Doctor Who Is Back! Boss Steven Moffat Talks Joy, Recklessness & the Danger …

19 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Doctor Who Is Back! Boss Steven Moffat Talks Joy, Recklessness & the Danger Ahead in Season 9.

The danger is still ever-present, of course, but it’s almost as if the Doctor and Clara have never been happier, according to showrunner Steven Moffat. Anyone with fanciful ideas about a free press need only look to the violent squee that bubbles over when fans of shows like Doctor Who (Saturday, 7.40pm, BBC1) are wronged by an illusion-shattering reality check.Another series of BBC One’s hit children’s show Doctor Who is upon us – series 9 starts on Saturday – but just how does it stack up against other opening stories?

Last year, fans of television’s longest running science fiction series, “Doctor Who,” were introduced to the first ever female manifestation of one of the show’s most notorious villains, the Master – or in this case, the Mistress, or just Missy.With Peter Capaldi back for his second series as the Timelord, Alexi Duggins runs down the reasons why series nine will put the ‘ooh’ in Doctor Who…

Last season was hard on the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman), with their relationship nearly torn apart by lies and the death of Clara’s boyfriend, Danny, but don’t expect to see Clara in mourning. But they’ve battled monsters, and survived cohabiting in a police box to arrive at a new stage in their relationship. “They’ve had some conflicts and challenges, but generally if you can weather the storms, you often find that your relationship is much stronger. After arriving to help a lone boy trapped in the middle of a war zone, the Doctor goes missing as a mysterious agent named Colony Sarff scours the universe hunting him down. Channel hoppers could’ve been excused for mistaking Peter Capaldi’s ‘initial Doctor Who’ episodes for a freaky The Thick Of It dream sequence in which Malcolm Tucker bollocks a Dalek. In fact, she’s headed in the opposite direction. “What she doesn’t do in this series is she’s not looking for a replacement,” Moffat explains. “It’s almost like she shut down from that.

This fall, I’ve seen so many ads on buses, subways and Times Square billboards in New York for the second coming of Peter Capaldi — the show’s 12th Doctor (No, we aren’t counting the War Doctor.) — that you’d think he’s visiting the city in a few days and not the pope. While Michelle Gomez, who plays Missy, wouldn’t reveal how long the character sticks around in season 9, she did sit down with Speakeasy this week to talk about what it’s like to take on the iconic role, working with current Doctor Peter Capaldi, roles for “women of a certain age” in Hollywood and the constraints of Missy’s sartorial choices. Now in its sixth decade, the longest running and most successful sci-fi series in television history returns with a fresh wave of international media acclaim.

Playing out like an epic finale, The Magician’s Apprentice bangs out the shocks and surprises like you wouldn’t believe with characters returning and an horrific new monster to be faced. They are deeply bonded.” “They’re a proper team,” agrees Jenna Coleman, 29, who plays Clara. “There’s an ease between them, a shorthand, and she is becoming more and more like him.

So, Peter Capaldi, in his second season as the Doctor, was a little surprised when he first handled the sonic screwdriver, a famous tool that has allowed the alien Time Lord to pick locks, project sound and disarm weapons. The relationship with the Master and the Doctor, Missy and the Doctor, throughout regenerations has always been very complex – some friendship, some animosity, a little bit of love/hate. For those unfamiliar with the show, whenever the Doctor dies, he regenerates into a new incarnation of the same man (hence, the genius behind the show’s longevity). From perhaps Doctor Who’s most enthralling opening minutes to a shocking finale, it’s no wonder that fans who have been lucky enough to see this one already are dubbing it a modern classic. This time round, things get unnerving, with the Doctor having committed an atrocity that causes him to be hunted by a hooded monster – one so creepy it’d have no problem gaining a residents’ permit for Mordor. “We know what he did,” it hisses in an opening episode with a body count that’d decimate a football team and a Timelord whose wide, terrified eyes look like eight-balls on china plates.

The Doctor, (also known as a rebel alien Time Lord) and his companion, currently Clara Oswald, travel in the TARDIS, a time and space traversing vessel disguised as a blue 1960s-era British police box. David Tennant and Catherine Tate are Doctor Who’s greatest couple, for sure, and this Series 4 debut was packed full of why we still heart them so much. They then have to work together to find the Doctor. “The dynamic between Missy and Clara takes on a whole new shape, and not one I had imagined,” reveals Michelle, 49. “It all makes for slightly unnerving viewing.” This series will also see our heroes battle terrifying ghosts, visit Viking villages and explore underwater bases.

That’s where problems started, as he explains to USA TODAY in the video above. “I was really looking forward to using it because I wanted to ‘ZAP’ people with it. Now, a bit mad, like she doesn’t really mind what happens.” In true fashion, the premiere delves right into some old familiar characters, balancing new and old. In response to the new book I co-edited, “Bigger on the Inside: Christianity and Doctor Who,” someone asked a good question on Twitter: “Do these things even go together?” I think they do.

There’s plenty of Moffat’s trademark playfulness and jaw-dropping visuals in the first half-hour of this opening part but the stakes are soon raised as the Doctor’s own actions put everyone and everything he holds most dear in jeopardy. The Doctor just tends to pull it out and go ‘ZAP,’ ” emphasizing the sound as he feigns screwdriver swordplay. “The first time I got to do that … I think (it) was only about my second day and I didn’t really know anyone terribly well. One new/old face you might see again is that of Missy (Michelle Gomez), the current face of the Doctor’s BFF/worst enemy, the Master. “She reappears in a role that will probably quite surprise you, but if you know the history of the Master, it wouldn’t completely astonish you,” Moffat explains. “We use her slightly differently. We have the insane, comedic Missy returning, while Maisie Williams (Game Of Thrones) takes up a new role which challenges the Doctor.” “Osgood (Ingrid Oliver) is brought back from the dead in Episode 7 having been vaporised in the previous season’s finale. Game Of Thrones’ Maisie Williams will appear, as will The League Of Gentlemen star Reece Shearsmith, Rufus Hound, Paul Kaye and Bethany Black (C4’s Cucumber).

We know this because a character in an oversized hoodie and with an unfortunate complexion of the “turkey skin bound with a few strands of old dental floss” kind is slithering around looking for him. “Where eez theee Doctaar,” he lisps o’er space mountain and down dale. Blame Matt Smith,” says Jenna Coleman, who played companion Clara Oswald to Smith’s Doctor and continued in the role when Capaldi succeeded Smith in the role. “But we were outside, so the poor disgruntled prop man had to go fumbling through the bushes, because they also only had one end of it and it was like super-glued on,” he says. “So, suddenly, this was the reality of working on shows like this.” Hmm. Yes, he is a dying and rising “god” who is perpetually suffering for the sins of the world, which was especially true of David Tennant’s portrayal of the 10th Doctor (2005-2010). The Zygons themselves are a stunning creation and surprisingly they didn’t return to Doctor Who (on television anyway) until 2013’s The Day of the Doctor (they’re back again later this year).

The Doctor’s first big entrance kind of sets the tone.” “We go from Vikings to the end of time and we’re pushing the boundaries with the most experimental episode Doctor Who has ever made. She swats human beings like flies, he says that’s terrible, and she says they’re just flies, they’re practically dead already, and what’s in that bacon sandwich you’re eating, Doctor? That’s essentially the conversation.” As for this season’s big, non-Alex Kingston guest star, Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams, she doesn’t appear until a few episodes in, and Moffat would tell us absolutely nothing about her appearance. “She comes on in episode five, and then you’re on your own,” he says. “Because—and you’ll see why—it would spoil everything if I said how that character comes in.” To be fair, this guy doesn’t seem overly popular (he calls himself Colony of Sahff, but what with the cloak and everything, this smacks of a pseudonym. Honey roasted?) doesn’t generate much of a response from those around him, and if that isn’t a telling indication of character I don’t know what is.

According to Steven Moffat, the show’s previous executive producer, Russell T Davies got so het up about it, he blurted out: “Capaldi and Kingston – it’s a sex storm!” You’re Steven Moffat: the BBC tell you that they want more Doctor Who for 2016. When you were preparing for the role — there have been so many actors who played the Master, starting with Roger Delgado back in 1971, most recently John Simm — were there any particular performances that you really studied or got inspiration from? I’m not saying amplified musical instruments shouldn’t be played by anyone over the age of 27, I just feel that at the stage in your life when white tufts emerge from your temples and your entire skin hangs dejectedly from your midface, a pair of Ray-Bans and a Stratocaster aren’t the most flattering accessories. William Hartnell’s opening gambit as the crotchety old man (you wouldn’t get that now, eh?) was spellbinding in an instalment dripping with mystery and intrigue. I knew from the offset how important this was because I’m a fan of the show and I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing when my agent said they’re offering you the Master.

He is alone in the universe, without peer, which is both exciting and deeply troubling for the viewer. “Doctor Who” is compelling to us subconsciously because, unlike other hero stories in fantasy literature, the Doctor doesn’t have to reckon with his parents. Private Eye recently reported that BBC staff have been told that Mr Holmes’ adventures mean “no full series” for the Timelord next year – possibly meaning nothing more than a one-off special or two.

Maybe there’s more to the Doctor than just a newly acquired Now That’s What I Call Drivetime Classics CD and leather trousers, I start to think, as he noodles on the guitar. In one storyline, the Doctor alters the course of human history, changing the time stream of a key figure in history, to satisfy the the whims of his own conscience. When she turns up, halfway through this opening episode (“Cutting to the chase: not dead, back, never mind,” she helpfully explains) it’s clear that she really is a top-notch Time Lord; dressed like a deranged Victorian schoolmistress in leg-of-mutton sleeves, vaguely reptilian and exhibiting the kind of sociopathic tendencies that keep the annoying, girlish Clara in check. “Good?” she screams at her before vapourising a couple of innocent security guards. “No, I’m not good,” replies Clara.

For years, the series has obsessively asked itself and viewers, “Who is the Doctor?” Is he a “good man?” The Doctor’s enemies are keen to establish moral equivalence between themselves and the Time Lord. In last season’s finale, the Doctor’s archenemy gives him the “gift” of an army, based on the premise that only a man who thinks he is righteous should have battalions of soldiers to carry out his crusade. I know you can’t tell us any plot points, but can you tell us in any general terms what maybe to expect from Missy this season or the season in general? Well, with my Doctor, the Doctor I grew up with probably – with Jon Pertwee — if I could just have rattled around the world and traveled through all of space and time with Jon Pertwee.

And when you’re relaxed as an actor, and you’re at work, lots of other little things can happen, bits of magic that aren’t on the script, because you’re not holding yourself too tightly and you’re not taking yourself too seriously. I think she’s important for a lot of girls and a lot of women, really, just to be able to go look we don’t have to. … I’m just not going down without a fight.

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