A wonderful thing happened over the weekend: Doctor Who companion Jenna Coleman met up with her predecessor Karen Gillan to compare notes on travelling with the Doctor. A chance, of course, for them to trade experiences and wisdom, but mostly to share embarrassing stories about their respective co-stars, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi.
The pair dished the dirt at Canada’s FanExpo convention, with Gillan, AKA Amy Pond, skilfully deflecting a question about her own awkward past with, “Can I tell you Matt’s most embarrassing moment?” instead. A roar from the crowd, obviously.
“It was on The Curse of the Black Spot,” she explained, “and Lily Cole, who is a very famous supermodel, came on to set and played a mermaid. And everyone on set’s like, ‘oooh, there’s a supermodel,’ and I was like ‘a-ha’. And then Matt’s like, ‘I’m going to go talk to her’ and shifted into cool phase. Then he strutted over, and went [adopts a cool voice] ‘hello’, and then [leaned] against a light stand and the light stand fell over. It was the best thing I’ve ever seen!”
We’ve all been there, Matt. Not to be outdone, a laughing Jenna Coleman followed with, “Can I tell you Peter [Capaldi’s]?” Another roar.
“This is more funny than anything, but it’s 3am and we’re in a power station and we have 15 minutes to get this last shot. So Peter decided he was hungry and went for a walk to look for some snacks in the middle of this power station. And just before the take he came back and I looked at him and he was absolutely soaking wet. And I said, ‘what’s happened?’ It turns out that he went for a walk by himself, found a red button, pressed it, and it was actually… a shower. It’s such a thing the Doctor would do.”
Oh dear. It’s all getting a bit…
Embarrassing stories aside, the companions also shared some more flattering tales about how different the two actors are to work with.
“It was really fun working with Matt Smith,” said Gillan. “You can’t predict what his next move is going to be – he’ll sort of jump on things all of a sudden and you’ll have to go with it. Also he’s one of the most silly people I’ve ever met. He falls over – and he’s really good at it.”
Coleman, who has travelled with both Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors as companion Clara Oswald, concurred, offering a comparison between the two.
“They’re really similar in very different ways,” she says. “Cos they’re both really generous and you don’t know what they’re going to do take-to-take and they’ll really mix it up and try stuff and throw it away, so it keeps you on your toes all the time. I think the best way to describe it is that Matt was like a tornado that you had to dance with, while Peter makes the room come to him.”
Before singing happy birthday to a fan (below, at 3.00), the duo also shared their favourite episodes. Karen Gillan’s is The Snowman, while Jenna Coleman is a huge fan of Vincent and the Doctor.
Jenna Coleman will return to Doctor with series nine opener The Magician’s Apprentice on 19th September on BBC1
Get your tickets to see Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat LIVE at the Radio Times Festival at Hampton Court in London on Friday 25th September