Archive for the ‘10th Doctor’ Category

Steven Moffat & David Tennant (2009)

October 1, 2010

Here’s a transcript of David Tennant interviewing Steven Moffat for ‘Doctor Who Confidential’:

Tennant: So, Steven Moffat, television writer of some repute, where did you grow up?

Moffat: I grew up in Paisley.

Tennant: Just down the road from myself.

Moffat: That’s right.

Tennant: So growing up in Paisley, how remote did television feel to you?

Moffat: Well it was more Hollywood than Hollywood. I mean, this place (BBC Television Centre) is more exciting to me, to this day.

Tennant: You grew up watching Doctor Who. What was your era?

Moffat: I remember Patrick Troughton being bewilderingly the Doctor, and being confused by that, and really from the start of Jon Pertwee I was watching every single episode devotedly.

Tennant: This is Studio 8. In this very studio, TC8, we had ‘The Sea Devils’ was in here, ‘Planet of the Spiders’ was in here.

Moffat: Jon Pertwee turned into Tom Baker somewhere in this room.

Tennant: Well, quite a few studios were used for ‘Planet of the Spiders’, but let’s just say he did.

Moffat: All those events happened in this very big, dull grey room. I don’t know about you, but I got interested in background stuff, how television was made, because of ‘Doctor Who’.

Tennant: Yeah.

Moffat: It wasn’t really background information about television I was researching, it was ‘How do they make Doctor Who?’.

Tennant: Here’s another studio, TC7. I think all the studios in Television Centre have been used at some point by ‘Doctor Who’. This is currently being used by ‘Newsnight’, but we’re going to invade. ‘Robot’ was filmed in here, this is where Tom Baker began. In fact, this might be the very studio where – I remember, very famously, there was a scene-shifters’ strike, wasn’t there, and ‘Blue Peter’ transmitted from the set.

Moffat: That’s right. I remember my Dad shouted ‘Doctor Who’s on’, I thought ‘That’s amazing, it’s Wednesday’ or whatever day it was, and I went running down and discovered it was just ‘Blue Peter’ and burst into tears.

Tennant: Oh.

Moffat: Sorry, ‘Blue Peter’, it just doesn’t measure up to ‘Doctor Who’.

Tennant: So what was it about ‘Doctor Who’ in particular that fired your little infant imagination?

Moffat: It was a children’s programme, it was also frightening, there was no other show like this. It works you hard as a writer, but I think if you’re prepared to work hard, it helps you.

Tennant: Russell (T. Davies) says that. He says it’s the hardest thing to write. Why is that?

Moffat: ‘Doctor Who’, you’ve got two minutes – if that – of the Doctor and companion in the TARDIS, they walk out the door and it’s a new world of some kind or other, a whole bunch of people you have to introduce and dispose of in one episode. It needs a big, strong idea every week. I think you know you’ve got a good idea for a ‘Doctor Who’ episode if you think ‘Well, I’ve just blown that feature film idea forever, haven’t I?’, that’s the size of story that gets you through forty-five minutes of ‘Doctor Who’.

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David Tennant, Russell T. Davies, Julie Gardner & Euros Lyn

December 12, 2009

Here’s a transcript of the July 2009 ComicCon panel in which David Tennant, Russell T. Davies, Julie Gardner and Euros Lyn discussed the show, with an emphasis on the then-upcoming End of Time finale for the Tenth Doctor.

Q: There have been a lot of rumours that there’s going to be an announcement about a Doctor Who movie. Is there any truth in that?

Julie Gardner: I’m going to start with the bad news. We’re not making any announcement about a Doctor Who movie. I don’t know where the rumours started. But it’s made us think, maybe it’d be a good thing to do at some point.

Q: Can you give us a sense of the cultural capital of the show in Britain, and the way it’s been treated – and the way it might not have been treated? Because here it’s something you go to a cable station for. In your country, it’s a Saturday night TV event.

David Tennant: Well it certainly was when we were all kids, as well, and it’s something that I grew up obsessed with, really. So it’s very strange to be sitting here, aged 38, in it. But yes, it’s part of the race memory in Britain, I think, and we all grew up with it.

Russell T. Davies: If you go to Britain, it’s Daleks in shops and people in T-shirts and people talking about it. They’re counting the Doctor Who references, and it’s at least four a day, in any show.

DT: It’s overwhelming. You go into a supermarket and your face is on a cake, and T-shirts, and childrens’ pants. Which isn’t something that they prepare you for at drama school. It’s difficult to get objective about, to feel how important it is for people, which is why it’s important to come here and show the trailer and get the response, because we love making the show so much.

Q: Euros and Julie, were you fans?

Euros Lyn: I was a huge fan. Watching the show in Wales, which is a quiet little¬† corner of the United Kingdom, little did I imagine that I’d be turning Swansea and Cardiff into the rest of the universe!

JG: I didn’t really watch the show, but when I was fortunate enough to take over, Russell gave me a homework list. It was Russell’s favourite episodes. City of Death, for me, the Tom Baker story, I just loved it, and from the moment of watching that story, I thought there was so much we could do with it. It’s so fun, it’s so mad.

Q: Is the new show a fulfilment of the original, or is it a left turn from the original?

DT: It’s the same show! And the story continues, absolutely. I’m playing the same man that William Hartnell was playing. I just have a slightly different wig.

Q: Did you try to incorporate other Doctors into your performance?

DT: Not very consciously, but having grown up immersed in the show, I think there are elements in there. But there’s a responsibility to make the character new. It’s not like James Bond or Tarzan, reborn in the same mould. It’s beholden on you to break the mould (with Doctor Who) and make this a new man.

Q: Euros, can you address how you craft different approaches to different stories? You directed two consecutive episodes that went from millions of years in the future to Victorian England. How do you approach that?

EL: I think we set out to give different stories different looks, and we always start with the script. That’s our guiding light. Taking the stories in those radically different directions demands that you treat them in different ways. And yet, the adventures, the excitement, the humour, we hope each of the stories have. There’s a huge breadth in what we do.

Q: How do you make a show that looks so different every week?

JG: We go over budget. Russell’s a great writer, so he comes to me at the beginning of each season and plans out a range of stories, and part of that is a practical discussion as well as a creative discussion. We discuss how many stunts we can have, how many special effects, and we balance it. You’ll often see that in a run of thirteen episodes, there’ll be a smaller episode which helps us then pay for the Christmas special. So we do little tricky things like that, we double back so that we have two units working at the same time. We work very hard, we call in a lot of favours and a lot of love.

Q: I get the impression that there’s an incredible amount of dedication and love involved. You all seem to love each other immensely. Can you talk about that?

DT: It’s true. There’s a lot of passion. I think a lot of that’s because people grew up loving it, and now they find themselves working on it. We manage to expand our budget because of the goodwill of people working on it, and we benefit greatly from that legacy, I think.

Q: Was there a moment when you realised that you were on to something that was bigger than you expected it to be?

RTD: I suppose, I think when the history of Doctor Who is written, people will talk about Julie Gardner. We had an ambition. It’s not a bad budget, within the BBC, a Dickensian organisation, labyrinthine… Believe it or not, Julie has to raise the money from scratch every year. It comes from different sources all the time, and it’s so complicated I can barely begin to follow it. I thought we’d have a great big one year, then we’d collapse and be taken off the screen!

JG: Russell always thought big. From the moment it started, he was talking about the stories, about the big production team, and things like ‘We’re going to have blockbuster trailers’, and that was the key word, blockbuster. We were thinking about Saturday primetime, about how to make it mainstream.

RTD: We never, ever dreamt we’d be successful. I mean, this is gobsmacking.

Q: David, there’s a rumour that the reason you wear a brown coat in the show is that you’re a fan of Firefly.

DT: Well I’ve never heard that one before! There’s a new rumour every day at ComicCon. Apparently I’m playing the Hobbit! I love Firefly, I love Serenity, they’re excellent. That wasn’t the inspiration for the coat, if I’m honest. Russell and Julie will tell you that when I was first asked if I wanted to do it, the first thing I said was ‘Can I have a really long coat?’, so it was just as basic as that.

Q: If you could be any other Doctor, who would you choose to be?

DT: Splendid chaps, all of them. I think that’s the traditional answer to that question.

Q: What was the best part of working on Doctor Who?

DT: We get asked this all the time, and it genuinely feels wrong to choose, because each episode is such an individual thing, so unique, with a different cast and a different set-up, and a wonderful script each time, it just feels wrong to choose. For me, it’s been the most wonderful four years I’ll probably ever experience. I’ll take away so many wonderful memories. And that’s before I’ve even seen the final episode.

Q: They say you never forget your first Doctor. Who was your first Doctor? And give us some advice, how did you deal with the trauma of him being replaced, of him regenerating? Because that’s what we’re all going to go through.

RTD: I can actually remember William Hartnell changing into Patrick Troughton. I was just at the right age for Tom Baker, because I was eleven. We all love Tom Baker! But the change coming up is quite traumatic. When we showed the last episode to Murray Gold, our composer, about two days ago… Euros, over to you.

EL: We’d been music-spotting the last story, and we’d reached the last twenty minutes of the final episode, and Murray starts shaking and sobbing uncontrollably, which I think is what you’re all going to do when you see this episode. It’s overwhelming, get your tissues ready.

RTD: He will knock four times. That’s all we’re going to say. (laughs)

JG: There was a lot of crying when we shot the episodes. The crew were really, really moved by it. And there were so many goodbyes. Every day, you said goodbye to someone. It was weeks of goodbyes.

DT: I grew up with Tom Baker. I was obsessed with him and idolised him, and I couldn’t conceive of what it would be like when he moved on. And I never forgot him and I never stopped loving him, but then Peter Davison came along and within three weeks I thought he was the best, so I think it’s part of what makes this show go on forever, you know, that hopefully you’ll watch the final episodes, you’ll come on the journey with us, and then in a few weeks you’ll think Matt Smith’s the greatest thing there’s ever been, and that’s how it should be. Because he is! I think change is part of the show, and I’m very very proud to be part of the history, but I’m also very proud that we’re handing it over in rude health. And that it carries on!

Q: We heard that John Barrowman has stolen some things from the set of Doctor Who. We were wondering, what have you stolen from the set?

JG: I think John Barrowman just stole things from the set so he could be strip-searched on the way out.

RTD: Actually, funnily enough, something did go missing, because one of the Doctor’s jackets has gone. Someone took one of his jackets!

DT: There’s a sequence in one of the final episodes – am I giving too much away? – where one of the jackets gets slightly… compromised. And we were doing the before and after, we were swapping between the two jackets, it was the very last day, the very last thing we did. And in all the hoo-ha of the goodbyes, Barbara Harrington, who looks after my costumes with a passionate indefatigability, turned around and nearly had a heart attack because one of the jackets had disappeared! So eBay is being scoured. But it wasn’t me!

Q: David, is there any possibility that you’d come back for charity specials, or even a movie?

DT: Who knows? I mean, the dust has to settle, but… I don’t know, it’s the fiftieth anniversary in 2013, isn’t it? I don’t know. That’s not me making an announcement! There’s no plans! Don’t Twitter that! It’s not a thing. Yet.

Q: Do you all have a favourite assistant? Not an actress, but an assistant.

DT: Again, can you imagine if we… I have to say the one thing I leave the show with a slight sadness about is that I didn’t get to snog Bernard Cribbins. Or am I just winding you up? You haven’t seen the episode yet…

Q: I was just about to say, would you ever return as the other Doctor? The one who’s with Rose?

DT: There are no plans. Anything can happen.

Q: What was it like working with Nicholas Courtney in the Big Finish audio UNIT stories?

DT: Oh, yes, Nicholas Courtney. A legend. For anyone who’s not up to speed, I did a couple of audio stories with Nicholas Courtney long before I was in Doctor Who on television, and I was in awe, to be honest with you. He’s the nicest man you could hope to meet, and I just sort of sat there looking in awe at him, thinking ‘It’s the Brigadier!’, so I’m a huge fan of his, and what a wonderful man he is. Brilliant.

Q: I know you don’t want to pick favourites in Doctor Who, but as a fan, what was something that was really exciting for you? Either in the show, or other shows.

DT: (smiles) I’ll tell you what it was. When I first started, the read-through, we read three episodes, we read The Christmas Invasion, School Reunion and New Earth all at once. Terrifying. It seemed that everyone who had ever worked for the BBC turned up for that interview and sat there taking notes. I spent the first hour thinking ‘Clearly I’m going to be sacked any minute’. I kept thinking I caught Jimmy Nesbitt out of the corner of my eye, or Michael Sheen having a cup of coffee, the replacements lining up… So we read them, I think we read them out of order, we read ‘The Christmas Invasion’ first, then ‘School Reunion’, then ‘New Earth’, and halfway through, this voice from my childhood was calling me ‘Doctor’. Being called the Doctor by Sarah Jane, that was quite special.

JG: Can we do a quick plug at this point? Because David’s Doctor is coming up in an episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures.

RTD: And this is new: that episode is called The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith.

Q: David, how much fun was it to do the lap on Top Gear, and do you think you’ll always hold the title of the fastest Doctor on four wheels?

DT: It was fun. But. It’s forever blighted by the fact that I’m 0.2 of a second on that leaderboard behind Billie Piper, and the only reason I’m behind Billie Piper – who got a five second penalty – is that she was wearing a see-through top, so Jeremy Clarkson bumped her up the leaderboard. And if Billie Piper didn’t have such good breasts, I’d be higher up the leaderboard.

Q: I was lucky enough to see you on stage in Stratford-upon-Avon. I believe the recording is coming out on the BBC. As an alumnus of the Royal Shakespeare Company, has you experience in an Elizabethan role affected the way you approach playing the Doctor, and if so, in what ways?

JG: Well David, you did of course meet Shakespeare in an episode of Doctor Who. And I’m sure that informated your interpretation going on to Hamlet!

DT: I think it’s hard to know what kind of actor you are, and if I’d done different things prior to doing Doctor Who, would I have done it any differently? It’s difficult to be objective about it. I mean, there’s a great tradition of great Shakesperean actors playing the Doctor. Chris did Hamlet shortly before he did Doctor Who, I think. Tom Baker was a very fine Macbeth, Sylvester McCoy’s just played the Fool in Lear. I don’t know, maybe that’s just because we’re all hoary old luvvies. I have no conclusion to make, but I’m going to think about it, I’ll get back to you on that.

Q: David, I was wondering what sort of roles we can expect to see you in over the next few years in film and television?

DT: I don’t think I’m in Harry Potter any more. I think I dropped dead. I got my soul sucked out or something. Well apparently I’m playing the Hobbit! I haven’t had a phone call yet! I’ve no idea. I’m doing a film at the moment, playing a villain, in St. Trinians 2. Hamlet’s coming out. And beyond that, who knows? I think James Bond’s taken. He’s very good, and he’s very tough. He can take me.

Q: Prior to the new series, it was hard to find Americans who even knew what Doctor Who was. Were you surprised by the explosion in popularity in America when the new series came out?

JG: I think we’re still struggling to work out how big it is. I mean, Russell and David, you’ve done a lot of press in the last couple of days, how has it felt to you?

DT: Well, we went on Good Morning San Diego this morning. Is that what it was called? Something like that. We were met by a man in a T-shirt, with a TARDIS on the front. I don’t know, it’s hard to quantify it. It seems that the people who know it in America, really know it.

RTD: You get told it’s unknown here, but then you open up Entertainment Weekly and it’s show of the week.So it’s hard to tell.

DT: It feels like something is coming. It feels like we’re reaching America now. They’re going to show the episodes much more closely now. So yeah, I think we’re coming, but keep prosletysing!

Q: Russell, I know you’re leaving Doctor Who, but I was wondering if you have any future plans for Torchwood?

RTD: I hope so. We were astonished by the success of that last series, so I really really hope so. I can’t give you an answer, because we’re having meetings at the moment. We’re in the middle of a recession, but we really hope so. But maybe the ones you want won’t be back. If you’re dead, you’re dead.

Q: Mr. Davies, why did you cast Captain Jack as an American?

RTD: We really singled John out for that part, but we didn’t say it had to be American, we knew he can do a Scottish accent, and he can do an English accent, so he came in, we were really targeting him, he did it in an American accent, in a Scottish accent, in an English accent – we taped it, we should have kept it – and in the end it made it feel bigger to have an American accent, he would have done whatever we wanted. But we went with the American accent. It was World War Two when he was introduced, you had the American soldiers in Britain, it just felt right. Little knowing then, of course, that Captain Jack would then have his own show, Torchwood. And of course, having an American in the lead of a British show is very rare. They say not to do it, that we want British people in British parts, and John proved them all wrong because that’s how marvellous he is! Don’t tell him I said that.

Q: Is the difference between each Doctor more based on the actor’s perspective, or is it in the writing? Do you write each Doctor differently, or is it just played differently?

RTD: I don’t think I write them very differently, I think if you looked at a ninth Doctor script and a tenth Doctor script, the Doctor’s doing more or less the same thing. There are differences, but in a way, in some ways, when I’m writing I don’t even think of David. It’s been a joy, when you cast someone like David, Chris, Billie, Freema, Catherine… cast well, and your imagination goes to the horizon. So that’s been a great joy, the freedom to go anywhere, because the cast is so good.

Q: Is there any chance that River Song might come back?

DT: It’s not on our watch any more.

RTD: I think if you go online and do a little search for River Song, you might be very happy. Apparently.

Q: I was wondering if you could comment on the rumoured return of Gallifrey and the Time Lords, and would you consider coming to Gallifrey One?

RTD: Rumours… I don’t know what you mean. I will tell you, in the trailer you saw earlier, the voice at the beginning was Timothy Dalton. I really don’t know what you mean, you’ll just have to watch. And I’m sure one day we’ll get invited to conventions, when we have the time.

DT: John Simm’s coming back though, eh?

RTD: And Alexandra Moen as Lucy Saxon. She’s back.

Q: David, do you have any words of wisdom for Matt Smith about how much impact the role of the Doctor’s going to have on his personal life?

DT: I’ve chatted to Matt a couple of times, and he’s very enthused and full of energy, he’s quite clearly going to be brilliant, which is annoying – no it isn’t! No, it’s brilliant that Matt is doing it. There’s nobody in Britain who’s worked with Matt who doesn’t praise him. I don’t think he needs any advice from me. I mean, Doctor Who’s a big thing in Britain, it’s populist in a way that few shows are, so you do get a certain amount of attention, some of which is very nice and some of which is a little on the intrusive side. But he’ll cope, because he’s bright, he’s down to Earth, he doesn’t need any advice from me.

Q: David, in the episode where you play a teacher for the school, and you’re trying to defeat these kind of dinosaur creatures, if you were a real teacher, what would you teach and why?

DT: You save the hard ones for last, don’t you? I have absolutely no idea. The only subject I was really good at, at school was English, and my set texts would be anything by Russell T. Davies.

David Tennant (2007)

August 18, 2009

Here’s a transcript of David Tennant talking to MSN in 2007, promoting the launch of series three of the revived ‘Doctor Who’. Perhaps most notable for him claiming not to have a favourite villain, then talking for quite some time about the Zygons.

Q: How has ‘Doctor Who’ changed your life? Your character’s just been voted the coolest person on TV?

A: Has it?

Q: Jack Bauer from ’24’ came second.

A: I had no idea that I’d been voted the coolest person on TV, that’s slightly overwhelming. I don’t know what to say about that… hang on, what about Ricky Gervais and cool people like that?

Q: I think it’s coolest character.

A: Oh I see, now you’re changing the goalposts. Obviously he’s the coolest character. It’s huge, this show, and the amount of attention it gets and the amount of coverage it gets can be overwhelming, so I suppose in that sense it’s changed my life. There’s not a day goes by that ‘Doctor Who’ isn’t mentioned, even when you’re not working on the show it’s still a huge part of your life. And that’s great! But it’s unlike anything I’ve done before, and it’s probably unlike anythng I’ll ever do again, just the level of attention and the level of enthusiasm that people have for it, it’s very humbling to be in the midst of all that.

Q: Another poll recently voted you the best Dr. Who ever, who do you think is the best ever? You can say yourself.

A: Myself. (laughs) I can’t say anything else, even if I don’t believe that I can’t start having favourites!

Q: So you think you’re the best Doctor?

A: Well of course I don’t, but I’m not going to start singling anyone else out!

Q: Tom Baker was your favourite growing up, wasn’t he?

A: Tom Baker was the first one I saw, and there’s something about this show that if it grabs you and makes you a fan, there’s something about the first experience you had of it that sort of imprints on you.

Q: And is it true that you had a Tom Baker doll as a child?

A: I’ve still got it somewhere! I’ve lost his sonic screwdriver, I think he came with a sonic screwdriver but I lost that twenty years ago. But I’ve still got that somewhere. I had a Dalek too, but I never had the Leela doll because it looked a bit like a doll, a bit like a Cindy, I could never bring myself to get a Leela doll because it felt just a bit wrong. But one of the great things about the show now is that the toys are so good! I know that if I was a kid now I’d be loving it! When I was a kid I had the ‘Star Wars’ figures, and now it’s us, with a TARDIS playset. It’s a world of plastic joy.

Q: Do you have a toy yourself, at home?

A: I do! It’s very odd to be presented with a little plastic replice of yourself, it’s very hard not to get it out and put it on the mantlepiece… not that I’m saying that’s what I’ve done, obviously…

Q: What was your favourite ‘Doctor Who’ baddie when you were a boy?

A: I didn’t have a favourite particularly, I liked the fact that each week, each story there was something new, and I think that was my favourite bit, and I wanted it to be more horrific and more grizzly than the one before. So I don’t think I had a particular favourite, I liked the grizzly ones, the really weird-looking ones… the Zygons, the Sontarans. I mean, there were some really brilliant designs, the Zygons are case in point, they managed to make it not look like a human being, they had these huge coned heads and they made the faces small and scrunched up, and they did things. I mean, I was talking to Neil Gorton who does the prosthetics on our show, who designed a lot of our monsters, and he was saying that were we to do the Zygons again there’s not much to do, it’s a perfect bit of design. The technology of these things was a lot more primitive then, just because it was thirty years ago, and you couldn’t really better what they came up with, and I think that’s a testament to the talent of the people who are making the show now, and were making the show then.

Q: As an actor, how do you feel about the fact that you’re instantly compared to every other Doctor from the past?

A: Well it’s interesting, I mean comparisons are odious but completely inevitable and you have to accept that, you know when you take the job on that that’s going to be part of it. It’s okay, I’m proud to be part of that line, there are some great actors in that line-up.

Q: Did it make you nervous, because it is your first career-defining role.

A: Is it?

Q: It’s the first prime-time series that everyone remembers?

A: Yeah, I mean the first line of the obituary has probably been written, hasn’t it? And second, third and fourth, and the big picture that goes next to it. Well, I say big, who knows? The tiny little footnote will have a ‘Doctor Who’ theme.

Q: Would you have liked to play the Doctor as a Scot?

A: It’s funny, it never occurred to me, the whole accent thing. I’d just worked with Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner, our executive producer, on a show called ‘Casanova’, and they kind of said ‘The voice you used in that is what we’re thinkg of’, and I said ‘Fine’ because that’s what you do as an actor. And then suddenly people ask you the question like it’s some big political decision, and it’s really not. It’s just what actors do, it’s part of the job, isn’t it? I don’t know, I could have done it with a Scottish accent, but I didn’t.

Q: Why do you think the series has taken off now, in the last few years?

A: Well there’s a couple of reasons. One is, it’s a brilliant idea and it’s an ever-malleable format. It just works. Even when it’s not been on TV, it’s existed. It’s still talked about, it just catched something in the public imagination. Obviously it just does, or it wouldn’t have been going since 1963. Add to that Russell T. Davies, as our executive producer, who just gets it, who knows what the show needs to be and who knows what works on television, and he’s supported by an incredible team of very creative and brilliant people in every department, so it’s a meeting of all those facts and for the time being it’s very popular, and that’s great.

Q: Do you think it’s restored confidence in the family drama on Saturday evening?

A: Well people say that, don’t they? I don’t know. Is it the slot, is it the show? ‘Robin Hood’s done very well, ‘Primeval’s done very well, maybe they wouldn’t have happened without ‘Doctor Who’, but maybe they would, I don’t know. These are probably things that have to be decided ten years down the line, when we can be more objective about it.

Q: And will you be watching on a Saturday evening?

A: I don’t know, it’s a funny one, usually you get to see the episodes before they transmit, sometimes a few weeks before, sometimes days before, as the series goes on the post-production timetable gets squeezed tighter and tighter, I remember last year we got episode thirteen the day before it transmitted. But if I’m around I’ll watch them when they go out, probably, or I’ll have them on, pretend I don’t care.

Q: What other TV programmes do you enjoy watching?

A: I love ‘Life on Mars’, I’m fascinated to see what happens at the end of that. I got invited to a special screening of the final episode and I can’t go, I’m furious! I love that show, it’s a great idea. ‘The West Wing’ also, that’s now finished but I’ve got it on DVD and I’m slowly, I’m rationing myself, I’ve got four episodes to go and it’s unbearable, the thought that it might finish. I don’t think there’s anything else I’m following religiously at the moment, but I’ve not had a lot of time recently because I’ve been filming.

Q: Which of your contemporaries do you admire?

A: Well that’s a hard question because immediately I’ll forget someone, won’t I? I’m loving all the guys on ‘Life on Mars’, er… it’s very difficult to start plucking people out of the TV firmament, isn’t it? There are a lot of good actors and writers around in British television right now. That’s often denied, but I think it’s the case. Particularly at the moment, and there’s always great stuff in the theatre in London and around the country.

Q: Tell us about auditioning with Freema, it was quite top secret, wasn’t it?

A: Well it was more for her. I was on the inside, but it was exciting to think of the process for her. I’d met her, she did a part in the last series of ‘Doctor Who’ (series 2) so I knew Freema, not particularly well but we’d worked together for a couple of days and she’d been great, and then the powers-that-be indicated that they wanted to audition her for Martha. But of course it was all top secret. I think she did two auditions where she was told she was auditioning for ‘Torchwood’, but at her final audition she was finally told ‘Actually, you’re auditioning for ‘Doctor Who” and we had to do a screentest – that makes it sound terribly posh, it was in our producer’s flat in Cardiff, again it was all top secret, with a little video camera on a tripod and we sat on Phil’s sofa and did a scene from… ‘The Impossible Planet’, one of last year’s scripts, and it was around the time that Billie and I were filming the actual scene, very odd, slightly surreal, but it was exciting because the cloak and dagger can be a bit exhausing but it’s fun. There’s a lot of cloak and dagger on this show, we try to keep it in but it all leaks out, we all lie valiantly but, you know… the good thing is that there are as many erroneous stories printed about the show as true scoops, so we can hide behind those and pretend it’s all nonsense.

Q: How does the Doctor’s relationship with Martha differ to his relationship with Rose?

A: Well it starts from a slightly different place, I suppose, the Doctor is still slightly in mourning for Rose and thinks he doesn’t need a companion. I think he’s had a bit of a wake-up call with Donna in ‘The Runaway Bride’, when he sort of got a bit carried away and she stopped him from torturing the Racnoss to extinction. So he’s in a slightly dark place when he meets Martha. I think when he met Rose he was looking for a friend, he was looking for someone to share time and space with. Although he is in that position when he meets Martha, he doesn’t think he is, so it’s up to her to make herself indispensible, which she does. She’s a little bit older, she’s a little bit more front-foot in saying how she feels to the Doctor, which of course freaks him out completely, him being this a-sexual being he doesn’t quite get it when she talks about how he looks in his suit, things like that really don’t compute with the Doctor. And as you’ll see, he keeps threatening to drop her off. He’s guarded with her, but I think Martha knows what he needs more than he does.

Q: You’ve kept in touch with Billie Piper, haven’t you? You went and saw her in her play, was it odd seeing Rose not playing Rose?

A: Not at all, because she’s an actor, that’s what she does, and Billie’s a consummate actor. It’s great seeing her doing anything, although I haven’t seen ‘Mansfield Park’ yet, I’ve got it on tape and I’ve still got to watch it, but everyone says she’s brilliant in it.

Q: Did you miss having her on set this time round?

A: Well again that’s what acting is. I think maybe from the outside it seems odder than it is, as an actor you don’t expect to work with the same people all the time anyway, it’s a novelty when it happens. I missed having that friend around, but then Freema arrives and you make new friends, it what happens, it’s how the show works.

Q: Tom Baker’s outfit recently sold for ¬£23,600…

A: You know I think the truth is he never wore it… I mean he did wear it, I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, but not on screen, I think it was a sort of public appearance outfit or something, and it still sold for that. Madness, isn’t it? If I’ve got scripts and things, they’re quite nice things to give for charity auctions and things like that… I’m not at the stage yet where I’m selling anything purely for my own gain, but I’m sure that day will come, as a pension.

Q: Do you have any plans for a robotic sidekick like K9?

A: Well we had a bit of K9, he came and visited. There’s no immediate plans for that, I don’t think, certainly not in series three, no. Do you think that’d be a good idea?

Q: Yes, there are a lot of fans on the website.

A: Really? What kind?

Q: Just saying having K9 back.

A: Well you’d have to speak to the creators of K9. I don’t think they’re very keen on the idea. I probably shouldn’t have said that, but it’s true.

Q: When you hand over to a new Dr. Who, how would you like to die?

A: Valiantly.

Q: And if you could choose the actor who plays the next Doctor when you leave, who would you choose?

A: It’s going to be Wee Jimmy Crankie. In the traditional outfit. That’s how he’s chosen to play it, and Ian Crankie will take over as Martha Jones, they’re going to fall into a sort of regenerative thing. It’s good, you just get a glimpse of it at the end of episode thirteen.

Q: Russell T. Davies said he’ll leave the show when you leave –

A: Did he? When did he say that?

Q: This week. He said it’s break his heart.

A: Oh, he’s just too lazy to reinvent it again, that’s what he means. Can’t be arsed.

Q: Does that affect your decision, knowing that when you leave it’ll be the two of you?

A: I don’t know, because I don’t know if he really… he hasn’t said that to my face. Questions about leaving go with this show like wheels go with bicycles, literally from the moment I took over, and a boy could get a complex. I think it’s best not to talk about leaving, Tony Blair tried it, didn’t work for him.

Q: And what is the very best thing about playing the Doctor?

A: Probably getting to read the scripts first, getting to know what happens next first, because the writing’s so good and the stories are so genuinely exciting, so that is probably my favourite bit yet. Usually you get into your trailer and someone’s left a little buff envelope, and you think ‘Oh, that’s the next one!’.

Q: Is there any other role that could top this for you?

A: Well, funnily enough, what’s going to happen is I’m taking over from Wee Jimmy Crankie, because he’s got a lot of end of the pier panto stuff and I’m going to take over from that. It’s very iconic.

Q: How does it feel to become a legend yourself?

A: It feels slightly odd to join a line of people who in my head have become slightly iconic, you know, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, all the line of them, that feels like a major culturally iconic thing. It’s quite difficult to really appreciate that you’re part of that line, it’s very difficult to be objective about a thing like that, so I don’t know that I’ve quite got a handle on it. I don’t feel like a legend myself.

Q: Have you met any of the actors who’ve played the Doctor in the past?

A: Yeah, I’ve met Sylvester, Colin and Peter.

Q: Did they offer you any advice on how to play the role?

A: No. I think that would be rude. I would certainly never… I think you’ve got to allow somebody to find their own way, and make their own mistakes or not. They certainly didn’t propose to give me any advice, I didn’t ask for any. I met Tom Baker when I was tiny, and I met Chris, but a long time ago and not since this has been a thing for either of us, so it’d be nice to bump into Chris again and exchange notes, but he’s in America now I think. And I did meet Paul McGann, but again that was before this was a thing for either of us. That’s just about the whole set, isn’t it?

Q: When did you meet Tom Baker?

A: I was tiny, I was about eight and he was in Glasgow and he signed my book.

Q: Are you interested in writing or directing?

A: A bit. I’m quite interested in directing, but something like ‘Doctor Who’ is not something you can be in and direct, it’s too big, it’s got too many arms. You couldn’t be in the show and be doing that. When I think about directing, I think about directing theatre, because I understand how that works. With television there are still some bits that leave me slightly bewildered in the technical aspect of it. I’d like to at some point, but I don’t know when or how it could happen.

Q: Could you take ‘Doctor Who’ to the stage?

A: You could, and it’s been done before, but I think ‘Doctor Who’s a TV programme, that’s how it works, and I think if you took ‘Doctor Who’ to the stage it’d be a celebration of a TV programme, it wouldn’t be a theatre event in its own right… and that’s not a bad thing, it’s been done very successfully before.

Q: What have been your best and worst experience as an actor?

A: This interview is both. No, that side of it, the kind of bits where you have to be yourself, which are sometimes the most enjoybable, like I did ‘The Friday Night Project’ and that was such a laugh, but at the same time having to be yourself is excruciating, much more painful than watching yourself acting. The highs and lows are very extreme, in every aspect, when it works it’s a high like no other and when it doesn’t you really seriously think about suicide (laughs).

Q: If you weren’t an actor, what would you be doing?

A: I don’t know, and it worries me sometimes. If it all dried up… I lay awake at three in the morning sometimes…

Q: Before ‘Doctor Who’ you appeared in heavy dramas. Do you ever look at being in ‘Doctor Who’ as a bit of fun between heavy roles?

A: No, I don’t differentiate, and whether it’s a heavy drama or not is to do with how the piece objectively ends up being seen, and it’s the same job, really, whether it’s comedy, drama, family viewing at seven o’clock or heavy swearing on Channel 4 at ten o’clock.

Q: You played a bad guy in ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’, do you prefer playing baddies or goodies?

A: I don’t have a preference, really, it’s just if the part’s interesting. I suppose it has to be said that the bad guys are often more interesting than the good guys because you get to indulge part of your nature that hopefully gets subsumed most of the time. But I just like playing interesting characters, and variety’s the spice of that, as it is with life, I suppose.

Q: Finally, if you could ask any actor, dead or alive, to guest in ‘Doctor Who’, who would it be?

A: Audrey Hepburn, circa ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’.

Q: Why?

A: What do you mean why?

Q: Would she be playing that role?

A: No, she’d just be hanging out. Any part she wants, she can have.