Everybody can just relax. Chibnall’s got this.
New DOCTOR WHO showrunner Chris Chibnall – whose work won’t be seen until after Steven Moffat‘s upcoming 10th series has run its course – has his own ideas about how to cast the next Doctor, and it has nothing whatsoerver to do with what former stars, fans or bookmakers want.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Chibnall said:
“We’ll cast the role in the traditional way: Write the script, then go and find the best person for that part in that script. You couldn’t go out and cast an abstract idea. The creative possibilities are endless, but I have a very clear sense of what we’re going to do, without even knowing who’s going to play the part.”
Translation: Chibnall isn’t going to cast someone and write to fit the actor; he’s going to create a character and then hire the right person to play that role.
I totally agree that he’s doing it the right way. The actor must suit the role, not vice-versa.
Peter Capaldi‘s third and final season as the 12th Doctor will end with this year’s Christmas Special, in which he will regenerate into the 13th Doctor.
DOCTOR WHO returns to BBC America on April 15.
It’s no secret that showrunner Steven Moffat really loves the annual DOCTOR WHO Christmas specials, so bringing back the Doctor’s wife, River Song (Alex Kingston), and pairing her up with his latest incarnation must have been even more fun for the Grand Moff than usual.
He teased this year’s special:
“We’ve shot that one with the 12th Doctor. That’s been a riot to do. And that’s been sort of a big fun chase episode, really. Just Mr. and Mrs. Who battling their way past nonsense, and that’s been great fun. They’re lovely together; they are. Alex is always great value. It’s time we saw her back being a kick-ass hero instead of playing mums and sisters and all that. It’s a waste of her.”
The official BBC tease of the special:
It’s Christmas Day in the future and the TARDIS is parked on a snowy village street, covered in icicles, awaiting its next adventure. Time traveler River Song meets her husband’s new incarnation, in the form of Peter Capaldi, for the first time this Christmas.
The as-yet untitled 2015 Christmas special will air on… (wait for it…) Christmas Day on BBC America.
The Doctor and River Song are forever meeting each other in the wrong order — and now it’s time for the 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) to run into his wife at a strange time, when he crosses time streams with River (Alex Kingston) in this year’s DOCTOR WHO Christmas special.
But this time, the Doctor has the advantage — because she doesn’t recognize his 12th face!
“That’s how the Christmas special begins,” showrunner Steven Moffat told the London Doctor Who Festival. “She doesn’t know it’s him! It’s an opportunity for the Doctor to find out the terrible truth: What his wife gets up to when he’s not looking. No one should ever go through that!”
Moffat added: “The last time the Doctor saw her she was a ghost. The first time he met her, she died. So how can he be seeing her again? As ever, with the most complicated relationship in the universe, it’s a matter of time …”
GAME OF THRONES star Natalie Dormer has said she would consider playing a female version of the Doctor if DOCTOR WHO ever decided to change the gender of its star Time Lord — but only provided the script is there.
While doing press for her current film, The Huger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Dormer said:
“For me it’s always about the script. It has to be real human beings, contradictory, flawed, complex, multidimensional characters. It can’t just be concept, you know? ‘Female James Bond’ — CONCEPT. It has to have quality in the writing of real human psychology.”
I applaud Dormer for being all about the script. So far, 90 percent of those advocating changing the Doctor to female all line up behind the idea “Why not?” Since it’s possible, those fans believe the show should change the Doctor’s gender. But to me, doing it just because the show can smacks as the very definition of a “gimmick.” Just doing it for the novelty would be short-term ratings bait.
I believe there needs to be a reason to do it that goes beyond “It’s a great gimmick.” What’s the story? Why does the Doctor need to be female?
I am all for Dormer portraying a Time Lady — but does she have to become the Doctor? How about a new character? She could be a rival or friend of the Doctor from university. (That certainly was an interesting class they had — the Doctor, the Master and the Rani all in the same year? Wow.
One thing is certain: Dormer would look terrific in the period clothing the Doctor usually wears…
Romana and Romana II
With the end of the ninth season of DOCTOR WHO approaching — as well the imminent departure of Clara (Jenna Coleman) — a lot of folks think it’s time to shake the trees and talk about turning the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) into a woman for his next incarnation.
During the DOCTOR WHO panel at London’s Comic-Con, executive producer and lead writer Steven Moffat was asked if the Doctor could regenerate into a woman. He replied:
“Yes [Long applause]. But there is no vacancy. I’m being really explicit in my answer here because I gave this answer once in San Diego. I was asked if the Doctor could ever be a woman and I said ‘I think there’s a subtext in the show, maybe you should read it.’ And I turned and gestured to Michelle Gomez sitting next to me as Missy, and everyone laughed. This was reported, widely, as me saying the Doctor would never be a woman. So let me just make this very, very clear: There is no vacancy, and it may never happen. However artistically it could work. Commercially, the audience would go with it, we’ve proven that with Missy. And that’s why we did it, frankly. Yes, it can happen. It doesn’t need to happen, but it can, absolutely.”
When Jenna Coleman departs DOCTOR WHO — possibly (probably) this week! — Clara will “never return,” according to executive producer and Clara’s creator, Steven Moffat.
“Clara is gone and will never return. I will not reveal any forecast about her fate. I can only say that what will happen will shock, terrify and surprise you. Strictly in that order.”
Fans have known Clara is leaving the TARDIS for months now, but not when. The show is running out of options, since the penultimate episode, “Heaven Sent,” is a Doctor solo story, and the Christmas special will see the 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) finally meet River Song (Alex Kingston).
That leaves this week’s “Face the Raven” or the season finale, “Hell Bent,” to see off the Impossible Girl.
Osgood and the Doctor
As this season of DOCTOR WHO heads into the home stretch, executive producer Steven Moffat has already been prepping series 10 for quite some time now, and although he cannot say anything about scheduling — “No, I’m not even allowed to [comment]! Scheduling; that’s up to BBC One” he laughs — Moffat revealed he has chosen some writers, but the new companion has not yet been cast.
This confirms previous conjecture that while Osgood (Ingrid Oliver) would be a fun character to bring on full-time, she would not be right for a soft “relaunch” of the show. In fact, the production is not looking to bring back any previously seen characters as the new regular companion — including Faye Marsay’s popular Shona, from 2014’s “Last Christmas.”
“[Osgood is] a great character and we love her. But whether you really get a ‘relaunch’ out of bringing someone on board the TARDIS who’s already been there, I don’t know. It did work very well with Catherine Tate [as Donna], but that’s not the direction we’re currently going in. I quite like where we’ve got Osgood at the moment.”
“I’m not making any promises, but my genuine belief is that it will be someone new,” Moffat said. “To throw away the chance to say [to new viewers], ‘You can start here!’ is foolish. If [the new companion] is somebody you have to know all about then you’ve lost that. I think, particularly when you get a new companion, more so than a new Doctor, you are sort of saying, ‘This is the beginning, this is where it starts — you could join in here.'”
Mark Gatiss recently mused about the next companion being male: “It would be very interesting if the Doctor had a male companion,” he admitted. “But then it would be a very male show.”