Doctor Who Magazine 515Bookmark and Share

Saturday, 22 July 2017 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Doctor Who Magazine 515 (Credit: Panini)The next issue of Doctor Who Magazine takes a look back over the last several years of Doctor Who, as its outgoing head writer Steven Moffat leaves the show with this year's Christmas Special.

With his first contribution to the show in 2004, The Empty Child, did he expect to still be writing for the series some thirteen years later?
No, God, no!. God, no! I also didn’t think I’d do the showrunning job for more than three years, and I’m here after six series. Yes, I’ve been writing Doctor Who stories since 2004. That’s a hell of a long time. When I wrote The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, I wondered if I’d ever write another Doctor Who story. I was very keen to, I really wanted to. I remember asking, ‘Would you have me back next year...?’
What's next for the writer?
I’m looking forward to the idea of not having to automatically say no to everything else! Whether that’s writing jobs, or weekends away. I can write different things. I’m looking forward to that, hugely. But I am so glad it happened. I’d have been miserable if I’d never got to write Doctor Who! It’s been amazing. Of course it’s been amazing.

Also inside this issue:
  • PRODUCTION NOTES Steven Moffat writes his final column for DWM, and his last-ever Doctor Who words!
  • THE TOP 20! A look back at 20 amazing things about the Steven Moffat era of Doctor Who – plus tributes from Russell T Davies, Chris Chibnall, Mark Gatiss and many others...
  • THE EMPIRE OF MARK GATISS The concluding part of our all-encompassing interview with actor/writer Mark Gatiss!
  • THE PARLIAMENT OF FEAR There’s a brand-new adventure for the Doctor and Bill Potts in Part 1 of a new comic strip story, written by Scott Gray, with art by Staz Johnson.
  • RISE AND FALL Reviews of the 2017 series, and the season finale World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls.
  • TURNED UP TO ELEVEN The Fact of Fiction examines the Eleventh Doctor’s début adventure, 2010’s The Eleventh Hour!
  • REVIEWS The latest DVD and audio releases are put under the microscope.
  • COMING SOON Previews of all the latest Doctor Who CD and book releases.
  • PLUS! All the latest official news, the Watcher’s column, prize-winning competitions, the DWM crossword, the 2017 Season Survey – and much, much more!

Doctor Who Magazine issue 515 is on sale from Thursday 27 July.




Doctor Who at San Diego Comic-ConBookmark and Share

Monday, 10 July 2017 - Reported by Marcus

BBC America has announced their plans for Doctor Who this year's San Diego Comic-Con

The Doctor Who Panel will star Peter Capaldi who has just completed work on his Final Christmas Special and thus his work on Doctor Who.

Moderated by Chris Hardwick, the panel will give fans an exclusive sneak peek of The Doctors – the final special starring Peter Capaldi as the Doctor and written by lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat.

Six years ago, BBC America’s Doctor Who was part of the first-ever slate of TV shows to gather with fans in Hall H, when San Diego Comic-Con presented a TV line-up in the 6,500 plus seat venue on Sunday, July 24, 2011.

Returning to Hall H on Sunday, BBC America is bringing its most anticipated Doctor Who panel yet with award-winning star Peter Capaldi (the Doctor), Pearl Mackie (Bill), Matt Lucas (Nardole), Michelle Gomez (Missy), writer and actor Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) and showrunner Steven Moffat (Sherlock).

The panel takes place on Sunday, July 23, 2017 between 2:00-3:00pm




Steven Moffat to appear at the Hay FestivalBookmark and Share

Friday, 28 April 2017 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The BBC have announced that Steven Moffat will be appearing at this year's Hay Festival, which takes place in Wales between 25th May and 4th June. The writer will be there to talk the craft of writing, with reference to his work on Doctor Who and Sherlock, and will feature on a BBC Radio 4 Front Row special to be recorded on the final Sunday.

In addition, the writer of this year's episode Knock Knock, Mike Bartlett will also be appearing at the festival, talking about his television adaptation of his Olivier Award-winning play King Charles III, and the challenges of writing for different mediums.


Full details about events and guests can be read in the press release below.

The BBC and Hay Festival (25 May–4 June, 2017) today revealed plans for unparalleled coverage of this year’s event across television, radio and online with a plethora of star names in attendance including US senator Bernie Sanders, actor and writer Stephen Fry, Doctor Who and Sherlock producer and writer Steven Moffat, screenwriter Jimmy McGovern, playwright Mike Bartlett, comedian Simon Amstell and Radio 3 presenter Katie Derham.

Across TV and Radio, more than 25 BBC shows will be recorded on site – from BBC World News’ HARDtalk, Talking Books and Click to BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, Start the Week, and Broadcasting House, to BBC Radio 3, BBC Wales, and BBC Hereford and Worcester.

BBC World News’ HARDtalk will see special guest US senator Bernie Sanders interviewed by Stephen Sackur on stage; four sessions of its literary series Talking Books will be recorded with George Alagiah meeting Ahdaf Soueif and Elizabeth Strout, and Rebecca Jones in conversation with Tim Winton and Sebastian Barry; presenter Spencer Kelly showcases cutting-edge science in the flagship science and technology show Click; BBC World Service will record a special edition of The Arts Show; while Owen Sheers presents a special screening of BAFTA-nominated The Green Hollow, his film poem marking the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster.

Meanwhile, BBC Arts Digital launches coverage of the opening weekend with two days of live streaming, which Stephen Fry kicks off with his digital reformation sparking a debate about the internet that everyone can join, while selective events will be available throughout the week on BBC iPlayer.

Additional events in the BBC Tent – open for booking from today – will offer an inside look at the latest BBC dramas and documentaries, including tips from some of our leading screenwriters, documentary makers and show runners.

Jonty Claypole, Director of Arts, BBC, commented: “In the BBC Tent at Hay Festival, audiences get unfettered access to important artists and broadcasters, emerging and established, as well as a chance to go behind the curtain to see how their favourite programmes are made. Giving books, storytelling and ideas a platform to reach audiences everywhere is something the BBC has always been committed to, so we’re delighted to partner with Hay Festival on such a rich and comprehensive range of programming – both on-site and on-air.”

Peter Florence, Director of Hay Festival, said: “For 30 years Hay Festival has brought readers and writers together to share stories and ideas, to imagine the world. Today, our partnership with the BBC enables these conversations to be heard globally – whether from our fields in Wales, or the beaches of Cartagena de Indias - giving everyone, everywhere, front-row seats."

Other BBC programme highlights at Hay Festival 2017 include:

BBC Radio 4 will broadcast four of its flagship programmes from the festival: John Wilson presents Front Row live with Pulitzer prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout on Friday 26 May; Samira Ahmed records a Front Row special with show Doctor Who and Sherlock producer and writer Steven Moffat on Sunday 4 June; Broadcasting House is live on Sunday 28 May; Tom Sutcliffe presents Start the Week live on Monday 29 May with award-winning authors Colm Tóibín, Sebastian Barry, Meg Rosoff and psychologist Jan Kizilhan. Meanwhile, Hari Kunzru talks to James Naughtie and an audience of keen readers for Book Club and Four Thought will be recorded in front of a live audience for later broadcast.

Radio 3 will be broadcasting “a week at Hay” from Monday 29 May to Sunday 3 June, with programmes every day across its schedule coming from the Festival. In a Hay-clusive, Radio 3 will bring a distinctive blend of 'slow radio’ to Hay audiences with a four-hour-long immersive broadcast of a walk from the Black Mountains to Hay with music, poetry and moments of reflection from writer Horatio Clare. The Sound Walk will be broadcast on Monday 29 May from 2-6pm and audiences will be able to listen to the broadcast by collecting headphones from the BBC Tent.

Five other Radio 3 shows – The Essay, The Verb, Free Thinking, The Listening Service, and In Tune –will record editions in front of live Festival audiences Clemency Burton-Hill presents a series of Lunchtime Recitals from St Mary’s Church, featuring performances from Adam Walker, James Baillieu, Federico Colli, The Amatis Trio, and Quator Voce. Katie Derham talks about her twin passions: dance and music, and how she’s combining these in a new six-part series for BBC Radio 3 called Sound of Dance. Free Thinking, BBC Radio 3’s Arts and Ideas programme, brings together Costa Book of the Year winner Sebastian Barry and writers Jake Arnott and Madeleine Thien to discuss the art of the historical novel, and in a second programme discusses women’s voices in the classical world with Professor Paul Cartledge, Bettany Hughes and Colm Tóibín. The programmes are presented by Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers Sarah Dillon and Catherine Fletcher.

New BBC programming is showcased, with playwright and television screenwriter Mike Bartlett (Doctor Foster, Doctor Who) talking about his television adaptation of his Olivier Award-winning play King Charles III and the challenges of writing for different mediums; there will be a session with Jimmy McGovern about his new BBC One drama, Broken, starring Sean Bean, and the art of compelling characters in hard-hitting dramas; creators of Waking the Dead, Ian Burney and Barbara Machin, offer insights into what they’ve learnt about murder inquiries while making the show; comedian Simon Amstell presents his feature-length documentary for BBC iPlayer, Carnage; BBC Radio executive producer Sue Roberts and writer Dan Rebellato reveal the highs and lows of bringing Émile Zola’s award-winning Blood, Sex and Money to life as a radio drama; and award-winning film-maker Jill Nicholls discusses her films for the BBC’s flagship arts documentary series Imagine and the art of the literary documentary

BBC One writer and show producer Steven Moffat will be talking about Doctor Who, Sherlock, and the craft of writing, as he prepares to step down from his role as Doctor Who’s lead writer and executive producer later this year.

BBC Two film-makers Adam Low and Martin Rosenbaum talk about their documentary on Alan Bennett to Mark Bell, Head of Commissioning TV Arts BBC, revealing what it was like filming the nation’s best loved writer, with clips from the film, followed by its screening.

BBC Four film-makers offer insights into new series and films: professor of Digital Humanities at Newcastle University, Richard Clay, previews his major new arts series, Utopias; George Carey talks about his fascination with the interlocking worlds of spying and the British establishment and previews unseen footage of his upcoming documentary on Guy Burgess for BBC Four’s Storyville strand; medievalist historian Janina Ramirez offers insights from her new documentary, Julian of Norwich; Nick Willing talks about the challenges of making the documentary on his mother’s life, Paula Rego: Secrets & Stories; and Owen Sheers presents a special screening of BAFTA-nominated The Green Hollow, his film poem commissioned to mark the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster, followed by a Q&A.

Owen says: “I’m thrilled to be screening The Green Hollow at the Hay Festival. The film was both one of the hardest and most important projects I’ve ever worked on. The aspiration was to create a choral poem in the voice of Aberfan and I hope we’ve gone some way towards achieving that. The generosity and understanding with which the community shared their stories of the disaster and the aftermath was humbling, and the rendering of those voices by the cast and crew deserves to be seen again. Television can be the most ephemeral of mediums, so I’m hugely grateful to the BBC for making it possible for this film to be experienced again and especially pleased that the screening is happening at Hay. Growing up in the area, the Festival was a vital source of inspiration and knowledge for me so it has, I’ve no doubt, played a significant role in my being able to write this piece in the manner I did.”

Renowned surgeon David Nott delivers the sixth annual Patrick Hannan Lecture dedicated to the late BBC Wales broadcaster; BBC Radio Wales will record four shows live on site – Jamie Owen, Eleri Sion, The Arts Show, and The Leak; while BBC Hereford & Worcester presents a series of BBC Introducing sessions offering a taste of the best new music from the region.

Audiences will be offered insights into the creative process as Alison Hindell, Head of Audio Drama for the BBC, discusses the art of the box set; presenter Paddy O’Connell talks about life inside Broadcasting House; and there’s a masterclass on how to get started in the media, featuring a discussion with researchers and producers from radio, television and online.

There’s poetry too, as Manchester-based collective Young Identity present a live set from some of the rising stars of the UK spoken-word scene, with performances by Isaiah Hull, Shirley May, Inna Voice and Chris Jam, plus a reading from novelist Desiree Reynolds.

CBBC's Katie Thistleton will explore the amazing world of children's books and record some special links to be broadcast on the channel as part of CBBC Book Club, which airs on CBBC every Sunday morning and afternoon.

The full Hay Festival programme is available to view online at hayfestival.org. Tickets are bookable online or through the box office on 01497 822 629.



BBC Arts

The BBC has an ongoing commitment to arts programming – “the greatest commitment to arts for a generation” as announced by the Director General in 2014. The BBC aims to provide the broadest range and depth of music and arts programmes across television, radio and online. It creates non-commercial partnerships with the arts sector that go beyond broadcast, from sharing expertise to encouraging cross collaboration and creation in order to widen public engagement in UK arts. It aims to provide context through original, fresh discussion and perspectives and is the biggest investor and creator of original arts and music programming. In 2017 Tony Hall BBC Director General, announced Culture UK, a new approach to collaboration, commissioning and creativity in partnership with Arts Council England, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Arts Council of Wales, the British Council and Creative Scotland. The initiative will develop UK-wide cultural festivals that can reach new audiences, support artist-led commissioning in broadcast and digital media and onvene an R&D programme that will focus on new experiences in performance, live events and exhibitions. http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts.


About Hay Festival 2017

The 30th Hay Festival (25 May–4 June), presents an inspiring programme of conversations and performances in Hay-on-Wye over the summer half-term. The line-up of speakers also includes Peter Singer, Neil Gaiman, Elif Shafak, Nemat Shafik, Tracey Emin, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, Brian May, Graham Norton, Eddie Izzard, Jeanette Winterson, Howard Jacobson, Yanis Varoufakis, Paul Beatty, Carlo Rovelli, Jacqueline Wilson, Judith Kerr and Chris Riddell, who converge for a party of ideas and stories in 800 events.

The biggest ever HAYDAYS programme gives young readers the opportunity to meet their heroes and enjoy a feast of activities, while great comedy, music, and The Sound of the Baskervilles, a new late-night club venue, continue celebrations into the night.

The Festival is free to enter, with ticketed events in 10 tented venues, plus a range of exciting sites to explore, including the Festival Bookshop, the HAYDAYS courtyard, arts and crafts in the MAKE and TAKE TENT and the SCRIBBLERS HUT; there are drop-in workshops in the MESS TENT, and market stalls, cafés, and restaurants.

The Festival also runs a wide programme of education work supporting the next generation of writers and culturally hungry audiences of all ages – Hay Festival Wales opens with two days of free programming for schools; the Beacons Project gives students aged 16–18 the chance to learn from internationally acclaimed writers; students in tertiary education get free tickets; and COMPASS is a special space on site to learn and discover, with free access to inspiring speakers.

Founded in 1987 around a kitchen table in Wales, the non-profit organisation brings readers and writers together to share stories and ideas in sustainable events around the world – over the past 30 years there have been 120 Festivals globally.




Doctor Who: BBC Press PackBookmark and Share

Saturday, 8 April 2017 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The BBC have released interviews with Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas and Steven Moffat as part of the press pack for the new series of Doctor Who, starting next Saturday on BBC One.

The Doctor, as played by Peter Capaldi (Credit: BBC/Des Willie)What is it like working with Pearl?

It was great meeting Pearl - she brought a whole new vigour and excitement to the role of The Doctor’s companion. She’s not that different to older companions in the sense that she’s a character that doesn’t know anything about the Doctor’s life or about the TARDIS or about Daleks or anything like that so she has to be introduced completely to what goes on in his existence and that’s been a good way of rebooting the show. It allows people who aren’t experienced in Doctor Who to experience it for the first time.

Is it great to be back and saying all the iconic lines once more?

I think there’s loads of classic lines that are fun to say and I love saying “Time and Relative Dimensions in Space” and “Bigger on the inside” and “They come from Skaro and will exterminate you”. I think you’re never too old to enjoy saying "TARDIS" although it’s better to say: “This is my TARDIS!” I think they’re part of the fabric of the country - they’re in British popular culture which is nice but they will go on and on.

What have we got to look forward to in series 10?

The show is down to the basic elements which are these fairly innocent but independent companions travelling with this mysterious creature from outer space who can travel in space and time and take them to the most amazing corners of the universe where they meet terrible monsters who try to kill them. That’s at its very simplest level but obviously it’s more complex and there’s more to it than that but that’s pretty much what we do every week. Some seasons have been less like that but this season very much follows that model of delivering every week – the mysterious creature takes the companions to an exotic and dangerous place.

What do you need to be a good companion?

Well the companion (and Bill is a very good example of it) is sort of their own person. They tend to be characters who are fully formed and independent so I think to be a companion in Doctor Who you have to be your own person. It doesn’t really work if the companion is just an adjunct to The Doctor. There’s always got to be an element of conflict there, I think. Whether it be just: “Why didn’t you tell us you were taking us to this planet of flesh eating monsters?” or whatever - it always needs a little bit of grist in it.

Who is Bill Potts?

Bill comes in very much as a regular human being from the real world to whom all of this stuff is extraordinary. She knows nothing about it. But she’s a very clever, bright, funny girl. I think The Doctor is very taken with her as she’s one of those people who life hasn’t been great to and she didn’t deserve life not to be kind to her. She has enormous potential and I think the Doctor wants to help her reach that potential.

Can you describe the relationship between Bill and The Doctor?

I think initially he takes her under his wing in order to teach her - to literally improve her mind, but in quite a terrestrial way. Through that she becomes involved in his extra-terrestrial adventures and the expansion of her mind becomes quite extraordinary. It’s a kind of teacher-pupil relationship but it becomes more complex than that and I think ultimately The Doctor has to undergo some dramas by himself so I think he becomes slightly worried that he’s swept someone else up into his adventures without quite preparing them.

Tell us about Episode One

We will meet The Doctor’s new companion Bill - see her in the world she’s used to living in and then plucked out by The Doctor and taken on adventures. We’ll meet some old enemies along the way and some new ones including a new and strange monster and we get to see Nardole played by Matt Lucas who will be joining us on our travels.

Are you excited for Matt Lucas’ return in Series 10?

Matt plays quite a crucial part in the show this season. He’s not there all the time but he is there a lot of the time - I don’t want to give anything away really. He’s very funny - a great presence to have on set and very talented and has a strange alien quality about him with his pale skin and clear eyes.
Bill, as played by Pearl Mackie (Credit: BBC/Des Willie)What have we got to look forward to in series 10?

There’s a lot of excitement in store - new and exciting adventures, new monsters and some old monsters coming back. We’ve got a team that see the Doctor through new eyes. I think with series 10 it’s a great place to start if you’ve never watched Doctor Who because Bill is so new to the world of Doctor Who - you kind of see everything through her eyes. So as she learns about it, you can learn about it too which I think is very exciting. We’ve got some danger in there too - there are some pretty hairy moments but we’ve got some humour as well. I hope you enjoy it!

What is it like working with Peter?

The first time I met Peter was at the recall for this job in the hotel. I met Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin and Andy Pryor (casting director). Obviously I was reading with Peter. It was mental - obviously I was sworn to secrecy so I couldn’t tell anyone what I was doing or where I was going so I turned up to the hotel in a baggy T-Shirt, a pair of jeans and a pair of bright yellow trainers. We read the first scene (Peter and I) and we read it sitting down. It’s one of the first scenes in the first episode. For the next scene he said shall we stand up as we were going into the TARDIS. So I said "OK" but I’ve been taught for camera auditions you sit down and move your face as little as possible so standing up was new for me. But obviously it was in the TARDIS so Peter was running around pressing buttons and pulling levers that aren’t there and I didn’t know what was going on. But luckily Bill’s supposed to be doing that in the scene anyway so that worked in my favour!

What makes Doctor Who unique?

Well it’s been running for such a long time I think is one of Doctor Who’s unique selling points. One of the ways it succeeds in doing that is the whole regeneration of the Doctor and then bringing in new companions along the way. It’s a character you’re familiar with but then there are different interpretations of the character so it allows people to relate to the Doctor in different ways and relate to the different companions and everyone’s got their favourite ones - either the one they grew up with or the one they watched when they were older or that kind of thing. I think in a way what makes Doctor Who so different to all other shows is that it can be completely personal and everyone has their own personal relationship to it. I think that’s why it’s so successful and lasted so long.

Did you have an idea of the global impact of Doctor Who?

I had some idea that it was a big show. I didn’t know how many countries it was big in before I got the job. I knew it was shown in America, I didn’t know it was one of the widely watched shows on Christmas day in America. It’s massive and has such a massive global following. Even from Twitter I get messages from fans in languages I don’t even understand which is great but I wish I knew what they were saying! Going to New York was incredible; I’d never been to New York before. Going to Comic Con was amazing - there were people dressed up as me already. It’s super cool - I think the fans on this show are so dedicated to it, it’s amazing, I’ve had such a welcome so far. People dressing up as me and I haven’t even been on screen yet!

Who is Bill Potts?

Bill is cool - she’s quite young, doesn’t really know much about the world. She’s very real - she’s not had a very easy upbringing and whilst she doesn’t really let that affect her day-to-day life, it’s there under the surface - she can be quite defensive. She’s fun, she’s excited, she’s a bit geeky - she quite likes sci-fi stuff, she’s into space and that type of thing so when she does go on adventures with The Doctor and discovers aliens are real and that kind of stuff it blows her mind which is really cool.

Can you describe the relationship between Bill and The Doctor?

It’s quite interesting at the beginning - their relationship is very much tutor/student. It has an Educating Rita vibe about it at the beginning when they first meet each other. There’s a definite fascination for Bill in terms of the Doctor - she’s really interested in the way his mind works - he’s supposed to be doing a lecture on science and ends up talking about poetry and he says they’re the same thing. Clearly his mind works in a different way to anyone else she’s ever met which I think is really fascinating for her. One thing he likes about her is that she’s not scared about all the things she doesn’t know - she always wants to know more - she’s keen to get involved which is one of the things that draws him towards her.

Are you excited for Matt Lucas’ return in Series 10?

Matt’s brilliant - he’s a great guy to have around. He’s always upbeat - we both really like musicals so we spent a lot of episode one singing various musical theatre tunes at each other.

How do you deal with the physical side of working on Doctor Who?

I think yesterday I walked about 3km! I’ve done a lot of running - not as much as I thought, actually, but we haven’t filmed the whole series yet so there may be a lot more to come. But it’s cool I like the physical element of the role - I did quite a physical show before this so I think it stood me in good stead for running away from monsters.

How does Bill learn to deal with all the extraordinary things she sees when she’s with The Doctor on his adventures?

I think she jumps in and is happy to get involved. She asked a lot of questions - she’s very inquisitive and she’s very smart so she calls The Doctor out on a lot of things that he hasn’t necessarily had to answer for a while so I think that’s the way she navigates through things - by asking him what’s going on an assessing his answers and she says things how she sees them. She has an open and honest nature which is how I think she gets through.
Nardole, as played by Matt Lucas (Credit: BBC/Des Willie)Has Nardole changed now he's a regular traveller in this series with The Doctor? If so how?

I feel he has. He’s more textured, more three-dimensional. You couldn’t go through a whole series with him being as cartoonish as he was in The Husbands Of River Song. That episode was played for laughs because it was a Christmas Special. We get to learn more about him and why he’s there. He has a purpose.

What's his relationship like with The Doctor now?

They bicker. He works for The Doctor, but he’s never afraid to take him on either. He’s not shy in saying when he disagrees with something, and sometimes he’s just grumpy because he hasn’t had enough sleep. He definitely prefers the quieter life.

How does he feel when Bill joins them in the TARDIS this series?

As far as Nardole is concerned, the less drama, the better. So when a human comes on board he’s not exactly delighted. He doesn’t look up to humans either. He thinks they’re of little consequence (he’s right). I think Nardole wants to stay focused on the task he’s been given and doesn’t appreciate the distraction for The Doctor that Bill provides.

What's the dynamic like between the three?

As the series goes on, I think Bill and Nardole find they have more in common and challenge The Doctor more. Nardole grows to appreciate Bill and what she brings to the TARDIS. The Doctor has grown weary of Nardole but as the series goes on, I think he comes to appreciate what he has to offer.

What were your filming highlights this series? Were there any funny or bizarre moments on set?

Michelle Gomez makes me howl with laughter. Pearl can do any accent. Peter is a font of knowledge. And the crew are the best I’ve ever worked with. We’ve been together for ten months and we laugh a lot now. I think I drive everyone mad.

My silliest moment was in the TARDIS, in a scene with Peter and Pearl. I was in my own world and hadn’t realised that the camera was turning. Peter and Pearl are acting away and I’m just reclining on the dashboard, playing about with buttons and then I start just chatting with Pearl about what I was up to at the weekend. Meanwhile everyone else is cracking up.

Who are your favourite enemies/villains from this coming series? What was it like to film opposite them?

Not saying. My lips are sealed. Okay then Mondasian Cybermen.

Do you prefer going back in time or the futuristic adventures?

Most of my adventures have been in the future. I enjoyed episode ten when we went back to second century Aberdeen, though the Brecon Beacons in November is probably the coldest place I’ve ever filmed.
Steven Moffat on The Doctors Revisited: The Fifth Doctor (Credit: BBC America/Midnight Oil)What have we got to look forward to in series 10?

Series 10, sort of, begins the show again. The first episode is called, quite mischievously, The Pilot - it introduces everything you need to know about Doctor Who and tips you into the universe. It takes our characters; The Doctor and Nardole (who we already know) and Bill (who we’re about to meet) and throws them into the Universe. They’re not equipped to deal with it, they’re not armed or wearing armour - they’re just flung into that universe and told to deal with it. They become heroes because they hit those moments where there is no alternative - being a hero is about the time you need to become a hero. It becomes the purest, most innocent version of Doctor Who in a way. It is a brand new person, Bill - walking into the TARDIS - where will the TARDIS take us - open the doors - walk out and there’s a monster - fight it. It is storybook simple. Of course that story complicates as it goes on because The Doctor is a much more complicated man than he first seems. But it’s Doctor Who at its purest I would say. Everything you need to know about Doctor Who is explained in that first episode - the cloaking device, the chameleon circuit, the bigger on the inside - all of that is there and you even get to see the Daleks. The idea was just to introduce Doctor Who properly - the story starts here. You need to know nothing before this point.

Knowing that this was your last series - how did you go about planning series 10? Were there any themes and ideas that you absolutely wanted to get in?

The fact that this was my last series had to be removed from the mix. The fact that this is Peter’s last series matters to the show - the fact that it’s mine doesn’t matter. I didn’t approach it all with regards to what I wanted to do with Doctor Who. More than anything what I wanted to do was begin again and if I had any sentimentality about leaving then it would be that - leave like it’s all just beginning. I wanted to move forward - Doctor Who is never more Doctor Who then when it exists in the moment - right now - and that’s the sort of hero The Doctor is. He’s a hero in a moment. He’s not a hero when he’s wandering around the universe, he’s not looking to be amazing or to save people, he’s wanting to go and look at steam engines or go to a library or go and have lunch with Marie Antoinette or something. But the moment arrives and the Doctor always rises to the moment - there is a time that he is a hero and that’s the important thing - when the moment comes he steps up to the plate. Not until then.

What new and returning monsters do we have to look forward to?

By nature I’m just excited about all new monsters but we’ve got some wonderful stuff! We’ve got a serpent that lives under the Thames in the shape of the Thames which, now that you realise it, the EastEnders title sequence has always clearly been about a giant snake.

We’ve got the emojibots which are small, cute and communicate by emojis and turn you into skeletons so that’s brilliant. We’ve got the most shiver-making creatures in Mike Bartlett’s episode - not going to tell you what they are because the show teases you a bit about what’s going on but I guarantee there are moments that will make you go “URGH!” as I’ve been looking at some of the effects for episode four and you think “Oh my god are we putting that on television?!” It’s really properly gross and magnificent. We’ve got a new enemy, which I won’t talk too much about but we call them The Monks though that’s not really their name. We’ve got a fabulous Scottish creature care of Rona Munro - The Eater of Light. The Ice Warriors are back with a new wrinkle and of course Missy is there - always with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor - he’s up against Missy, tested and teased and entranced by his oldest friend and wickedest enemy.

How important is Peter’s input when casting the companion?

Peter’s input is massively important. They are going to be a working unit for months - they are going to see more of each other than they see of their significant others when they’re playing these parts so you’re practically marrying them. Professionally and personally it’s important that they work together in ways that are interesting on screen and off screen. You’re casting a friendship. Also Peter’s input is massively helpful because he plays The Doctor - he knows where that show is - he knows it better than anyone else other than actors who have also played The Doctor. He knows what it takes to be in that show and the sort of person who has the grit to get on with it and the inventiveness to play with it. So we listen very carefully to what Peter has to say about that.

What struck you about Pearl Mackie in her audition? What do you think she has brought to the role?


Absolute vitality and edginess is what came through the door with Pearl Mackie. A completely different voice for the show compared to Jenna’s voice. You sort of wanted to know straight away what she would make of The Doctor, what she’d think about him and in a way what she’d turn him into because The Doctor’s quite responsive, he’s quite responsive to the people around him - I think he just broods in the TARDIS on his own when he’s got no one to impress. So when someone moves in and inflects his life it’s about: how does he make her laugh? How does he impress her? How does he live up to her dream of him? He’s very, very responsive. I don’t think any of his various friends have realised how responsive he is to them, how much of the way he lives and the way he fights is about them. Pearl (Bill) is now what he cares about. So with Pearl’s style, her edginess, her modernity - you’ve got to ask what is the hatchet-faced, eyebrow ferocious Doctor going to turn into when he’s face-to-face with that quizzical smile?

Who is Bill Potts?

I started in a very simple way with Bill. I wanted her to be somebody who asked a different bunch of questions of the Doctor. An odd thing about Doctor Who is that most of the characters in Doctor Who, who meet The Doctor and encounter alien invasions and alien planets don’t seem to have watched any movies. They seem to be surprised at what a time machine is or what an alien is… except if you lived in this world you’d know - you’d have seen it in movies all the time. So she has a different bunch of questions - what are the questions that a real person flung into The Doctor’s life would ask? So I’ve set this challenge to all the writers - what is she going to ask him? The moment you open that up it starts to defines her where is the toilet on the TARDIS - that’s a really reasonable question. Why is the TARDIS, apparently called the TARDIS if that’s the spelling and those initials could only work in English? How can he claim to be from another planet if that’s the case? The very first thing was a knowingness and an irreverence - a knowingness about the genre that she’s part of in a way (or that The Doctor is part of) and an irreverence in the sense of “I’m not going to stand back and let you get away with saying your name is The Doctor” - what does that mean? That was a way in and particularly when we put that idea together with Pearl Mackie it just became a different sort of person. The moment you know you’ve got a character is the moment you can’t define them very easily - you define them as a character at the beginning but as they develop there’s something else.

Can you describe the relationship between Bill and The Doctor?

A good, strong student-teacher relationship IS a friendship it’s just a particular kind of friendship where one knows a lot more than the other and one is more energetic and enthused than the other. I think the student-teacher model is a good model of what The Doctor and companion relationship is - he’s the man that understand the universe - she’s the one that feels it. He’s become inured to all the wonder and reconnects with that through Bill’s eyes and Bill doesn’t get to see the universe at all unless The Doctor opens up his blue doors so they provide a nourishment for each other. They are both friends and he is her professor.

Are you excited for Matt Lucas’ return in Series 10?

I’ve been thinking for a while with Peter’s Doctor that he should have a butler, a valet, an assistant. He would want somebody to fetch and carry and do complicated tasks for him - he’d want a little expert on hand and I was already thinking about that and had quite a different idea of who that was going to be. And then absolutely coincidentally Matt Lucas who had been in The Husbands Of River Song in a tiny little role said he had really enjoyed it and would like to come back if we ever wanted him. So I pondered this for a few days and said to Brian (Executive Producer) that it would be mad to not make something out of this he’s such a popular actor. He’s so brilliant and charming and he’s already in place albeit decapitated… so we brought him back. He is The Doctor’s go-to guy. He’s not quite, as we have seen in The Return Of Doctor Mysterio the bumbling oaf he likes people to think he is - he’s slyer, more devious, more useful and he has a very shady past.




Doctor Who Magazine - Issue 507Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 20 December 2016 - Reported by Marcus
Two new issues of Doctor Who Magazine are on sale now

Doctor Who Magazine - Issue 507 (Credit: Panini)Doctor Who Magazine - Issue 507 (Credit: Panini)Doctor Who Magazine 507 features new companion Nardole who returns in this year’s Christmas Special and for the 2017 series.

Matt Lucas chats to DWM in a rare and exclusive interview

Some people say, ‘I quite liked Nardole, but why does he need to come back?’ Well, there is an answer. I can’t tell you why he needs to come back, but I can tell you that he does need to come back. There’s a job that needs to be done, and it’s not a job that the Doctor can do on his own. Nardole is there to help him. It’ll all become clear.
You can read the full interview inside the new magazine...

ALSO INSIDE THIS ISSUE…
  • THE RETURN OF DOCTOR MYSTERIO
  • DWM previews the amazing new Christmas Special!
  • MEET THE GHOST
  • A chat with the man behind the mask – Justin Chatwin, who plays The Ghost in the Christmas episode!
  • ASK STEVEN
  • Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat answers readers' questions.
  • THE POWER OF THE DOCTOR
  • DWM takes an in-depth look at the Doctor’s superhero credentials.
  • REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2016
  • Despite the lack of series on TV, 2016 has still been a year to remember in the world of Doctor Who...
  • THE FEAST OF STEVEN
  • Why the Doctor took a week off from fighting Daleks in 1965 to engage in some slapstick comedy…
  • PINBALL WIZARDS!
  • 24 years after it launched, the Doctor Who pinball table has returned in digital form.
  • BE FORGOT
  • A brand-new comic strip adventure, written by Mark Wright and illustrated by Mike Collins.
  • TIME TEAM
  • There’s a double helping this issue as our team watches The Sarah Jane Adventures episode The Death of the Doctor, and the 2010 Special A Christmas Carol.
  • THE RUNAWAY BRIDE
  • Writer Russell T Davies reveals fascinating new facts about the 2006 Christmas Special in this issue’s Fact of Fiction.
  • THE POWER OF THE DALEKS
  • DWM reviews the recent DVD release of the animated edition of the 1966 classic, The Power of the Daleks.
  • STOCKING FILLERS
  • A review of all the Who goodies which make perfect Christmas gifts.
  • COMING SOON
  • Previews of all the latest Doctor Who CD and book releases.
  • WOTCHA
  • The Watcher ponders the Reset Button...
PLUS! All the latest official news, Christmas competitions, and The Watcher’s Christmas Quiz.

Doctor Who Magazine 507 is on sale now, price £5.99, with a GIGANTIC FREE POSTER!

Doctor Who Magazine - 2017 Yearbook (Credit: Panini)The Doctor Who Magazine Yearbook 2017 is a 100-page special edition, packed with all-new content.

There are exclusive interviews with the cast of the recent spin-off Class and the crew of the 2017 series of Doctor Who. The director and costume designer of Friend from the Future describe the making of the mini-episode, and there is an extensive section of tributes to Doctor Who luminaries who passed away during 2016.

Elsewhere there are round-ups up the year’s Doctor Who-related books, records and Big Finish releases, along with a report from November’s launch event for the new Power of the Daleks animation.

Editor Marcus Hearn says:
Even though there wasn’t a new television series in 2016, Doctor Who never stands still. This is our review of the year, and there’s been so much activity – from the BBC, its licensees and the fan community – that we’ve had a job squeezing it all in!
Doctor Who Magazine Special: The 2017 Yearbook is on sale now, price £5.99.




Christmas Special - Sneak PeekBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 26 October 2016 - Reported by Marcus
BBC America has released a short video previewing this year's Christmas Special, The Return of Doctor Mysterio.





Moffat: I'm not blocking Torchwood returnBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 13 September 2016 - Reported by Josiah Rowe
John Barrowman has recently spoken about the obstacles preventing Torchwood's return to television.
Speaking at the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con Barrowman mentioned Doctor Who's current lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat as the reason Torchwood would not be back, to which Moffat has clarified that he is not one of those obstacles:
You may be aware that John Barrowman has been saying, publicly, that I've been blocking a new series of Torchwood. To be very clear - I haven't blocked it; I wouldn't block it; I wouldn't even be ABLE to block it. I didn't even know a revival had been mooted till I read about it on the Internet. As John perfectly well knows, it's not my show and I could no more prevent it happening that he could cancel Sherlock. I am bewildered, and a little cross, even to be included in this conversation. For the record, I really liked the show (especially the third series) and would be very happy to see more - monsters and mayhem, why not? But the fact is, it has nothing to do with me. Please pass this on to the anxious and the angry - I've had enough hate mail now.

Acknowledgement: Wizard World Chicago Comic Con coverage report via YouTube, courtesy of ChristineDoesCons




Doctor Who Magazine Issue 502Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 27 July 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Doctor Who Magazine 502 (in bag) (Credit: DWM/Panini)
Doctor Who Magazine 502 (Credit: DWM/Panini)
The latest edition of Doctor Who Magazine is on general release on Thursday, and this issue looks ahead to what we can expect in the next series of Doctor Who, currently under production.


Speaking on his feelings about working on his last series for the show, Steven Moffat says:
When I agreed to do one more run, I thought, ‘Sod it, I’m not doing the march to the scaffold. I want it to feel like a brand new show. I want it to feel like Episode 1 of a new series. I want to leave like it’s all just beginning.

Speaking about the casting of Pearl Mackie, casting director Andy Pryor says:
Pearl has this sort of boldness, and an ability to tap into the humour of the part without making it an overtly comic performance. From the word go, she made the part her own. She found things in the part that none of us had envisaged, and she made Bill a rounded person.


Also inside this issue:
  • CONCEPT ART: DWM comic artist Mike Collins reveals the secrets of his work storyboarding TV Doctor Who!

  • MARVEL FILES: A fascinating insight into the early correspondence between Doctor Who Magazine and BBC Enterprises.

  • THE PESTILENT HEART: Part 2 of a brand-new comic strip adventure, The Pestilent Heart, written by Mark Wright and illustrated by Mike Collins.

  • RELATIVELY SPEAKING: Jacqueline Rayner bows out with her final Relative Dimensions column.

  • TIME TEAM: The Time Team attempt to distinguish dream and reality as they watch the 2010 episode, Amy's Choice.

  • FRONTIER IN SPACE: War breaks out in space, in this issue’s Fact of Fiction, which covers the 1973 Third Doctor adventure Frontier in Space.

  • COMING SOON: DWM previews all the latest Doctor Who CD and book releases.

PLUS! All the latest official news, reviews, competitions, The DWM Crossword... and a MASSIVE poster and FOUR more art cards!




The Two Doctors: David Tennant and Steven Moffat honouredBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 5 July 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
David Tennant awarded an honorary doctorate by Royal Conservatoire of ScotlandFormer television Doctor David Tennant today became a Doctor for real, as the actor received an honorary doctorate for drama from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow.

The actor, who studied at the Conservatoire between 1988 and 1991 when it was called the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, said:
I'm honoured and rather humbled to be here - it's all quite overwhelming but lovely to be back. It evokes some very vivid memories. It was a very important time for me. I don't think I would have survived without my time here - for me it was essential. Three years of getting to practice in a safe environment. I was quite young, quite green, and I did a lot of growing up here and learned an enormous amount. They were very formative years that I look back on very fondly.

David Tennnant talks about receiving his honorary doctorate (via Daily Record)


As reported at the weekend, Doctor Who's lead writer Steven Moffat also received a doctorate today from the University of the West of Scotland.





Steven Moffat to receive honorary doctorateBookmark and Share

Sunday, 3 July 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Steven MoffatDoctor Who's lead writer Steven Moffat is to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of the West of Scotland.

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of UWS, said:
Steven is quite simply one of the country’s greatest screenwriters and through his work on both the small and big screen he has brought joy to millions of viewers worldwide.

He is a further example of success from our wonderful town of Paisley in a long line of truly successful people brought up in the town.

Steven is great role model for anyone, not just our students, and demonstrates that your path in life will be determined by your own passion for the things you believe in and that anyone can have success if they work hard.

Steven is a hugely deserving recipient of this Honorary Doctorate and we are delighted to honour him in his home town.

The graduation ceremony takes place at Thomas Coats Memorial Baptist Church in Moffat's home town of Paisley on Tuesday 5th July. The writer said:
It's always a joy to go home - but to go back to Paisley to receive a doctorate feels like I finally made it. I feel very honoured, and more importantly very happy.

News source: The Paisley Gazette




Series 10 filming begins next weekBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 14 June 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Matt Lucas and Stephanie Hyam guest star in Series 10The BBC have released details on forthcoming writers and guest appearances for the next series of Doctor Who, due to start filming in Cardiff from Monday next week.

Matt Lucas will be reprising his role as Nardole, which he played in last year's Christmas Special, The Husbands of River Song. Commenting on his return to Doctor Who, he said:
I’m chuffed to bits that Nardole is returning to the TARDIS for some more adventures. I loved acting with Peter and I’m excited to work with Pearl.

Steven Moffat, lead writer and Executive Producer, added:
Delighted and slightly amazed to be welcoming Matt Lucas back on to the TARDIS - and this time it’s not just for Christmas, he’s sticking around. One of the greatest comedy talents on planet Earth is being unleashed on all of time and space.

Moffat is writing the first episode in the new series, which will be directed by Lawrence Gough (who directed Pearl Mackie's introduction as Bill in Friend from the Future. Peter Bennett returns as producer, with Brian Minchin as executive producer. The second episode will also see the return of Frank Cottrell Boyce, who previously penned In The Forest Of The Night in the 2014 series.

Further writers announced for the series include Sarah Dollard who wrote last year's Face The Raven, Mike Bartlett (writer for the multi-award winning Doctor Foster, and veteran Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss.

In addition to Lucas, Stephanie Hyam has also been announced for a guest role in the new series; the actress appeared in the New Year's Day Sherlock as Jane, and also played Charlotte in Peaky Blinders and Lily Clarke in Jekyll & Hyde.



Today also saw the first read-through for the series take place:






Steven Moffat receives his OBEBookmark and Share

Thursday, 4 February 2016 - Reported by Marcus
Steven MoffatDoctor Who Executive Producer Steven Moffat has been presented with his OBE for services to drama.

The award, announced in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours list, was presented to the writer by The Prince of Wales at a ceremony held at the Queen's London Residence, Buckingham Palace. It makes Moffat an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

Steven Moffat told the Scottish Daily Record he was delighted to recieve the award
It was very thrilling and formal and slightly, slightly, just very slightly, like being back at school. But nicer because everyone got a prize.

Talking to other people before I came in, I kind of feel everyone's here for a better reason than me. I've got not one, but two dream jobs so to get this lovely thing for already indulging myself in public, seems like an excess of good fortune.
He said it will be sad to leave Doctor Who, but exciting to do something new.
Ahead of me this year I have 14 Doctor Who and 3 Sherlock films, so the last thing I am doing is contemplating work beyond that.... The reason you end up leaving Doctor Who, much as we all love it, is because it's all year round. It's a really tough gig
The interview indicates Steven Moffat's last Doctor Who episode will be the 2017 Christmas special.

Full interview here.




Steven Moffat to Step Down as ShowrunnerBookmark and Share

Friday, 22 January 2016 - Reported by Marcus
The BBC has confirmed that Doctor Who Showrunner Steven Moffat, is to leave the programme after Series 10.

The Corporation confirmed the news on the official Doctor Who Twitter feed, announcing that writer Chris Chibnall will take over in 2017.

Steven Moffat has been the guiding force behind Doctor Who since 2010, casting both Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi in the role of the Doctor. Series Ten will be his sixth series in charge, and the 36th in the show's long history. The 12 part swan song for the producer will be screened in the spring of 2017 meaning that only the 2016 Christmas special, and the new spin off series Class, will be screened this year.

BBC One Controller Charlotte Moore explained the reasons for moving the series back to the spring.
I have decided to schedule Steven’s big finale series in Spring 2017 to bring the nation together for what will be a huge event on the channel. 2016 is spoilt with national moments including the Euros and Olympics and I want to hold something big back for 2017 - I promise it will be worth the wait!
The new showrunner, taking over for Series 11, will be Chris Chibnall, best known for his work on Broadchurch. Chibnall has written six episodes of Doctor Who, as well as many episodes of Torchwood, where he was Co-Producer.

Moffat talked about his feelings on leaving the show
Feels odd to be talking about leaving when I’m just starting work on the scripts for season 10, but the fact is my timey-wimey is running out. While Chris is doing his last run of Broadchurch, I’ll be finishing up on the best job in the universe and keeping the TARDIS warm for him. It took a lot of gin and tonic to talk him into this, but I am beyond delighted that one of the true stars of British Television drama will be taking the Time Lord even further into the future. At the start of season 11, Chris Chibnall will become the new showrunner of Doctor Who. And I will be thrown in a skip.
Charlotte Moore paid tribute to the outgoing showrunner
I want to thank Steven Moffat for everything he has given Doctor Who – I’ve loved working with him, he is an absolute genius and has brought fans all over the world such joy,” she added. “I will be very sad to see him leave the show but I can’t wait to see what he will deliver in his last ever series next year with a brand new companion.

I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Chris Chibnall, a wonderfully talented writer who I know will bring something very special to the hit series.
Like his two predecessors Chris Chibnall is a life long fan of the series, even appearing on a BBC One discussion programme about the series in 1986. He talked about his love of the show
Doctor Who is the ultimate BBC programme: bold, unique, vastly entertaining, and adored all around the world. So it's a privilege and a joy to be the next curator of this funny, scary and emotional family drama. I’ve loved Doctor Who since I was four years old, and I’m relishing the thought of working with the exceptional team at BBC Wales to create new characters, creatures and worlds for the Doctor to explore. Steven’s achieved the impossible by continually expanding Doctor Who's creative ambition, while growing its global popularity. He’s been a dazzling and daring showrunner, and hearing his plans and stories for 2017, it’s clear he’ll be going out with a bang. Just to make my life difficult.
Polly Hill, BBC controller of drama commissioning, added:
Like Charlotte I would like to thank Steven for his brilliance, which has made Doctor Who a global hit under his tenure. Chris Chibnall is the perfect successor to take over the reins of this incredible show, so I am delighted that his love for Doctor Who has made it impossible for him to resist ! Chris is an incredible writer and his vision and passion for Doctor Who gives it an exciting future and promises to be a real treat for Doctor Who fans across the world.




The Husbands of River Song: press interviewsBookmark and Share

Thursday, 10 December 2015 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The Husbands of River Song (Credit: BBC/Simon Ridgway)The BBC have released interviews with Peter Capaldi, Alex Kingston and Steven Moffat to promote the forthcoming Christmas special, The Husbands of River Song.

What can you tell us about the Doctor Who Christmas special this year?
Well the Christmas special is very Christmassy, which I’m sure everyone will be relieved to hear. It finds the Doctor in a Dickensian kind of world, in a Christmas card sort of world which he’s been brought to in order to do a favour for a king. So there’s quite a festive spirit to the episode. But the favour is more complex and isn’t exclusively for the benefit of the king, but more for the benefit of the king’s consort.

What is your favourite scene from this episode?
I have lots of favourite scenes from the Christmas episode, but I think being met by Matt Lucas on a wonderful wintery Dickensian street with the TARDIS covered in snow was delightful, because it was like a Doctor Who Christmas card. Matt is such a fabulously funny person to have around, so I loved that!

Do you like filming Christmas episodes?
Yes I do like them - last year’s was a bit scarier than this one, this is more openly festive. I like the idea of ghost stories at Christmas and frightening things seem to work rather well in the festive environment.

Would you like to see River Song return?
Yes of course, because Alex is fabulous and it’s always lovely to work with her.

Who is Nardole?
The character of Nardole is played by Matt Lucas so you can expect a lot of laughs and pathos. He is, as ever, a hugely loveable personality, a little naïve, a little out of his depth and quite cosmic.
What was it like to come back?
I was quite surprised when I was asked to come back, but I was happy to because I just thought it would be great fun. It’s such a great character, she’s become so beloved by lots of fans and I’ve had them saying it would be so great for her to come back and to see her interacting with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. I was actually thrilled when Steven decided he wanted to explore that too.

What did you think of the script?
It’s a wonderful slapstick caper. There’s a lot of great laughs, there’s a lot of fabulous River one-liners. The fans are going to love the things she says and there’s a lot of play. They’re also fighting a very interesting alien played by Greg Davies. It’s a really great episode and Steven has done my character proud.

Has this episode been challenging?
I’ve been really lucky in this episode as River gets to do an awful lot. She gets to run around in snow, I’ve been flying and have done harness work against a green screen. She’s got quite a few husbands in this episode and there’s a lot of fabulous quick-fire dialogue between her and the Doctor. She gets to snog the most handsome man in the work, his character name is Ramone. It’s all going on!

What were your favourite moments during filming?
The favourite moment so far for me was stepping back on to the TARDIS, because the interior of it has changed yet again. I’ve been on two different TARDIS incarnations, and to walk into this one and know it’s a familiar space but at the same time it’s different, was great. I love this one - everything works which is really fun, I stand there pressing all the buttons, it’s great!
Can you give us an introduction to the episode you’ve written this year?
The Doctor is an all new man and has been for a while. It may have slipped his mind that out there, in a very tangled and complicated way, is his wife that has never seen this face before and doesn’t even know about this incarnation. We’re about to stand with the Doctor and see what River is like when she doesn’t know he’s looking. We’re about to see what River thinks of Matt Smith turning into Peter Capaldi.

What made you want to write this episode?
River Song meets the Capaldi Doctor, that’s got to be fun - I’d like to write that. That’s what made me want to write. I knew it had to be a big romp for Christmas day and there’s nothing like River Song to make that evident - River brings a whole storm of camp glamour to it.

Is it any different writing a Christmas episode of Doctor Who?
Yes, you need to have a bit of Christmas in it, but that’s never felt to me like a tremendous impediment, it’s a hook to hang it on. Sometimes we go very Christmassy - ‘A Christmas Carol’ was incredibly Christmassy, so was ‘The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe’ and ‘The Snowmen’ had the appearance of Christmas without being very Christmassy. Last Christmas is actually the least Christmassy episode we’ve ever done, except for the fact it actually had Santa Claus in it - I rather loved last Christmas. This year’s episode starts Christmassy and has a comedy romp!

Do you enjoy writing a Christmas episode?
I like Christmas specials - I know some people don’t. Some friends of mine don’t like Christmas specials very much and they’re always complaining about all the tinsel, the goodwill and the twinkly stars, and the lovely snow on the rooftops. I love all that, I love Christmas as a day and as a festival. I love that it’s dark, twinkly and rich red, all those things I adore so it’s no hardship for me at all.

Who is King Hydroflax?
King Hydroflax is a very bad King, who as it turns out is mostly cyborg - in fact only his head has remained. He’s a vicious, terrible and deeply stupid man and a dreadful tyrant.