Actors who’ve played the lead in Doctor Who belong to a pretty exclusive club, with just nine men still living who’ve slipped into the Time Lord’s (presumably bigger on the inside) shoes.
And it turns out that some ex-Doctors are always on call when one of their number needs some emotional support, with both David Tennant and Matt Smith offering their help when Peter Capaldi announced he was stepping down from the sci-fi series.
“I think it was quite an emotional decision for him,” showrunner Steven Moffat told SFX when asked about Capaldi’s imminent departure this Christmas. “It was quite emotional for all the Doctors. They’ve all found it very difﬁcult.
“I know David and Matt got in touch with him straight away when they heard, because stepping down from that role isn’t nothing. At the same time, from the day you get it, you know that day is coming. And if you’re Scottish you probably think about it every second day! This is going to end.”
Moffat, who is soon to give Doctor Who fans a sneak preview of the new series and new companion Pearl Mackie at the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival next weekend (where he’ll also be inducted into the Radio Times Hall of Fame), also discussed Capaldi’s time in the role, comparing it to the length of previous Doctor’s tenures.
“Over the course of Doctor Who there have only been two Doctors who have done more than three years – and their ﬁrst three years were probably their greatest,” he said.
“So there is a logic to three years. And for an actor of Peter’s stature and brilliance, he’s cracked it now. He’s done it. He’s done that job. And now he can go and do another one.”
And hey – from the fans’ perspective, there’s still a whole year to go before we have to face his sad departure. Though when that day does come, we wouldn’t turn down a comforting phone call from Tennant and Smith ourselves…
You can read the full Steven Moffat interview in issue 286 of SFX, on sale now