He is taking on one of the biggest roles in television today, but it appears that Peter Capaldi is also having a lot of fun playing the Doctor, according to Ben Miller who stars in Saturday’s episode of Doctor Who.
In fact Miller, who plays the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham in Robot of Sherwood, tells RadioTimes.com that filming with Capaldi was so fun that it felt like a few people “messing about”.
He said of Capaldi: “I thought he was really in his stride by the time this was filmed. A really good laugh. He was really relaxed, really charming, very funny. He’s having the time of his life basically. A lot of laughter, it was a very relaxed fun set.
“And that was one of the amazing things about Doctor Who. Considering it is such an enormous charabanc, a centerpiece of international TV, it feels incredibly small when you are actually involved in it. It is very intimate, very small, it feel like a few people messing about with a camera. It’s a really good thing that. Surprisingly relaxed and unpressured.”
Miller, the former star of the BBC1 drama Death in Paradise where he played the bumbling police chief DI Richard Poole and one half of the Armstrong and Miller comedy double act with Alexander Armstrong, said he was approached to play the part of the Sheriff by the episode’s writer Mark Gatiss. Miller has known him since they were knocking around the live comedy circuit in the 1990s when Gatiss was a member of comedy troupe The League of Gentlemen.
“Xander [Armstrong] and I were huge fans of The League of Gentlemen when they started so we have sort of known them when they first appeared on the scene,” he said.
On the role of the Sheriff in Saturday’s third episode, Miller said: “It was great for me because I have never really played a baddie on screen before. To play a proper beard-stroking villain was great. I have always played a slightly ineffectual, bumbly nice guy.”
Asked whether the character was actually a “baddie” or just “panto bad” he laughed: “He is really bad, I tried to make him really bad. He’s probably ended up as panto bad but that was what I was going for.”
On the episode he said: “It’s one of those real life historical things that Doctor Who does so well. It’s a charm on a beautifully carved bracelet. I think this series is really going to be quite special.”
Miller will also be appearing in the second series of Crackanory on Dave, the series in which celebrities read out dark stories for adults. The six-part series begins on September 24 with stories read by a range of stars including Simon Callow, Vic Reeves and opening with one read by the late Rik Mayall.
Miller said: “It’s such a left field idea, it’s so brilliantly done. It stands in relation to Jackanory in the same way Viz does to the Beano. We all have a need for this, those of us brought up on having stories read to us. It is a very comforting and unsettling thing. It is comforting in that we like having stories read to us but unsettling because we are now adults.”