Doctor Who’s Caro Skinner on Confidential’s axe, the 50th anniversary and the return of the Daleks

The exec producer also tells David Brown about Jenna-Louise Coleman's chemistry with Matt Smith and the Ponds' emotional farewell

Doctor Who executive producer Caro Skinner has spoken of her disappointment that BBC3 spin-off Doctor Who Confidential won’t be returning to accompany the new series:


“I think it’s really sad that we don’t have Confidential any more because the fans are fascinated with the making of Doctor Who and the personalities involved,” she told during a visit to the set of Asylum of the Daleks, the episode that will begin the latest series of the sci-fi drama.

However, Skinner was keen to stress that behind-the-scenes footage will still be made available to fans on the show’s website: “We will be doing lots of content that will be in smaller chunks on the site. It won’t be related to the Confidential brand because it was a BBC decision to let that go. But we have a team of people on set coming up with some really fun features.”

Series seven begins on Saturday 1 September at 7:20pm on BBC1 – and it looks as though viewers should prepare themselves for heartache, especially where the departure of companions Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) in episode five is concerned.

“Certain scenes are a really beautiful love letter to the Ponds,” she revealed. “At the script read-through, Karen was in more tears than anyone else. I was pretty close to tears as well and I think Steven [Moffat] was inwardly, but he’d never admit it.

“It is really sad to see them go but that’s kind of the point. They’ve had such a huge time in the last three series – I think Karen is the longest-serving modern companion, so this has to feel like the hugest storyline. Doctor Who is all about the relationship between the Doctor and his companions and I feel that it’s an epic send-off.”

But what of Jenna-Louise Coleman, the actress who is set to succeed Gillan and Darvill on board the Tardis. What is Coleman’s relationship with lead actor Matt Smith like?

“There’s just a real magic between her and Matt. At the audition, there was a surprising dynamic energy between the two of them when you saw them read the scene together. Very different to the dynamic between Matt and Karen in a really wonderful way. It’s almost as if she dances around him.

“She just walked into the room and inhabited it. I just sat there thinking ‘I can see Christmas and the next episodes right now’. I could just see them in my head as they were reading the audition piece. It was a wonderful moment. At the end of the auditions, when she had no idea yet that she was going to be offered the part, I remember Matt turning to Steven and I and saying, ‘Wow, that’s amazing. She’s just gone off on the Tube on her way home and her life is going to change overnight.’”

As for Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary in 2013, Skinner stated that next year will be “an enormous year for the show” and offers some idea as to what we can expect:

“The BBC is taking it very seriously. Obviously, we’ll be looking to make it a huge celebration of what the show has been over the last 50 years but also where it’s going to in the future, which I think is really important because it’s the longest-running sci-fi show and I feel fairly confident that it will still be going in another 50 years.

“So there’ll be a lot of Doctor Who over the course of the year: live events, TV stuff, various programmes that will cover all aspects of it. It’s certainly our intention to do justice to the scale of it.”

But, of course, all this lies in the future. First of all there are Daleks to fight and in greater numbers than have ever been witnessed before, including one which came from a very interesting source:

“Well, I’m good friends with Russell T Davies [Doctor Who’s showrunner during the Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant eras] and I knew Russell has a replica Dalek in his house in Manchester. So I asked him whether he’d like to lend it to us because, you know, the more Daleks the merrier. So we shipped it down. And it’s there on screen, in some of the final, climactic moments of the episode, actually.


“And having now ‘acted’ on the show, it’s now no longer a replica. It is an official ‘canonised’ Dalek. And Russell’s thrilled.”