Exclusive – Peter Capaldi says Doctor Who’s strength is its “great ideas and great imagination”

“Money isn’t everything” the former Twelfth Doctor told us as he pays tribute to the “absolute extraordinary” BBC series.


Former Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi has entered the sci-fi big leagues with The Suicide Squad, a new superhero movie from James Gunn where the Scottish actor stars as super-genius The Thinker.


Comparing the two projects, Capaldi admitted that he was blown away by the sheer scale and money involved in Hollywood – but that he wouldn’t change Doctor Who’s homegrown charms for anything.

“It’s a completely different thing,” Capaldi told RadioTimes.com. “I would say that it’s the money that they have. It allows them to execute their ideas with a level of craft that we can’t – we just don’t have the cash.

“That said, I would say that in my time in Doctor Who, which is all I can talk about, we had remarkable effects and things that were done there that were absolutely extraordinary, as well as some crummy ones.

“And, you know, I love all of that. I love the combination of that. And it’s what Doctor Who has always been, anyway, for me. It’s a show that has great ideas, and great imagination, and sometimes – in fact, in most of its life – it’s never really had the money to live up to its imagination.

“But I think that’s a pretty good way to be. Money isn’t everything, you know?”

Still, a large budget does make for quite a spectacle, as Capaldi discovered on the set of The Suicide Squad.

“I love the spectacle of watching a big movie being made, and I love seeing the craft – the level of craft, the invention of engineering. It’s so clever,” he told us.

The Suicide Squad
Peter Capaldi as The Thinker with Idris Elba as Bloodsport (WB)

“I mean, they actually had an aquarium set on The Suicide Squad, and the water runs into the building below. And they built an office which was the floor below the aquarium, and they were able to flood that.

“’Action,’ they’d say, and they’d flood it with 400 gallons or whatever, and then they’d pump it all away after ‘cut’. And then they’d set it up again, and do it again, and again, and again. And in addition to that, that set was able to pivot, because the building leans over. So the set begins to lean as well, with the 400 or 4,000 gallons pouring through it.

“I thought that’s an amazing feat of engineering. So that’s great to see. That reminded me of maybe what it might have been like to have been, you know, doing Ben-Hur or the huge silent movies.”

Clearly, whether it’s big or small, Peter Capaldi knows a good bit of filmmaking when he sees it. He does already have a directing Oscar, to be fair.


The Suicide Squad is released in UK cinemas on Friday 30th July. Want more? Check out our dedicated Sci-Fi page or our full TV Guide.