Steven Moffat on Peter Capaldi, Doctor Who, Russell T Davies

News Simon Brew 30 Sep 2013 - 07:22

Steven Moffat addresses the fact that Peter Capaldi has appeared in the Doctor Who universe before...

If you've got half an hour to spare, or you're stuck in the office and want to pretend to do some work while listening to something, you could do a lot worse then check out a new, relaxed half hour interview that Steven Moffat has done with Nerd Cubed.

Sat on a very stripey sofa, Moffat was quizzed about various elements of Doctor Who, and he eventually turns to the fact that incoming Doctor Peter Capaldi has turned up in the show before (in both The Fires Of Pompeii and Torchwood spin-off Children Of Earth). And as it turns out, there's a plan to deal with that, that might owe just a little to Russell T Davies.

"We are aware that Peter Capaldi’s played a part in Doctor Who before and we’re not going to ignore the fact", Moffat admitted. "I’ll let you in on this. I remember Russell told me he had a big old plan as to why there were two Peter Capaldis in the Who universe, one in Pompeii and one in Torchwood. When I cast Peter, [Russell] got in touch to say how pleased he was I said 'Okay, what was your theory and does it still work?' and he said 'Yes it does, here it is'. So I don’t know if we’ll get to it… we’ll play that one out over time. It’s actually quite neat".

Moffat continued: "The big fun question is, we know that the Doctor when he regenerates, the faces, it’s not set from birth, it’s not that he was always going to be one day Peter Capaldi. We know that’s the case because in The War Games he has a choice of face and all that. We know it’s not set so where does he get those faces from? They can’t just be randomly generated because they’ve got lines and they’ve aged. When he turns into Peter he’ll actually have lines on his face – sorry Peter – so where did that face come from?"

Interesting. You can see the full interview in the YouTube embed below...

Bleeding Cool.

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Well I know William Bradley will be happy to read this :-)

Never understood why this was an issue. Colin Baker played Maxil and then he was the Doctor. I guess if you want to have an in universe explanation, the Doctor unconsciously picks up appearances he likes and sometimes might end up using them later depending on the circumstances. More or less his doing by accident what Romana did on purpose.

Alternatively, you could just never mention it in universe, I'd bet you most people wouldn't have even realised it happened in the first place (There have actually been psychology experiments that have proven this sort of phenomenon).

I'd be happy if they ignored the issue, people have 'similar' (ok maybe not the exact same face :-)) all the time.
They addressed the issue of time lords choosing their appearance in Utopia, when as the Master was regenerating he said 'if the doctor can be young then so can I' so I'm interested in the theory even though it's not desperately needed

I don't see any harm in it explaining it one way or the other, hey they manage to explain Lalla Ward as Romana, albeit very vaguely and casually, but it was done. At the very least it'll shut up those wingers.

*Grabs popcorn, stands back and waits...*

Why do I get the feeling that at 21 minutes in the "brilliant writer" who pitched a Weeping Angels episode, before having to call back and say he is too busy at the moment, is Neil Gaiman?
Also it is very entertaining to watch Moffat in 'Doctor Who fanboy mode' rather than 'head-writer mode.'

Karen Gillan was in the same episode as Peter Capaldi, so why bother coming up with a theory for him? I don't remember them having to come up with something to explain what Amy Pond was doing as a priestess in Pompei. :P

That was my first thought too. It means I'm going to have to buy and watch
all of Torchwood now, for completion's sake. I started the first series when it was on television, and didn't get on with it. But I'll do it for Capaldi.

Right. It'll keep the doubters in the fold.
What's the betting that RTD's solution is the "genetic multiplicity" that came up when Eve Myles appeared in Journey's End?

Children Of Earth was brilliant. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Oh please... not another drawn out mystery that we'll be waiting forever for the explanation, and then end up totally unsatisfied and disappointed. You've done all that Steven. Move on. Don't **** up Capaldi's era with more of the same banality.

I mean if you think about it, two of the new series companions (Martha And Clara) were both on episodes before their time, and though they came up with a story for Clara they never explained Martha, she played a different character with a different name. So I mean it's not like it would really be anything new if they do or don't explain it.


So there is a theory! Good. I would hate this timey wimy wibbely wobbely in the continuity.

Yeah, they did explain that one.
Early on Martha told the Doctor that her cousin died in the Cybermen infiltration of Torchwood Tower. So Addy was Martha's cousin.
But there are many other cases of characters playing multiple roles.

The actress who played Gwen Cooper in Torchwood played a Scottish maid named Gwyneth in the werewolf episode with David Tennant's doctor. When the Doctor eventually meets Gwen Cooper (2 centuries later) he remarks while nodding to Billie (who also notices the resemblance) 'Odd question given you've got a Welsh accent...but you don't happen to have some Scottish ancestry do you?', to which Gwen nods enthusiastically.

Actually that was 9, not 10, and it wasn't the werewolf episode. It was the ghosts. It was the Unquiet Dead in the first series and they were in Victorian Cardiff so Gwen was Welsh.

Exactly. This is a pointless endeavour.

Nobody seemed too fussed about explaining how Michael Sheard was popping up as different people every two years or so. I know he wasn't regular cast but he was usually a fairly major player

If your determination should wane in the process, just watch Children of Earth with Peter. That will work fine and it's brilliant.

Don't forget that in the "The Fires of Pompeii" episode that also had Capaldi, Karen Gillan played a Soothsayer before she went on to become Amy Pond and this was never explained.

they did explain Freema having two roles, Martha briefly mentiones that her cousin worked and died at canary wharf.

Genetic multiplicity was because they were related. The genes were passed on.
Unless Caecilius was a Time Lord, there would be no chance of genetic multiplicity.

stephen moffat needs to step down and let someone else take charge.

The playing of two characters is nothing new. This all started in the William Hartnell days of Doctor Who. The 1st Doctor's companion Steven (played by Peter Purves) played an American tourist in 'The Chase' and, gets killed by the daleks. Peter then went on to play Steven in the final two episodes of the same story! No explanation as to how Steven had the same face as the American tourist. William Hartnell also played two parts as the Doctor and The Abbot of Amboise in 'The Massacre.' Similiary, Patrick Troughton as Salamander in The Enemy of the World. Tom Baker as an android in 'The Android Invasion' and as Meglos in 'Meglos.' Peter Davison as Omega in 'Arc of Infinity' and an android in The Caves of Androzani. Matt Smith also has played a replica Doctor in two stories. So why waste time coming up with a reason as to why the Doctor looks like somebody else!

No! Ignore the fact! You don't need to have a "RTD explanation" for every incoming actor who's appeared before. I just draws more attention to the fact that he was on the show, and it never should matter in the first place.

Yeah, that was just so out of place in the episode... Gwen didn't look a bit like the maid, and it was a bit part in a three season earlier one would have cared but they had to stick in a weird explanation of the whole thing. Almost as bad as the TomTom joke.

He's always in fanboy mode. That's his writing style; he throws in whatever satisfies his age old lust.

Watching Who involves a certain degree of suspension of disbelief (like any fictional show) I am fine with a space ship that has another dimension inside that is capable of space / time travel and looks like a police box I can live with the fact that Peter Capaldi was in a previous episode as a different character.

Well Clara was a different case because they had her story already all mapped out, but I see your point. "Run you clever boy, and remember." That line foreshadowed her character. Her appearance in Asylum was a surprise, though, to our knowledge she wasn't supposed to show until Christmas.

I got the impression he wasn't enjoying himself too much there.

Theory with spoilers: We know there's a possibility The Doctor has too little regeneration energy - 10th avoiding it with that cut-off hand trick, 11th giving some to River (Angels Take Manhattan) - also must say that if John Hurt is the 9th then Ecclestone's the 10th etc. - this means Capaldi's Dr is going to B the last one unless he gains a new cycle. Here's the theory - The Dr suffers a regeneration crisis and desperately looks for a face and body while wrapped in the regenetrive flames - he fixates on the Roman he saved long ago and...there you go...of course where the scots accent comes from is a mystery but wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey 4 the time being OK.

You need to step off the internet and let someone with a sensible opinion take your place.

By 'head-writer mode' I'm talking about the interviews where he loves to use hyperbole to describe the upcoming episodes: 'every dalek ever' 'The Doctor's name will be spoken' 'Biggest year for Doctor Who ever etc.' He is promoting the brand first, and being a fan second. In this interview he isn't trying to sell the show through hyperbole he is just answering questions like a fan, and it really comes across how much he loves the show...

LOL. making it personal now...perhaps it is you who needs to take a step back and not shoot down people who express their honest feelings about it just because it made you butthurt.

well, even without those seven vote ups my comment got, I know for sure I'm not the only person who feels this way.

Alex was only as personal about you as your comment was about Steven Moffat. Don't fling it if you can't take it!

Oh thank you for that Mr Spock, very good. NOT! wow what a load of sugary sweet bollocks.

No, no it wasn't personal toward Moffat at all, I meant that he's had the reins for 3 or so years now and it's been a continuing cycle of exciting great set ups at the start of a season, followed by a mediocre smattering of episodes written by other writers, then after that it's the disappointing finale which never makes any sense.

I'd like nothing better than for someone else to show up and usher in a new era again. But no, 2014 is going to be more of the same nonsensical hogwash, even though we'll be getting Capaldi as the Doctor.

Then don't watch it. Don't bitch about it in the comments.
Not exactly a fan, are you?

As far as actors playing multiple parts in DW......unless the show makes a direct reference to it, particularly in classic Who, the characters do not see this similarity.
Classic Who had many instances of supporting actors appearing many times in different roles. To the Doctor they did not look the same otherwise he would have been puzzled to meet Philip Madoc as four different characters. The Sixth Doctor would not see the similarity between his appearance and Maxil's and no one would see Bret Vyon and the Brigadier as being identical. The continuity game now requires every bit and bob to be reconciled. They should just leave it alone otherwise you just open a big can of worms. If one casting duplication is officially explained then they ALL have to be explained.

Agreed! 100%! With Everything you said!

You Sir, Are the best!

I agree with everything you said and i sign in just to show
my support. People cant make a reasonable argument then make up some vote up vote down theory is just pure pathetic. Especially when you are talking about the show but they are making it personally.
I think Moffat is a good writer, and he has his strength.
But sometimes you need better talent to give a different angle. I'm also tired of the some of the boring script. To be honest, it’s not DOCTOR level good.

They did explain Martha. She said her cousin worked for Torchwood 1, saying she was called Adeola. Which was the name of the scientist Freema played originally

non related issue and admittedly pretty stupid but does anybody else wonder what the pose peter capaldi is pulling is about in his first promo shot above, is he telling us a secret ?

what tomtom joke?

When the Doctor got to choose a face, that was just that one instance. It doesn't happen like that. What I believe happens is that there are a set number of ways that the Doctor can turn out looking like. But if the Doctor concentrates, as was shown with Romana, he can sort of pick what he wants to look like. Like Peter Capaldi, for instance. I think that he was fond of the guy from Pompeii and subconciously picked his face, or whatever makes him regenerate picked the face from his memory.

And the show it's self has shown what I've said to be partly true. Sometime in the future, perhaps when the Doctor is at the end of this second regeneration cycle, he changes himself back into looking like the 4th Doctor. Wether it's the 4th Doctor as an old man or the Doctor regenerates back to looking like the 4th Doctor when he was young. He chooses to look like the 4th Doctor either way.

Moffat really doesn't know how his own show works, does he ?

In "The Crimson Horror", Strax ask this small boy how to get to Sweetville. He replies as if he was a satnav.
And it turns out that the boy was called Thomas Thomas

Am I the only one that notices that Steven Moffat should have been wearing some shoes at least? or at least fully black socks? xD

Lest we forget Martha Jones was in Doctor Who as a kind of non-medical student Martha Jones before she was medical student Martha Jones.

So you mean Doctor's regeneration is like dreaming, when we met people during daytime, we might picture them in our brain so they might appear in our dream, when doctor regenerate, maybe Capaldi face popped up while Matt Smith was regenerating so he become Capaldi .

I agree. I feel he is much better at doing the one off episodes like during RTD's era. Stuff like Blink and The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances were great, but as a show runner I'm not very impressed. (sorry for the 4 month late reply, I just wanted to let you know you're not alone.)

Being a fan does not mean liking everything blindly. There is nothing wrong with expressing criticism.

yeah but that was a minor character in one episode. capaldi played an important character in torchwood s3.

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