Doctor Who: Steven Moffat says “all will be made clear” on Clara in series 7b

Steven Moffat has been chatting about the forthcoming episodes of Doctor Who, Diana Rigg, classic monsters, new companion Clara & more...

Yes, yes, we know what you’re going to say: the Doctor lies, Steven Moffat lies, and there isn’t a Father Christmas. Putting that to one side though, Moffat has promised that the mystery of “impossible” companion Clara will be uncovered over the next eight episodes of Doctor Who. He said it in public, in print, and on the world wide web, a place where no untruths or exaggerations exist. Ahem.

Moffat also said a number of other things in the course of a long-read interview with Collider. We’ve cherry-picked a few answers from the man himself, as the world gears up for the return of Doctor Who this Saturday.

On what Jenna-Louise Coleman brings to the series as Clara

What Jenna, in particular, brings is that she has a speed and wit and an unimpressed quality that makes the Doctor dance a bit harder, I suppose. He works a bit harder with Clara. Obviously, she’s secretly devoted to him, but she’s a little bit harder to impress. She’s tough, she’s fast and she’s hard to impress, which is exactly the way the Doctor, generally speaking, doesn’t like them, but of course, he’s absolutely devoted to Clara. That’s very much driven by Jenna’s particular style, which is very, very fast and snappy. She’s a beautiful girl, but there’s a real sense of toughness, and she’s someone who can be a real adversary, if she wants to be. 

Ad – content continues below

On how he decided on Clara as the next companion

You have to think that this is somebody who would fly away in that TARDIS, and that the Doctor would want to fly away in the TARDIS with. The Doctor is quite picky. He doesn’t like everybody. He’s a difficult man to deal with. It’s not just anybody that he actually forms a proper friendship with. And what sort of person would run through those blue doors? An awful lot of people would run the other direction, probably including me, to be honest. So, you have to imagine somebody who’s ready to say, “Yes!,” to running away with a clearly insane man who has a time machine. 

On whether Clara will remember her other incarnations in the new episodes

Well, I would know the answer to that question, and certainly wouldn’t give it to you. You will uncover the mystery of Clara, in the next eight episodes. All will be made clear, and you’ll get your answer that way.

On what can he tell us about new foes, the Spoonheads, in this weekend’s episode The Bells of St John

Not very much because you’re about to learn all about them on Saturday. Suffice it to say, Wi-Fi covers every civilized country, so if something got into the Wi-Fi, that would be a problem for us all. It’s a new way to invade us. Beyond that, the Spoonheads are for Saturday. 

Ad – content continues below

On how the Spoonheads compare to previous villains

Well, that’s not really for me to say. I don’t know. I never know which ones are going to be the big scares. But, The Bells of Saint John is an action roller coaster, whereas the Weeping Angels story and The Silence story were more consciously designed to be more scary adventures. But, it’s really not up to me. It’s up to the kids to say which ones give them nightmares. I’ll not pre-judge it. I think they’re quite creepy, and I think it’s a rollicking adventure ride. 

On how Dame Diana Rigg became involved with forthcoming episode The Crimson Horror

Mark Gatiss, who wrote that episode and who works on Sherlock with me, was appearing in a play with Diana Rigg’s daughter, Rachael Stirling, and he said to Rachael, “I think you and your mum should play the mother and daughter parts in this Doctor Who that I’m writing,” and they were up for it. So, it was all down to Mark and his little black book. 

On how Luther’s Neil Cross became involved with The Rings of Akhaten and Hide

Neil Cross is a writer that I knew of, but had never met. He’s done Luther and written some books. He’s a terrific writer. I’ve also read a script he’d written a few years ago. We never quite got it together when Caroline Skinner came onto the show. Neil Cross is an old friend of hers and she said, “I’m going to chase him and see if we can’t work the schedules out.” He’s a huge Doctor Who fan, but he did not have the time to write an episode. This time, he leapt at the chance to shove everything out of the way and do it. What I’m looking for, all the time – and this sounds terribly snobbish and awful – are showrunner-level writers who’d give their right arm to write a Doctor Who story, and it’s surprising how often we get that and how many of our writing team, if I can call them that, are showrunners themselves. It was a gift to us. Neil took to it like a duck to water, so it was brilliant. 

Ad – content continues below

On whether he’s tempted to repeat the purely historical episodes of Doctor Who

I don’t think it’s impossible, but I’m going to put my cards on the table and say that I didn’t think those historical adventures were very good. I didn’t like them. I thought they were dull. Insofar as I remember them as a kid, I couldn’t wait for them to be over, so we could get back to proper sci-fi. I’m just being honest. They weren’t my favourite. That doesn’t mean that we won’t come up with a story that is historical. But, I think they were discarded for a reason. Even before they were discarded, they were always regarded as the lesser element of the show. If you’ve got this glittering man in this extraordinary space-time machine, just having him visit the past isn’t enough. I don’t think it is. There has to be something as extraordinary as he is, otherwise it’s like Sherlock Holmes investigating crimes. It’s just not enough for our hero. 

On why the Doctor resists taking along companions when it’s good for him

Well, if you were told that the way to heal yourself, make yourself a better person and to function better was to permanently endanger another human being, you might be hesitant, too. He is aware that he causes damage to those people, or can cause damage, and he keeps them in terrible danger. He’s also aware that a relationship or friendship for him, like it or not, is postponed bereavement, and it’s not even postponed that long. He will outlive them. They will die and he will be roughly the same age. So, those two factors make him very, very hesitant about taking someone on board. There’s also the fact that he’s the Doctor. Can you imagine trying to tell the Doctor something, trying to put him right, trying to explain something to him and have him believe you? 

Read the full interview over at Collider, here.


Ad – content continues below