Peter Capaldi may have been preparing to play the Doctor ever since he watched the first series as a child, but that didn’t make the news that he had landed the part any less surprising. Nevertheless, as with any time travel story, there was some heavy foreshadowing.
Speaking to Radio Times during a visit to the Tardis (jealous?), the new Doctor revealed how he may have been sized up for the role while standing in a recreation of the Tardis.
“[Doctor Who writer] Mark Gatiss had made this thing called An Adventure in Time and Space and he’d invited me to the set back in January,” explained Capaldi. “I went down and it was fantastic: saw the old Tardis, met all the actors, got my photograph taken with Doctor Who. And Mark said to me ‘How would you feel about being Doctor Who?’ And I said, ‘I think that ship’s sailed, don’t you?’ And he said ‘Oh, I don’t know…’
“And I sort of thought that’s an odd question to be asked, but I didn’t like to think that it was in any way relevant and perhaps it wasn’t. I haven’t talked to him about it but I suspect he might have been checking me out or something.”
Capaldi also spoke about getting the news that he was to be the new Doctor while on set of The Musketeers, where he played the villainous Cardinal Richelieu:
“I was dressed as Cardinal Richelieu in some scene torturing somebody or something. And I got all these missed messages and then finally I got my agent and she said: ‘Hello Doctor’. And I couldn’t tell anyone. I couldn’t do anything, I had to go off into a corner and sort of scream. And walk around Prague singing the Doctor Who theme.”
As if having your dreams come true while wearing a leather cape wasn’t strange enough, there was a downright surreal encounter with a young fan who seemed to have come from the future.
“The weirdest thing is that while we were filming we left Prague and went to a place called Moravia, north of Czech Republic. And there was a little lad who said to me in very broken English: ‘I really enjoy you as Doctor Who.’ I thought that’s weird, what do you mean you really enjoy me as Doctor Who?”
What indeed? Capaldi had only just found out the news himself. Read on, dear reader…
“He said ‘I enjoyed you in Fires of Pompeii’, which was an episode I’d been in years ago. He couldn’t speak English very well, [but] he said I’m a big big Doctor Who fan, I’m a ‘Whovian’. So I said to him ‘have you got your camera with you?’ But he wasn’t very interested in getting his picture taken with Cardinal Richelieu. I said ‘I think you should take a picture’ and within a few weeks he would know it was Doctor Who.”
If that little Morovian Whovian is reading this, we would love to see that photo.