This year’s Doctor Who Christmas special is a particularly momentous episode, serving as the goodbye for Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor as well as the introduction for Jodie Whittaker’s new Thirteenth Doctor.
So it’s no surprise to learn that Capaldi himself was very keen to get his character’s exit just right – even if that meant forcing some very last minute changes.
“We’re all very concerned about how the Twelfth Doctor leaves us,” Capaldi told BBC presenter Jo Whiley in a new interview, which airs on BBC Radio 2 this Thursday 21st December. “We’re hypersensitive about trying to make it the best we possibly can.”
And so when Capaldi found himself unhappy with one of his last moments in the role, he turned to episode writer (and departing showrunner) Steven Moffat, who took unusual steps to fix the problem.
“I had sort of expressed a little discomfort about one of the scenes leading towards the end – and he rewrote it,” Capaldi recalled.
“He rewrote it completely, and quite brilliantly, overnight. Which is fantastic. The downside is I had to learn it overnight!”
— Jo Whiley (@jowhiley) December 19, 2017
Capaldi says that while he did have a little influence in how the Twelfth Doctor’s final moments came to the screen, the overall story is all down to showrunner Moffat.
“I had an idea about the attitude that the Doctor should have about it happening,” Capaldi said of the regeneration story. “But the details of it, and the actual concept of it, is all him. And he’s smarter and cleverer and funnier, so he’s the right person to do it.
“I trust Steven – Steven’s got better ideas than I would ever have, so I would never say to Steven, ‘I think this is what should happen’.”
Capaldi added that his relationship with Moffat will be one of the things he will most miss once his time on the series comes to an end.
“He’s one of the wittiest, funniest people I’ve ever met,” the actor told Whiley. “I think Steven could have easily been a stand-up comedian in another life.
“One of the most entertaining things that I’ll always remember about Doctor Who is that at the start of each season, he asks me round to his house and he will tell me what’s going to happen to the Doctor.
“He will go through all 12 episodes, just himself in his kitchen describing it all, and he’s absolutely hilarious.
“It’s doubly hilarious as you go on; obviously some of the episodes don’t turn out quite as well as he described them, or have a little less money, or are a little less focused. But he’s just a brilliant brilliant writer.”
Happily, audiences still have one last hurrah from both men to enjoy this Christmas Day – and you can hear more on Whiley’s special Doctor Who broadcast this Thursday 21st December at 8pm on BBC Radio 2.
Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time airs on BBC1 on Christmas Day (Monday 25th December) at 5.30pm