and Paul Kasey (various monsters from Cybermen to Ood). He is also a former contributor to Big Finish's Doctor Who fiction range, Short Trips.
So it turns out the bookies’ favourite was the correct one – Peter Capaldi is to be the next actor to play the lead in Doctor Who.
A quick scurry around The Stage archives finds several theatre and TV reviews, and three interviews. Two of these incorporate paragraphs which are interesting to contrast with each other.
First, from a 1990 interview with Jane Garner, connected to his role in BBC crime thriller Chain:
He enjoys comic roles as well as serious ones and has ambitions to do more film work.
“I am fascinated by that medium and I am not terribly attracted to Shakespearian roles or have any great ambition in that area. I like to do things that I am not really sure I can do and that stretches me – then I am working with something new.
“Chain was different for me because it was terribly serious and a lot of the time before, I had played a lot of rather comic roles which I love and I am comfortable in.”
And from 2007, as he prepared to appear in Absurdia, a trio of one-act comedies (two revivals by NF Simpson, and a new Michael Frayn farce) at the Donmar Warehouse, interviewed by Nick Smurthwaite:
“You do it for the challenge, the stretch,” he replies, “Generally in TV, you are employed to do what you are known for doing best. Here I’m doing things I’ve never done before, a lot of mime and movement. The Frayn play is about staging a farce in the middle of the desert, generated entirely in the imaginations of the two characters, with no props. I’ve never done mime before, so it remains to be seen if it works.”
You could, if you were being harsh, make comments about how once it was film and TV which stretched actors, and now theatre is more likely to give that challenge. But really, I see a man who’s only going to take on any role if it could push him in ways he’s never been pushed before. Given the self-confessed Doctor Who fan that he is, I can imagine that Capaldi is going to make damned sure that the BBC production team push him in his role as the Doctor.
More interesting is a quote from a 1995 interview, where the focus was more on his writing ambitions. On the back of winning the Academy Award for Best Short Film (for Franz Kafka’s It’s A Wonderful Life), he was working on a feature-length screenplay. But this quote is, considering yesterday’s news, intriguing:
Being in a series for any length of time doesn’t appeal to me and I’m always trying to avoid it. I suppose the two series of Chandler and Co. that I did was the longest I have been in a show, but I don’t like doing the same thing over and over again. I want a bit of variety.
In the eighteen years since, maybe he’s mellowed to the idea, especially for a role he’s loved since he was a boy. But Doctor Who is one of those roles where longevity and variety can go hand-in-hand.