Being the Doctor is a dangerous business, one full of dodging Daleks, conquering Cybermen and running – lots of running. And, as it turns out, it isn’t much safer for the guy playing him either.
Peter Capaldi, the Twelfth Doctor, knows this. The actor is currently depending on a walking stick, having had keyhole surgery on his knee a few weeks ago. And the best thing? It’s an injury that seems specifically linked to being the Doctor.
“I have exactly the same injury as Matt Smith did,” he tells RadioTimes.com. “When I first met Matt he was on crutches and I asked ‘what happened to you?,’ and he said, ‘this show, mate.’ And it turns out we have exactly the same thing! It’s a tear of the meniscus in the knee, which holds the knee together. I think it’s something that happens when you run down corridors and suddenly pivot at the end.”
He’s not wrong. The meniscus is a piece of shock-absorbing cartilage between the knee bones, one that stabilises the joint and protects the bones from wear and tear. Tearing it is common in contact sports like football, which require you to change direction suddenly when running, a skill very much needed when being chased by monsters.
“The doctor [a real, medical doctor] gave me this list of things I couldn’t do: ‘Crouch, jump or run’. I said, ‘Well. I have to do those things – I’m Doctor Who!’ It’s basically the job description.”
But luckily for us – and the universe – he is recovering.
“It’s just keyhole surgery, but we couldn’t get it done until we finished filming. That’s why I have [a walking stick]. But I was in crutches a couple of weeks ago so it’s not too bad.”
Doctor Who continues on BBC1 with Sleep No More this Saturday (14th) at 8.15pm