EXCLUSIVE: Doctor Who’s Peter Capaldi On Fans, Tennant And Being A Heartthrob
We grilled him on fans, following Tennant and Smith, and being a heartthrob.
We’re at the BBC’s Cardiff studios, whereCasualty,Sherlockand the iconic 50-year-oldDoctor Whoseries are filmed. There is a dusty dalek in reception, the sight of which makes the seven year old in me want to run away shrieking. The courtyard is full of doctors and surgeons in immaculate scrubs, chain-smoking and gossiping – it takes me a minute to deduce they areCasualtyextras. Down the corridor, in a gloomy, nondescript meeting room, I find Peter Capaldi. He’s tall, wiry and sharply dressed in a Paul Smith T-shirt, black jeans and black DMs – he successfully lobbied for his Doctor to wear DMs, too. It’s the hottest day of the year and I’m hoping we might be able to sit al fresco and chat over a cuppa but, with his vampiric translucent skin and red-rimmed eyes, he looks like he might disintegrate if I tempt him out into the sunlight. Capaldi is fidgety and treats questions of a non-Doctor Whonature with the kind of disdain you reserve for something disgusting on the sole of your shoe. The problem is that he can’t talk much about the sci-fi show either, as the BBC is notoriously secretive about plot lines. It makes for a somewhat awkward conversation. I worry that, when I try to leave the building, he’ll order that dusty dalek to exterminate me.
Previously best known for playing potty-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in Armando Iannucci’s BBC political satireThe Thick of It,Capaldi was announced as the 12th time lord (and Matt Smith’s replacement) in 2013 via a live TV show special. His first series (the eighth in the show’s revival since 2005) was a roaring success; Capaldi helped bring in 9.17 million viewers – the highest ratings for a premiere in five years, and the finale saw 7.60 million viewers tune in – up 100,000 from the series finale with Matt Smith. The ninth series – which just finished in December 2015 – has been all change, with Jenna Coleman who played the Doctor’s assistant for the past three series, announcing her departure in September as the show hit screens. Speculation is rife as to who will be cast as her replacement when the BBC roll out the tenth series in January 2019, but Steven Moffat, the show’s writer and producer has confirmed that Capaldi is going nowhere.
Doctor Whois watched in 98 countries across the world, andDoctor Whofans (Whovians, collectively) are known for their passion and loyalty. What’s more, Capaldi, 56, has been a fervent Whovian himself since the age of five – he even wrote a fan letter to Radio Times in the 70s about the show. ‘I’m just doing my best,’ he says, in his quiet Glaswegian burr when we asked him about his popularity on the next series of the show. ‘I don’t know if people will like me or not; or if the show will be more successful or less successful. But no matter what happens, someone somewhere will love me – I will be someone’s Doctor. Even if everyone else hates me.’
His age means he plays the Doctor in a different way to Smith and previous incumbent David Tennant. ‘He’s definitely not boyfriend material, because that’s not appropriate,’ adds Capaldi. ‘He’s less user-friendly, he’s not a walk in the park. The relationship with Clara [the Doctor’s companion, played by Jenna Coleman] is one of responsibility and debt and affection. They struggle. He’s not quite what you think he is.’
Off screen, he and 28-year-old Coleman had a ball, judging by the enthusiastic email she sent me: ‘PC is a dude! I just love hanging out with him, he makes me howl with laughter. We spend our days doing silly voices and accents that amuse us both endlessly.
Video: Peter Capaldi On Being A Doctor Who Fan | Doctor Who: The Fan Show
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