Filming his last scene:
Matt and the Doctor similar?
The Eleventh Hour and Fish Fingers & Custard
Trade for Who
Filming his last scene:
Matt and the Doctor similar?
The Eleventh Hour and Fish Fingers & Custard
Trade for Who
There was a panel the day before The Day of the Doctor aired, at the Doctor Who celebration in London. Of course BBC America had someone on hand to report. Maybe someday I can get to do one of these things 😉 :
Themes of loss and rebirth loomed above “The Eleventh Doctor” panel today at the Doctor Who celebration featuring Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, showrunner Steven Moffat, and producer Marcus Wilson.
By the end of Christmas Day this year, two of those names—Smith and Wilson—will have officially departed the show, while the other two will usher in a new era of Who with Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi.
But this transition will not occur without a period of mourning. Asked about her saddest moment while on the show, Coleman responded, “Saying goodbye to this one,” pointing at her partner-in-crime, Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith, who will be subsumed in a blaze of regenerative energy and turn into Capaldi in this year’s Christmas special.
Moffat agreed: Matt’s departure would be the saddest moment for him in his three years running the series. After all, Moffat took over the reins of the show as an ultimate fan, and Smith embodied the character he grew up loving. “I’ve worked on many shows,” Moffat said. “Some I’ve created. I’ve never been as emotional about them as I am about Doctor Who.”
But Doctor Who revives itself through constant changes, with companions coming and going, and the Doctor taking on new forms. “You never tire of seeing someone enter the TARDIS for the first time,” Coleman said when asked about why Doctor Who endures.
Finding an appealing, commanding Doctor has always been a key part of the show’s survival, and Matt Smith seemed almost genetically engineered for the role. Moffat revealed that the production team were “almost certain we were going with someone older, since David Tennant was a young Doctor.” But that’s because they hadn’t met Matt Smith yet, and when he auditioned, he immediately nailed the crotchetiness necessary for playing a 900-year-old. (Moffat boasts that he has the casting tape on his laptop. Will it make its way to YouTube one day?)
Fans, who loved the romance and righteousness Tennant brought to the Time Lord, were willing to give a new actor a chance. Smith, whose hair is finally growing back after he sheared it off for Ryan Gosling‘s How To Catch a Monster, waxed rhapsodic over his rock star reception at the Village East Cinemas for the U.S. premiere of his Doctor debut, “The Eleventh Hour.” “You guys go wild for it over there,” he said.
“I tried to embrace his old crankiness while have a young face,” Smith said.
Meanwhile, Smith says the Doctor is in good hands with Capaldi. “Peter Capaldi is an actor of the highest regard,” said Smith. “Anyone with doubts should watchThe Thick Of It.”
But, of course, before Capaldi takes over the TARDIS, there’s still Smith’s penultimate episode, the much-awaited “The Day of the Doctor.” The panel was mostly mum about the highly guarded plot details of the 50th anniversary episode. Moffat praised Marcus Wilson’s contributions to it: “The 50th looks like a multimillion dollar blockbuster, and it’s all because of this guy,” gesturing toward Wilson. (Wilson, whose final episode is the Christmas special, says he’s sad but “I’m going out with a bang.”)
Meanwhile, Jenna Coleman’s lips are sealed when it comes to revealing former companion Billie Piper‘s role in “The Day of the Doctor.” “I have been told to say nothing regarding Billie,” she told the crowd. “So that will be a big surprise tomorrow night.”
Sorry for all the posts tonight but sometimes I just can’t help but overload. This week will be especially bad if I have time.
TV Guide is doing a special tribute to the 50th. They even have a preview up! I’ve got to think that after this people will start asking Moffat’s kids a lot of questions. If you’re trying to avoid spoilers you may want to skip this one:
Can you keep a secret? Probably not as well as Doctor Who executive producer Steven Moffat’s two sons, Joshua, 13, and Louis, 11. These days, nearly every television producer, director, writer, actor and caterer is apprehensive about revealing details and plot points from unaired episodes of their shows. But Moffat is the master. He even gave one of the series’ characters the catchphrase “No spoilers.” He purposely misleads the press. “I lied my arse off,” Moffat told 6,500 attendees at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con regarding the content of an upcoming episode. He also runs a tight spaceship: Nondisclosure agreements are as ubiquitous as silver alien masks on the British science-fiction show’s set.
Joshua, however, is the first to read his dad’s scripts. Louis helps vet Moffat’s monsters. This past June, Matt Smith, who currently plays the time and space traveler known only as the Doctor, revealed he’s leaving the show at year’s end. Nearly all of England spent the summer guessing the identity of his replacement as soon-to-be next Doctor Peter Capaldi ate dinner (cooked by Moffat) at the family’s house. And when it comes to the hush-hush mysteries of Doctor Who‘s breathlessly anticipated 50th-anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor? “My sons know pretty much everything,” Moffat says proudly. “They’re very good at keeping secrets. They just don’t tell people. They just don’t talk.”
Fifty years is a record-breaking run for a sci-fi series — but longevity (and continual reinvention) is in Doctor Who‘s DNA. The BBC debuted the show during teatime on November 23, 1963, and over the next three years, 12 million Britons watched the hoary First Doctor (William Hartnell) fight intergalactic beasties. Then heart disease forced Hartnell to quit. So Who‘s writers gave the Doctor’s alien race, the Time Lords, the ability to regenerate into entirely different beings. On an October 1966 episode, Hartnell’s Doctor fainted and transformed into the sprightlier, slightly shorter Second Doctor, played by raven-haired Patrick Troughton.
Doctor Who aired for 23 more years, returned as a TV movie in 1996, then upgraded to a proper series again in 2005, starring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor. When Smith inherited the role from David Tennant in 2010, he became the 11th actor to portray the Doctor on television full-time.
Historically, Who anniversary episodes are romps — inflated, silly adventures whose plots are excuses to wrangle several of the Doctor’s incarnations into one episode. When Two and Three (Jon Pertwee) argued in 1973’s The Three Doctors, they summoned One to referee. In the 1993 special Dimensions in Time, a rogue Time Lady tried to trap all the Doctors in present-day London. Doctors Three through Seven (Sylvester McCoy) resisted — with help from the cast of the BBC soap opera EastEnders. “Fans love it when the Doctors meet. It’s a groovy thing to happen,” Smith says. “The Doctors are like, ‘You’re the Doctor? You’re not the Doctor!’ It’s funny and ridiculous.”
The Day of the Doctor unites Smith’s baby-faced Eleven and Tennant’s quirky Ten with the well-worn War Doctor, played by John Hurt — but it’s not the traditional jaunty Who-versary. It’s the most significant day of the Doctor’s life, the one he claims to have been running from for 900-plus years. And it will leave a major footprint on the show going forward. “Most Doctor Who stories aren’t about the Doctor,” Moffat says. “They’re about people he meets, monsters he defeats and plans he spoils. But this is the Day of the Doctor. This one will stick with him and change certain ways he thinks.”
Here’s what we know for sure. The special will resolve questions the series has been setting up since Smith’s first full-length episode, “The Eleventh Hour.” “The Doctor doesn’t even tell you his name,” points out Moffat. “What other secrets does he keep?” Hurt’s grizzled soldier is an altered version of the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann), and this is the only time we’ll see him. The action is spread over at least two worlds and three time periods: Elizabethan England, contemporary London and the Doctor’s home planet, Gallifrey, during the Great Time War between the Time Lords and their nemeses the Daleks. (Off screen, between the 1996 movie and the 2005 reboot, the Doctor stopped the carnage by incinerating the entire Dalek army and all his fellow Time Lords. He’s been having a difficult time with that.)
In 1562, Ten gets frisky with the Virgin Queen (Joanna Page) and complains about how Eleven redecorated the TARDIS, the Doctor’s signature spaceship that resembles a blue 1950s police call box. “It’s amazing how Ten and Eleven are almost total opposites, but also very similar,” says Jenna Coleman, who plays the Eleventh Doctor’s traveling companion, Clara Oswald. “They’ll spar, and then they realize they actually get on, and then they argue. It’s a person arguing with himself.”
Outside the TARDIS, Tennant and Smith got on like Gallifrey on fire. “There are not many people in the world who know what it is to play the Doctor and to live the part of the Doctor,” explains Smith. “What was pretty exciting is that David got that.” Remembers Coleman: “They ended up getting on so well, I was like, ‘Hey, guys, can I get a bit of attention?'”
The BBC has released a press pack containing the pictures from the previous post and some interviews. I wish I was lucky enough to get these things, but since I’m not actually press… well, no joy for me. HOWEVER, now that it’s out there, I’m more than happy to share it. In the future though if anyone would like to include me on that sort of thing I’d be glad to promote it ;)….:
The Doctors embark on their greatest adventure in this 50th Anniversary Special: in 2013, something terrible is awakening in London’s National Gallery; in 1562, a murderous plot is afoot in Elizabethan England; and somewhere in space an ancient battle reaches its devastating conclusion. All of reality is at stake as the Doctor’s own dangerous past comes back to haunt him.
The Day of the Doctor is written by Steven Moffat; directed by Nick Hurran; executive produced by Steven Moffat and Faith Penhale and produced by Marcus Wilson. It stars Matt Smith, David Tennant and Jenna Coleman with Billie Piper and John Hurt.
INTERVIEW WITH STEVEN MOFFAT – LEAD WRITER AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Question: What is it like being the writer for the Doctor Who 50th special?
Steven Moffat: Since I was a little boy, the idea of writing a Doctor Who story at all was remarkable enough to me. But writing the 50th special was exciting and terrifying – everything that showbiz should be.
Q. So where did the story for ‘The Day of the Doctor’ come from?
SM: I didn’t want this to just be a celebration of 50 years of the past. I wanted it to be a celebration of the mythology of the legend of the Doctor and all that entailed. This should be the first step on the next journey, guaranteeing the 100th anniversary. The story focuses on the most important thing that ever happened to the Doctor. We very rarely do that in Doctor Who as it’s usually about the people the Doctor meets or the companion that travel with him. This time it’s different.
Q. ‘The Day of the Doctor’ welcomes back the shape-shifting Zygons, a monster we haven’t seen since the 1970s. Why did you decide they were the ones to bring back?
SM: The Zygons without question are a design classic. They are superb; brilliant from the voice, to the appearance. Essentially we’ve resurrected exactly the same Zygon as Tom Baker fought back in the 70s. They are beautiful, and it’ll show that the special looks forward to the future of Doctor Who and also celebrates the legend.
Q. At the end of the last series we were introduced to John Hurt as the Doctor. What does John bring to the role and can you tell us anything about his Doctor?
SM: With John Hurt we have serious acting royalty and that was the intent of John’s character. John is one of the most distinguished film stars of British origin, one of the most distinguished actors this country has produced and has now become part of Doctor Who mythology.
Q. There have been Doctor Who anniversary specials before, which are so well loved. How do you think this one will be remembered?
SM: There’s only really been one anniversary special before and that was for the 20th anniversary with ‘The Five Doctors’. ‘The Three Doctors’ wasn’t an anniversary special as it was one year too early, but we remember it that way. I adored ‘The Three Doctors’, it was brilliant, an accidental piece of magic. I also loved ‘The Five Doctors’. I did think that was the one where possibly the desire to celebrate overwhelmed the desire to tell a story. But I can’t really begrudge it that!
Q. ‘The Day of the Doctor’ will be the first time we see Doctor Who is proper 3D. Did you write the script with 3D in mind?
SM: My first impulse was if we’re going to do 3D it had to be part of the plot. We actually have to make 3D part of the story and if at all possible, to try and make 3D a bit scary. I wouldn’t say it’s in every scene, but there is an element of the show that exploits the fact of 3D.
Q. The 50th special will mark the return of David Tennant to the role of the Tenth Doctor, starring opposite the Eleventh, Matt Smith. How was it having two Doctors on set?
SM: It was eye twisting at times. You don’t quite realise how these two men have become hard wired into your brain as the Doctor. Matt and David got on so well and their interaction on screen is a sublime double act. Matt said to me, “It’s a bit like Laurel and Laurel. It’s like Hardy didn’t turn up”. They are absolutely great together. Sometimes very, very, different, other times in moments they choose together they are exactly the same.
Q. And seeing Billie and David on set together how was that?
SM: Seeing Billie and David standing on set together was quite epic. Billie told me that as she is very good friends with both Matt and David, she felt quite torn and divided. She didn’t know how to deal with both of them at the same time, so if she was talking to one she would stroke the arm of the other.
Q. And finally, where will you be watching the episode on 23 November?
SM: I’ve got two impulses. One is to watch it at home with my friends, particularly friends who made the show. My other impulse is to go out and join the party. But it’s a difficult one. When Matt and I watched ‘The Eleventh Hour’, we watched it many times before it went out. Then came the faithful day, the 3rd of April 2010. Matt came round to my house, my parents and his parents were there to watch the episode go out and have our future decided. Everyone sat down, but Matt and I couldn’t stay in the room. So I might be watching it peering round my kitchen door with Matt.
INTERVIEW WITH MATT SMITH – THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR
Stepping back on to the TARDIS for his penultimate ride, Matt Smith takes on the role of the Doctor in his greatest adventure yet. Here he talks about being part of the epic 50th adventure.
Question: What is it like starring in the 50th anniversary special, one of the biggest years for the show?
Matt Smith: It’s a thrill to be in the 50th anniversary. I feel very proud to be part of it and it’s a credit to everyone who started the show back in the 60s that it’s come this far. It’s a great format and a great idea.
Q: ‘The Day of the Doctor’ marks the return of David Tennant and Billie Piper, and we get the revelation of John Hurt’s Doctor. What was it like working alongside them all?
MS: It was a joy to work with David, Billie and John Hurt. I’ve worked with Billie before and I’d obviously seen all of David’s work, especially as the Doctor. He’s a brilliant actor and a brilliant Doctor. It’s quite strange, I always sort of get that surreal thing of looking and David and thinking, ‘Oh my God, there’s Doctor Who’. And John is acting royalty. Another wonderful Doctor and again, a good bloke. I think looking back over my tenure on this show one of the great privileges has been the quality of actors that you get to work with.
Q: Was there any kind of competitiveness between the different Doctors and companions?
MS: No we’re not competitive, I mean there’s a funny bit in the script between the 10th and 11th Doctors comparing Sonics, so there’s competitiveness in the story, but not off screen. We just had a laugh and it was exciting to see David back in the pin striped suit and the Converse. John only has to move his eyes and he flaws you and Billie’s, Billie. I adore Billie, so we had a great time.
Q: Were there any moments when you were standing on the floor waiting for action to be called and thinking ‘Oh my goodness, I’m actually doing this’?
MS: Of course, there’s always those moments in Doctor Who when you’re going, ‘Wow we’re doing Doctor Who and there’s David Tennant over there and John Hurt over there and Billie over there and there’s a Redgrave over there’. There are a lot of those moments when you make this show. But I think the wonderful thing was there was great down time. I just enjoyed spending time with David and obviously for me as well as I am about to leave the show, it was really interesting to talk to him about that experience and his experience on the show, because it is a very individual experience playing the Doctor. It was quite nice to go, ‘What was that bit like for you?’ and it was just sort of enlightening really.
Q: Moving on to stunts, some pictures have been published of you hanging from a TARDIS in front of crowds in Trafalgar Square. What was that like and did you need to be convinced to go up there?
MS: I was hoisted up over 90 feet, double Nelson’s Column, hanging on a wire under the TARDIS. They used the biggest crane I think they had ever brought to Trafalgar Square. I really had to persuade them to let me go up, but I had the most wonderful view of London. It was raining and really windy, but I loved it and would do it again. It was one of the rare brilliant opportunities that you only get with Who.
Q. As well as being shown on BBC One, ‘The Day of the Doctor’ will be available in 3D to those with a 3D TV and in some cinemas. What was it like filming in 3D?
MS: The rigs for the cameras are much heavier and poor Joe, who is our wonderful cameraman, had a very tough time of it. It was like having a 6-year-old or 7-year-old child on your shoulder all day. There’s just a lot more time, the technical process of filming everything is more laborious.
But also there are a lot of plusses and I’m really excited to see how Doctor Who lends itself to it, because I think as a show and a format it really suits the idea of being shot in 3D. I think it’s good for a show like Doctor Who to be at the forefront of technology and that’s what we’ve always been.
It’s always been at the front of the advancement in film and even with the wobbly sets, at least they were having a go and I think it’s a good step forward. It’s an evolution.
INTERVIEW WITH DAVID TENNANT – THE TENTH DOCTOR
Last seen in his pin stripe suit and Converse trainers in 2010, David Tennant returns as the Tenth Doctor in the 50th anniversary special. Here he talks about rivalry between the Doctors and coming back to the show.
Question: What is it like being part of the 50th in one of the biggest years for the show?
David Tennant: It’s very exciting to be around for the big celebration episode. I think since I left the expectation had been that I’d end up in this special, because there is a precedent for old Doctors coming back for a visit around the anniversary time. I was thrilled because it’s a huge thing for Doctor Who and it’s a huge thing for television in general. So few shows run beyond a few series and 50 years’ worth is quite a legacy, so I’m very honoured to be part of that.
Q: What is it like working with Matt and Jenna, was there any rivalry or competitiveness between the two sets of Doctors and companions?
DT: It’s funny, I think people almost expected Matt and me to be at loggerheads, but we’ve really enjoyed it. I guess when you‘ve played a character for a long time you kind of feel like you know how they’ll react in most situations. It’s delicious to be handed a situation that’s completely new and a character meeting a version of himself is not something that you come across in a lot of drama. So to get to play that with someone as talented and as quick and brilliant as Matt is nothing short of jolly good fun.
Q: You’ve probably seen some of the previous anniversary specials, but how do you think this one compares to them?
DT: It’s very hard to be objective about something you’re in, especially when you set it up against things that you experienced as a child. But I certainly remember when ‘The Five Doctors’ was on, it was electrically exciting. That was of course in the day when we didn’t even have a video player. You couldn’t revisit things, so the chance to see old Doctors that I had never seen on the telly at all, acting with the current was fantastic. I hope that this will have some of that buzz for today’s generation.
Q: Do you still watch Doctor Who?
DT: Of course, I watch it every time it’s on along with the rest of the nation.
Q: How did you find filming in 3D compared to 2D?
DT: Our job as actors remains the same really, but you’re aware that there’s a whole extra layer of technical stuff that has to be dealt with and the cameras are bigger. We shot a lot on this hand held camera, which was quite trying for Joe our intrepid camera operator who has this enormous thing that he has to lug around and navigate around the set; he did it brilliantly. But it causes some headaches for the camera teams and for the post production side of making it. We’re not doing too much novelty weaving into the lens for the 3D effect, but it gives it an extra zing.
Q: What was it like working with Billie again?
DT: It’s always lovely to see Billie and to be on set with her is a particular joy. She’s one of my favourite actresses and one of my favourite people, so I was very happy to be in the same room as Billie.
Q: Where will you be watching the episode?
DT: Wherever I am in the world and whatever I’m doing, I’m sure I will make time for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special.
Q: During filming did you ever have a pinch yourself moments thinking, ‘God I’m back’ or anything like that?
DT: I think the thing with filming Doctor Who is that there is so much excitement around it and there’s so much enthusiasm for it that often the lead up to getting here is more of a delight then shooting it. Because once you’re on set there’s a script and there’s lines and you’ve got to get the scene shot and they’re the pressures that filming always has. Really, you’re just trying to film the scenes the best you possibly can, so you sort of put aside the idea that you’re making something that is a moment in television history. The pressure of that would sort of paralyse you really.
INTERVIEW WITH JENNA COLEMAN – CLARA OSWALD
Back in the TARDIS, Jenna stars as companion to the Eleventh Doctor, played by Matt Smith. Having met more Doctors than any other companion, this time she comes face-to-face with more than one Doctor at once.
Question: What is it like starring in the 50th special, one of the biggest year’s for the show?
Jenna Coleman: It’s fantastic. I feel really spoilt to be honest and lucky to be in the show in the first place, but also to have come in at this time. Whilst we were filming it felt very celebratory and special. Working with David, Billie and John, I feel really pleased to be part of the whole thing.
Q: What was it like working with David and Billie, was there any competiveness between the different Doctors and companions?
JC: I think there’s a competitiveness in them that kind of brings out the best in the Doctor. You see it on set that they are so totally different Doctors, but they just complement each other. They make fun of each other mercilessly.
Q: What were your thoughts when you first heard about John’s character?
JC: So not only do we have David back, we also have John Hurt starring as the Doctor, which is massively exciting. And again the three of them complement each other totally, and it utterly works. It’s great to see all of them together.
Q: There are some big stunts in this episode. What was it like filming in the TARDIS dangling from a crane in front of crowds in Trafalgar Square?
JC: It’s one of the major stunts that we did and one of the big opening sequences at the beginning of the episode. We actually filmed it in a couple of stages including at St. Athens airfield where me and Matt were in the TARDIS being swung from side to side. Then in the second half, we were actually lowered down into Trafalgar Square. I think it will be quite an iconic image, it certainly felt like that on the day. Although I didn’t get to the do the really high stunt in Trafalgar Square, which I was devastated about and was kind of stood around begging people to go up, but I got to do the end of it.
I am quite scared of rollercoasters, but when you’ve got a camera pointing at you and loads of crew then you kind of just tend to be really brave. That’s one of the thrills of the show.
Q: What differences did you find filming in 3D compared to 2D?
JC: Loads of differences. Well for a start the cameras are massive, so you kind of can’t miss them and they’re really heavy for the poor camera operators. The framing is quite different and when the
Doctor points you can kind of really react to it. I just think the show lends itself so well and there are so many moments in it that will work really well in 3D. On the first day I saw Matt in the TARDIS in 3D and it felt like the world was coming right out at you.
INTERVIEW WITH JOANNA PAGE- QUEEN ELIZABETH I
Welsh actress Joanna Page takes on the role of Queen Elizabeth I and talks here about playing the monarch with an accent and filming romantic scenes on top of a mountain in Neath.
Question: What’s it like being part of the 50th, one of the biggest years on the show?
Joanna Page: It’s amazing being part of the 50th anniversary. I just remember getting an email asking if I’d play Queen Elizabeth I, which in itself I couldn’t believe because she’s so iconic, even in the history of Doctor Who. I’ve always wanted to be in Doctor Who and now to be in it and playing Queen Elizabeth I is absolutely fantastic, so exciting.
Q: And what did you do when you first found out about the news?
When I first found out about the news I phoned my mum and my dad and obviously, told my husband and then I sat down and read the script, because I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I just couldn’t believe that they had sent it to me as it was like gold dust. There were all these rumours in the papers about what’s happening, and so and so is coming back and I just thought I’m actually going to know what happens. I’ve never done a job where you have to keep a secret before and it’s been really difficult, but also really exciting because you know and no one else does.
Q: You’re playing royalty; can we expect a Queen Elizabeth with a Welsh twang?
JP: Well it’s very funny being one of the most well-known Welsh people and having to stand up and say, ‘How dare you, I’m the Queen of England’. That did make me laugh, but no, I’m playing her with an English accent. But John Hurt said she actually wouldn’t have had a very English accent, because there were so many different influences.
Q: What was it like working Matt, David, Billie and Jenna?
JP: It was quite scary working with Matt, David, Billie and Jenna because they’re iconic and they’re these major characters that I’ve watched and are part of Doctor Who history. It’s really funny acting with them because you look at them and they’re almost like cartoon characters because you see them so much and you’ve watched them and you believe them.
It’s just been fascinating and working with the two Doctors is brilliant because it’s the same character, but seeing how the two boys just play them completely differently and how they work off each other it’s really funny. After reading the script and then hearing it all in the read through it just all came to life and I thought, ‘Wow this is going to be fantastic’.
Q: There’s a little bit of romance between Queen Elizabeth and the Tenth Doctor. What was is it like filming those scenes?
JP: Filming the romantic scenes were quite difficult because my first day was on top of a mountain in Neath. It was absolutely freezing, it was blowing a gale and David, the Tenth Doctor and I, are having a picnic. So I’m lying across him and he probably couldn’t breathe, because I’ve just got this massive costume on, and he’s feeding me grapes as I’m just desperately shivering. You’ve got to try and play it romantic and relaxed, when actually you’re freezing cold. I think our lips were turning blue and I stopped feeling my hands. The next day, because it had been so cold with the wind my hands were bright red and all blistered because they were so chapped. So everyone is probably jealous, thinking she gets to kiss the Tenth Doctor and it’s all romantic, but it’s not; my lips were numb and my hands were chapped.
Q: Where will you be watching the episode?
JP: I’m going to be watching the episode in my living room. My husband has been asking for ages if we can buy a 3D TV and I said no, but now after putting on the glasses myself, it’s fantastic so I’ve said we have to get a 3D TV. So we’ll be watching it in the living room with all of my family round and then I’ll probably go to the cinema and watch it as well.
About a week and a half ago Zap2It had an interview with Jenna Coleman where she talked about everything from ComicCon to food. Yes, I’m just getting around to it now. Sorry! Read on below:
Jenna Coleman might be the luckiest girl in the “Doctor Who” universe. She joined the show as the Doctor’s mysterious companion, Clara, in its 50th Anniversary season and found herself working with Matt Smith on his final episodes. Soon, she’ll help usher in a brand new Twelfth Doctor (to be announced in a live international TV special airing this weekend).
In less than a year’s time, she’s acted alongside famous guest stars including Diana Rigg, John Hurt, Warwick Davis, Richard E. Grant and David Warner and just recently made her first trek to Comic-Con (where her boyfriend, actor Richard Madden, also turned up to promote HBO’s “Game of Thrones”).
We sat down with Coleman for a one on one chat during the recent TCA summer press tour to discuss “Who”-mania, the upcoming 50th Anniversary and Christmas specials, what it was like working with iconic stars from “Who” past, and (because we couldn’t resist) what she thought of the “Game of Thrones” Red Wedding.
We even had a special guest interrupt the conversation…
Let’s talk a little bit about the 50th. I know you can’t say too much, but what was the vibe like on set, since it was the 50th Anniversary special. Did it feel like a regular episode?
Jenna Coleman: No, it didn’t. It was different in so many ways. Because it’s 3D, the way of shooting is totally different. The cameras are a lot bigger. It takes a lot more time with set ups, and actually filming the show. Also, just having so many people on set. It’s such an ensemble cast, with the three Doctors, with Billie Piper, myself, lots of different characters.
It was a really nice feeling because every day felt like a celebration. There was just a buzz. You knew you were part of something special, and part of the history of the show. There was that kind of atmosphere around. I have to think it will be lovely to look back in a few years and be like, ‘Cool, I was part of that whole thing!’
It looks like David Tennant and Matt Smith have terrific chemistry together judging by the Comic-Con trailer. Was that evident on the set too?
Yeah, from the read-through actually. You read it in the script, and you’re like, ‘This is brilliant. This is brilliant.’ It was so snappy. And just the kind of the humor that David’s doctor has, and then Matt — they’re very different doctors, very different but also there’s definitely a meeting of minds in humor. Then there’s also the antagonistic stuff as well going on. And John Hurt is completely his own [Doctor]. It’s just a great dynamic of the three of them being the one person.
Had you met Billie Piper before or was this the first time?
This was the first time I had met her. I heard a lot about her. Matt’s really good friends with Billie, so I felt like I met her before.
Did you compare companion notes at all?
It’s funny, the stuff you talk about is more like the logistics of like, ‘Oh yeah, I used to eat at this place.’ ‘Well, actually did you know about this place?’ ‘Oh, I stayed in this place.’ We shared notes on that kind of thing, and then we just really got on. She’s great to have around. She’s got such a good energy on set as well. We all had special chairs made for us for the 50th. In between takes and stuff like that, we’d sit around and it was just like a big family.
It sounds exciting.
It was, and we’d all get Nando’s at lunch. Do you have that here?
I haven’t heard of it.
It’s like a spicy chicken take-away. We’d all bond over Nando’s. It was everybody’s birthday as well, which was weird. It was my birthday, David’s birthday, Joe, our lead cameraman’s, birthday. I’d never been on a shoot with so much cake!
Did John Hurt eat Nando’s also?
No, John wasn’t into Nando’s.
I had to ask! Switching topics a bit, Steven Moffat said at Comic-Con that he’s still writing the Christmas Special with Matt’s departure. I’m not asking for spoilers but do you know anything about it at all?
I know a tiny little bit, but to be honest, I like to wait for script. I like to read it as the page turns.
At what point did you find out Matt would be leaving?
It was always [talked about] from day one. It’s not a decision that he’s made lightly, and it’s something that we’ve been all talking about for a while, so I kind of knew from the start, really, that, that was what was going to happen.
Did you get any reassurance for Clara that if the Doctor leaves, she would stay?
I’m trying to think how it went. I think the idea was, as it always is in the show, we get to know the doctor and a companion for a couple of seasons before they move on.
I definitely don’t want to see her go yet. We’ve only spent half a season with her, and during that time she was mostly a mystery.
That’s what I’m very excited about is that we can actually get the more human side. We couldn’t get to know too much about her because she was a mystery last year. It’s going to be nice just to have her as a human, as a girl. There’s quite a lot to explore still, I think.
When David Tennant left he was on his own, but Matt’s departure seems more similar to when Christopher Eccleston left and Rose got to continue with another Doctor.
It’s only been done once with Rose, I think. At the moment, it feels like a blank canvas. It’s totally in Steven’s mind. That’s what’s kind of exciting, with the nature of the show, we could go anywhere with it. I suppose there is an element of starting again as well which is always so exciting about the show.
I don’t know how they did this with Billie, but have you been involved in the casting process for the Twelfth Doctor in terms of chemistry tests or things like that?
Yeah, I think it’s a good way to do it. Obviously I had a few auditions with Matt, and I know Matt read with some of the [other] potential companions. I think it’s really good for the writers as well to see us read together.
It’s going to be exciting to have a front row seat to the casting because I’ve been on the other side of it quite a lot on different jobs. I’ve never actually been the girl reading with them, so it’s interesting. I like to see lots of different actors do the same scene, and how different they can make it and what they can do.
Have you started thinking at all about your own ending on the show? The Doctor’s companions are always leaving, and this seems like a very exciting time to be a part of “Doctor Who” because Arthur [Darvill] and Karen [Gillan] and Matt have all gone on to great roles.
Yeah. I saw Arthur on Broadway [in ‘Once’]! His voice is insane. I don’t know. It still feels very much like I’m at the beginning, but what’s quite nice is I’m working on something else [BBC miniseries ‘Death Comes to Pemberley’] at the moment. I sort of have a break and then I have another break, after Matt goes, later in the year because I know I’m not shooting until January. It means I get to explore other projects and come back, and that keeps me very happy.
What’s your role in “Pemberley” like?
I’m playing Lydia Wickham, who is, I apologize already to every single viewer because the director gave me the note, ‘We all should want to slap you in the face,’ so I’m basically as annoying and awful and hysterical a drama queen as possible. I’ve had a great time having a license to just be ridiculous, basically. But everybody else has to sit and witness it, so sorry about that.
I hope it’s okay to ask a “Game of Thrones” question, but what was your reaction to the Red Wedding, since you must have known that was coming?
I think my reaction was just this [jaw drops], for about five minutes. That’s something that I knew was coming, but it was just hand over mouth, shock.
And at Comic-Con you shared a panel with David Bradley [who plays Walder Frey on “Game of Thrones” and stars in the upcoming “Doctor Who” docudrama “An Adventure in Space and Time”], had you ever met him before?
No. He was in [‘Doctor Who’] but that was before I was. He’s a good friend of my boyfriend’s, and also Matt has said some wonderful things about David Bradley. He’s a rock star. He’s cool. You know somebody is a good actor when it makes you feel uncomfortable, afterwards even.
[At this point Matt Smith jumps in briefly to tease Coleman.]
Matt Smith: Is she still going on? I’m really sorry. She’s really boring.
I can’t get her to stop talking!
[Coleman to Smith:] Pipe down, Smith. Go eat some caramel wafers.
[Smith walks away smiling.]
Sorry about him.
It’s funny he did that because he keeps mentioning the great friendships that he’s made on the show, and it must be a little sad to think that he’ll be leaving soon.
I’ll miss him. I will so miss him. We don’t say things like that to each other. But I just can’t imagine it yet. That’s the thing, I don’t need to because we’ve not finished. We have yet to say our goodbyes and yet to even read those goodbyes, so I’ve not moved on. I’ve not dumped him just yet, you know what I mean?
You want to make the most of it.
Oh, massively. [Smith’s first full episode] ‘Eleventh Hour’ is one of my favorite episodes, and it’s one of Matt’s as well. I think he’s been such an incredible, amazing Doctor. [The Christmas special] is going to be such a tribute to Matt, and to the Eleventh Doctor.
We both just want to really go in there and make it up there with ‘Eleventh Hour’ — as strong as possible to give him the best goodbye possible. It’s gonna be exciting. Coming to Comic-Con, and seeing the trailers and things like that, you’re like, ‘Aw, I missed that,’ because we hadn’t done it for a couple of months. It’s like, ‘Let’s get ourselves back to Cardiff, and make some “Doctor Who”!’
The “Doctor Who” 50th Anniversary Special airs worldwide Nov. 23.
Doctor Who TV wrote an article on the Doctor’s upcoming regeneration. They beat me to it! This was actually something I was considering writing but hadn’t had the time. For me, it would be interesting to see something unexpected Perhaps a companion purposely causing his regeneration, or something like that. I’d like to know what all of you think, but for now, read their article:
Since we heard the sad news that Matt Smith is to bow out of his role as the Doctor, there have been many discussions and articles on what comes next e.g. who will be the 12th Doctor? Will the next Doctor be a woman? Will he/she be older? And what will the next Doctor’s personality be like and how will it shape Series 8? But in this article I will be pondering about how Smith’s brilliant and enigmatic Doctor will exit the show. Just to say, although I have seen the actual regenerations for the classic Doctors, I haven’t watched the full episode/s in which they made their departure, so I will only be talking about the episodes that featured Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant’s regenerations.
The regeneration story
Come this Christmas (or maybe even the 50th anniversary special, you never know!) we will be watching the 3rd regeneration story since Doctor Who came back onto our screens in 2005. For both of these stories, they A) were a two-parter and B) featured famous old foes: the Daleks were in Eccleston’s final episodes Bad Wolf/The Parting Of The Ways, and in David Tennant’s swansong the Doctor’s powerful race made their comeback along with John Simm’s Master in The End Of Time, Part 1 and Part 2. Judging by the current trend of regeneration stories, it seems likely that Matt Smith will also get a two-parter this winter to go out with. But since 9 and 10’s regeneration stories were scripted by Russell. T. Davies, and 11’s will be written by Steven Moffat, we may get something different, like a standalone episode that is longer, say 90 minutes.
Both of the two-parters for 9 and 10’s exits ended the first part on brilliant cliffhangers, Bad Wolf ended with Rose stuck on a Dalek ship with the Doctor’s infamous foes, with Nine defiantly vowing to rescue her and “wipe every last stinking Dalek out of the sky!”. The End of Time Part 1 ended with the entire Earth being transformed into the Master, with the Doctor helpless, and then Timothy Dalton declaring that “This is the day that the Time Lords return”. If Smith’s regeneration story is a two-parter, you can bank on Moffat ending part 1 on a humdinger of a cliffhanger, just look at episodes like The Pandorica Opens, and The Impossible Astronaut, say what you want about The Moff, but he knows how to leave the audience hanging.
What causes the regeneration?
Before I speculate on what will cause the 11th Doctor‘s regeneration, allow me to recap on all of the Doctor’s previous regenerations.
- The 1st Doctor collapsed and regenerated in The Tenth Planet.
- The Time Lords gave the 2nd Doctor a forced change of appearance in The War Games.
- The 3rd Doctor suffered radiation poisoning in Planet of the Spiders.
- The 4th Doctor fell from a radio telescope and was aided in the regeneration by the Watcher.
- The 5th Doctor was poisoned in The Caves of Androzani.
- The 6th Doctor regenerated when the Rani attacked the TARDIS and forced it to crash land in Time and The Rani.
- The 7th Doctor died during heart surgery following being shot.
- The 8th Doctor’s cause of regeneration is unknown.
- The 9th Doctor regenerated after absorbing the time vortex to save Rose Tyler.
- The 10th Doctor regenerated after suffering radiation poisoning to save the life of Wilfred Mott.
So judging by the previous ways in which our favourite Time Lord has been made to change his appearance, amongst other things, there are numerous ways in which the Doctor could be made to regenerate. Going by the trend since 2005, it seems fairly likely that the 11th Doctor will make a noble sacrifice in order to save someone he cares about, most likely Clara. But Moffat might want to change this trend, and I think another likely way in which he could be made to regenerate is if he is wounded during a battle with the enemy of the story, or caught in the crossfire.
It is highly likely that the enemy of the episode/s will be what causes the regeneration, or the events leading up to it, which has been the case with the last two regenerations, neither the Daleks or Time Lords actually physically caused the Doctor to regenerate, but they were responsible in a main way, i.e. Rose only absorbed the time vortex because she knew that if she didn’t then the Daleks would kill the Doctor, and it’s only because the Time Lords managed to return from the Time War that Wilf locked himself in the radiation chamber to free the man already trapped in there, thus causing him to be the one who knocks four times. And in my eyes, Matt Smith’s Doctor has always been willing to sacrifice himself to save others, an example being in The Big Bang. So I think it seems rather likely that 11 will sacrifice himself to save someone like Clara, possibly to repay her for saving him on countless occasions throughout his life, and or because of how much he likes and respects her.
The villains are what help to make and episode great, the villain needs to be threatening and to cause a genuine feeling of fear and tension to make them memorable, like the Weeping Angels from Blink.
From reading this site, I have interpreted that the villain that the fans would like to see the most in Smith’s swansong is the Silence. The Silence are a religious order that were created to prevent the oldest question in the universe being answered, that question being; Doctor who? The Silence were heavily mentioned throughout Series 5, and are widely thought to have been the ones to have blown up the TARDIS in the Series 5 finale. This has never been clarified on screen during a Doctor Who episode, although the voice of the being that took control of the TARDIS did state that “Silence will fall.” But this isn’t really confirmation, it could have been anything because the Silence aren’t the only thing to have stated that “Silence will fall”, Prisoner Zero also said that line in The Eleventh Hour.
Anyway, the Silence have manipulated human events from the dawn of time by using post hypnotic suggestion, and once you look away from them, you instantly forget that they were there, but they plant ideas in your head. The Doctor stopped them by using their own weapon against them. Many people want the Silence to return to tie up the whole arc and to give them more screen time and to give the 12th Doctor a clean slate so not to be continuing the troubles of the 11th Doctor. I think that the Silence would make perfect villains for a Christmas special because they are so creepy, and it gives Moffat the opportunity for a brilliant title of Silent Night.
Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant both went out differently. The 9th Doctor went out with Rose by his side and a big smile on his face and a great last line “before I go, I just want to tell you: you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And do you know what? So was I!” The way the 9th Doctor went out was a brilliant way to show has his Doctor has grown and changed over his brief time: from the angry war-torn soldier who ended the Time War, to the man who had seen the light and learned that violence isn’t always the answer thanks to Rose.
David Tennant went out a bit differently, and his exit has divided opinion a bit more, by revisiting his companions. I felt bad for 10 because he regenerated all alone, after all those friends he made, and lives he saved and changed, he “died” all alone and scared. His last line, “I don’t want to go” was good in my opinion because at that point a lot of people didn’t want him to go, so it was a good way to connect with the audience.
I think Smith will bow out in a similar vein to Eccleston, content and with a smile on his face; I wouldn’t be surprised if his last word is “Geronimo” to be honest.
So in conclusion, I will be very sad to see Matt Smith go; he has been a wonderful Doctor and one of the very best. I think that his final episode will either be a two-parter or a 60+ minute episode, and that he will go out a happier man than his 10th incarnation was. Please feel free to let me know how you feel the 11th Doctor will regenerate. Thanks for reading!