Radio Times Festival talks

Fans at the Radio Times Festival were treated to an extended Doctor Who session tonight, when the main star of the series, Peter Capaldi, having defeated Dalaks and Cybermen, and conquered time, fell foul of the Friday night rush hour traffic on the M4, and arrived 30 minutes late late for the session.

The actor had been filming all day at the Doctor Who studios in Cardiff, and had been whisked by car to London when he was greeted by a capacity audience in the main festival tent. The organisers extended the session to make sure the crowd had a full hour to enjoy a conversation with the Doctor.

The session was hosted by comedian and rabid Who fan Frank Skinner and also featured executive producers Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin. With last weeks episode fresh in everybody’s mind the trio discussed The Magician’s Apprentice and Julian Bleach’s impressive performance as Davros. You wait until you see the next episode said Moffat, He is amazing.

Peter Capaldi told of how some of the most surreal moments in filming the series came when acting with the Daleks. You rehearse with the guy who sits inside the Dalek, he said. His eyelevel is the same as a Daleks eyestalk, so you rehearse with him just standing there wriggling. I found it very funny.

Moffat denied an ancient fan rumour that there was a contractual duty to include the Daleks in each series of Doctor Who. My mother in law was Terry Nation’s agent when he created the Daleks. Believe me there is no such clause in the contract.

One question that was met with a grimace from the Executive Producer came when Skinner asked about the plans for Series 10 and whether, contrary to rumour, there would be a full series of Doctor Who in 2016. Moffat seamed irritated by the question and said he wished people would concentrate on this series. We don’t even know if the Doctor will survive until Christmas. Moffat did confirm he had signed up for series 10, but said that was only done ‘very recently’.

The team discussed Jenna Coleman’s departure from the series, which has been confirmed as taking place this year. Coleman had originally wanted to leave at the end of Series Eight, but had then decided to stay on for the Christmas special. It was on the World Tour that we ambushed her, said Capalid, and persuaded her to stay for another season. I said it would be so much fun Moffat said he has no idea who the new companion will be.

All members of the teem were adamant that they would not be able to produce more Doctor Who episodes per year. We started filming in January and we finish tomorrow, said Capaldi. The crew need a break. They are exhausted.

Peter Capaldi spoke of his costume and how he didn’t want his doctor to have a specific costume, but more a look, in the same way Tom Baker’s Doctor had a look. I loved his first season where he just grabbed some clothes and ran around looking like a tramp. He was asked about his recent comment that he didn’t feel he had nailed the role in Series Eight. I don’t think you ever really nail a role. Capaldi said he would happily be typecast as The Doctor. I don’t mind being typecast as Doctor Who. I mean what’s wrong with that? It’s great, you know, if that’s the stigma that’s attached to you, how lucky you are.

Russell T Davies has made a strong defence of the BBC and the licence fee and the values it stands for.

Speaking at the Radio Times Festival, he urged people to consider the alternatives to the compulsory licence fee, such as a subscription model and to look at the schedules of current subscriber services such as the American premium cable network HBO and see what subscribers get for their money. He said: “couple of high class dramas. No news. No soaps. No Bake off. Google their schedules and see if that is what you want?”

Davies was being interviewed by Alison Graham for the first ever Radio Times Festival, which is being held at Hampton Court in West London. He said his favourite memory of working on Doctor Who was the laughter he had. “It was hard work but we did have fun”. He revealed he most enjoyed writing dialogue for Daleks. “They are so clever. I love them”.

He also spoke of how proud he was of Doctor Who. “It’s indestructible. Imagine if they tried to cancel it now. There would be riots in the streets”.

Speaking on writing for the Doctor:

  • “you get the secret of writing for the Doctor when you realise he is much cleverer than you are. Then it falls into place”.
  • He talked about how he started in the industry and advised aspiring writers to just write. “get all the experience you can, not necessarily on your pet project but say for your local youth theatre”.

    He talked about his current project, a production of A Midsummers Bight Dream for the BBC. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, he told the audience. It has a fantastic cast, and the whole play finishes with a joyous dance choreographed by Arlene Phillips. It’s going to be on Saturday night in prime time. Only the BBC would do that”.

    Davies finished the session by talking to fans and signing autographs.

    Source GallifreyBase