SDCC '13: Doctor Who
Emily Dunbar ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Writer
Scottish comedian and late night TV king Craig Ferguson stepped onto the stage in Hall H to find an already riled crowd of Doctor Who fans sitting impatiently.
They had already seen a montage of the Doctor’s history, spanning from William Hartnell’s 1963 portrayal of the First Doctor to Matt Smith’s current role as the Eleventh Doctor, and they had questions that desperately needed answering. Ferguson made them wait a bit longer, opening with a monologue that quoted River Song and Amy Pond and taking playful stabs at the ‘Who’ fans in the audience.
Panelists Matt Smith, Jenna-Louise Coleman, head writer Steven Moffat, and writer Mark Gatiss joined Ferguson onstage, followed by producer Marcus Wilson and David Bradley, who is reprising the late William Hartnell’s role as the First Doctor in the 50th Anniversary Special to air on November 23rd.
The fans were sworn to secrecy about everything they were about to see before the 50th Anniversary special was played. Moffat threatened to no longer give Comic Con exclusives if the audience did not heed his warning.
Amid questions about shooting locations, to which Smith and Coleman both expressed great interest in shooting the Christmas special in the US (and Moffat proved unwilling to even give a “definite maybe”), Moffat explained how Smith has taken on the role of the Doctor and made it his own.
“There’s only one Doctor,” he explained. “He lives in the moment all the time. He never really looks back because if he did, he’d be staring all day.”
Moffat went on to explain, “He’s every age all at once,” and sang praises of Smith’s ability “to combine the old man and the child, so you see them both at every time.” He also mentioned that no replacement for Smith has been found.
When a fan asked why Captain Jack (played by John Barrowman) was not in the Special, Moffat scoffed, “How do you know what is or is not in the 50th?” and guaranteed that if he has a good Jack storyline, Captain Jack will come back. He then went on to promise, “Oh, you will,” to a fan that remarked that she’d cry when Smith leaves in the Christmas special.
The cast and crew also commented on the difference between UK fans and US fans. Smith told the room full of screaming Who fans, “You’re louder, which is great.” Moffat figured that Doctor Who reached more twenty year olds in the US than in the UK, where the show tended to lose their audience for a while between their audience’s teenage years and adulthood.
Soon after, the panelists explained which characters they’d have liked to play, if they weren’t cast as their characters. Smith would have liked to play The Master, while Coleman wished she’d had the chance to play Strax. Both Moffat and Bradley expressed a desire to play the Doctor, but Moffat admitted he’s “rubbish at acting” and Bradley said he was happy with his role as the villain in “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.” Gatiss said he would have loved to play Jo Grant, a companion of the Third Doctor.
Even though Moffat admitted to being scared of Doctor Who as a kid and said he wouldn’t watch anything much scarier than it now, when Ferguson asked, “Is there any episode where you think you’ve gone too far?” Moffat replied: “Yes, and then we put it on TV.”
However, the panel ended with Moffat promising that there would never be blood or graphic carnage on the show.
“It wouldn’t feel like Doctor Who if it was all horrible and gory.”