The BBC has just issued a whole bunch of official interviews about the last two episodes of Doctor Who series 7.1. Mildly spoilery… you have been warned!
NOTE: We have combined the BBC interview with “The Power Of Three Writer” Chris Chibnall with our own exclusive interview with him here .
Steven Moffat teases us with an insight into what to expect from the Ponds departure in “The Angels Take Manhattan.”
What can you tell us about this episode?
“There will be tragedy and there will be Weeping Angels. It is a heart-breaking farewell to Amy and Rory. We see the Doctor and his little Amelia Pond race through the streets of Manhattan to save Rory with help along the way as River Song charges back on to our screens, just in time to say goodbye.”
Why did you decide to set this episode in New York and to bring back the Weeping Angels?
There was something about the Weeping Angels and New York that just seemed to make sense to me. And I thought of the story for this episode while in New York. It’s always good to find a new form for them and we’ve got little cherubs this time. I had loads of ideas for the Weeping Angels on both the previous stories that I never got anywhere close to using, so it was good to find the opportunity.”
We know to expect Amy and Rory's departure in episode five – why was it decided that this should be the time for them to go?
All stories have to end, and painful though that is, the most important thing about a story is how it finishes. I had over a year's warning to get this sorted out, and I'm very proud of what we've done. A fitting end to the mighty era of the Ponds!”
It must be quite different on set without Karen and Arthur?
“I do miss the fact that Karen and Arthur aren’t around, that just seems strange, though I think we have a really good ending for them. A change is companion is a well-known part of the show and Jenna is fantastic and will do a great job.”
NEXT PAGE: MATT SMITH
As he waves goodbye to his first companions as the Doctor, Matt Smith reflects on what he is going to miss most about Karen and Arthur and what fans have to look forward to in episodes four and five.
As well as shooting in new locations and facing new monsters, this series saw Matt get his first taste as the Doctor of what it is like to be on the receiving end of one of the show’s most widely known formulas, a change in companion.
“It was terribly sad when they left and I do miss them as we are great chums,” Matt shares his thoughts on his last days on set with Karen and Arthur,“but they go with a bang and a tear.
“That is what the show is about and onward we go with Jenna and she is doing terrifically well.”
Before Matt and fans of the show wave goodbye to Amy and Rory, episode four, “The Power Of Three”, pays tribute to the team that has travelled through the space and time together for the last three years. “It is a nice tender Amy and Rory story,” explains Matt.
Penned by Chris Chibnall, the writer behind “Dinosaurs On A Spaceship”, the episode has been described as a love letter to the Ponds. Exploring just what happens when a Time Lord drops in and out of their lives, the episode gives fans get a sneak peek at the chaos the Doctor brings to the Ponds and the impact it has had on their relationships. It also showcases what happens when the Doctor comes to stay......
Taking a break from battling monsters, Matt got a chance to play the Doctor at home. “I love the ordinary episodes as that is when we see the Doctor at his most alien,” explains Matt. “He washes himself in a weird way and he plays a computer game and you are like, ‘Woah, why is a Time Lord playing a computer game?’ He gets bored and mows the lawn.”
While “The Power Of Three” sees the Doctor and the Ponds puzzle an unlikely Earth invasion as millions of sinister black cubes fall from the sky, episode five, “The Angels Take Manhattan” puts the Doctor and his companions face-to-face with what are universally described as the scariest of Doctor Who foes, The Weeping Angels.
“I love the Weeping Angels and I loved filming in New York,” explains Matt. “New York added scale to the whole episode, which is just brilliant for Doctor Who .”
Based on the children’s game Grandma’s footsteps, the Weeping Angels made their debut in “Blink” in 2007.
“The Angels Take Manhattan” also sees the return of Alex Kingston as River Song. “It was great to have River back,” says Matt, “and to use filmic locations like Central Park and Times Square. It is a fitting ending for the Ponds, especially as the Weeping Angels are a Moffat creation.”
With “The Angels Take Manhattan” billed as the Doctor's heart-breaking farewell to Amy and Rory what are Matt’s final thoughts on saying goodbye to Karen and Arthur?
“Just like in the show, we would swap roles off set where sometimes I would be the older brother, or dad, or Arthur would be the dad. Lord only knows how much life informed art or art informed life between the three of us, I will never know!
“It was very sad to see those guys go, but we have five of the best episodes. Without sound too gushy, I adore them both, I really do.”
NEXT PAGE: KAREN GILLAN
Having faced The Silence, an asylum filled with Daleks and almost been turned into a Weeping Angel, Karen Gillan meets this the scariest of modern day monsters in her final episode as she waves goodbye to the TARDIS and her “raggedy man” of a Doctor. Here she sets out what have been her favourite moments of the past few years and what we have to look forward to in episodes four and five.
“I’ve had the most amazing amount of fun,” says Karen. Since starting as the companion on Doctor Who in 2010 to new Doc on the block, Matt Smith, Karen has faced her fair share of monsters, but who are her favourites?
“The Weeping Angels, definitely,” she states. “There is something really sinister about them.
So is she glad to be leaving in an episode that features them?
“Absolutely and Steven has written such a fantastic ending, I expect tears!”
While Karen hopes that fans will be in tears, she has admitted that she also shed a tear of two during the read -hrough of her last episode, “The Angels Take Manhattan”. Annoying her co-stars by putting off reading the episode for so long, she confesses that she didn’t want to find out the ending.
“Matt and Arthur really wanted to discuss it with me,” she explains, “but I just couldn’t bring myself to read it!”
Before her departure in episode five, Karen meets a new foe that is a little bit of a puzzle in “The Power Of Three”. Penned by Chris Chibnall it has been described as a love letter to the Ponds and provides fans with a chance to see just what happens when a Time Lord drops in and out of their lives.
Guest stars include Steven Berkoff, Mark Williams and Jemma Redgrave, who takes on the role of Kate head of UNIT, a part made famous by Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier.
Set predominantly in the home of the Ponds, during “The Power Of Three” the Doctor gets his hands dirty doing some chores at a rapid pace, but just how handy would it be do have the Doctor as a house guest?
“In some ways the Doctor would be a fantastic guest as he is so quick and has loads of energy, so you would never be bored… however, you would also be very tired! He has the energy of a child, but quadrupled! It was actually quite exhausting watching Matt act it all out, cleaning, mowing the lawn, but he did them pretty well.”
Just as any relationship changes as time goes by, the same applies to a travelling Time Lord and his companions. Throughout the series fans see Amy worrying that the Doctor’s visits are becoming less
frequent and it almost seems that Amy and Rory begin to pull away and start to think about their own lives.
“We get to see more a glimpse of what Amy and Rory do when the Doctor isn’t around,” explains Karen, “and how their travels have affected their own relationships with friends and family. I think the Doctor also begins to realise how he has changed Amy and what happens when he isn’t there; at first he doesn’t really understand it.”
Despite putting off reading the script until the last moment when the time came, what were Karen’s emotions going in to the last day of filming?
“Our last proper scene was the three of us walking in to the TARDIS, which was fantastic. We just started hugging. The read-through for the last episode was actually the hardest bit to do, just because it was such a good script, such a good exit and it was like, “Oh this is how it is going to happen?’. Really surprising, but the best exit ever!”
With Karen now working on other projects what is she going to miss most about the show?
“I will miss spending time with my good friends Arthur and Matt; it has literally been the best time of my life!”
NEXT PAGE: SOMETHING A LITTLE BIT MORE
SPOILERY. PROCEED WITH CAUTION
THE RETURN OF UNIT
Having made their debut in 1967’s “The Web of Fear”, UNIT (Unified Intelligence Taskforce) hurtle back onto our screens in episode four, “The Power Of Three”.
Previously led by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, a role made famous by Nicholas Courtney, UNIT return with a new leader in the form of Kate, played by Jemma Redgrave.
Here Matt Smith and Steven Moffat share their thoughts on what it means to have fans’ favourite UNIT back.
“The Power Of Three” sees Matt Smith’s Doctor meet UNIT for the very first time and it just so happens to have a new leader. Here Matt talks about working with Jemma Redgrave and what he hopes it will mean for the fans.
“I loved Jemma Redgrave! She was graceful, funny and charming and an absolute delight. UNIT’s return is one for the fans. I think they like cyclical things and we have a good story. It was great to do an episode with UNIT and I hope the true fans like it.”
As executive producer, head writer and a lifelong fan of the show, Steven Moffat explains here just how UNIT came to join the Doctor again.
“When I was a kid, and just getting obsessed about the Doctor (still not recovered) it was the Jon Pertwee era, and UNIT was as big a part of the show as the TARDIS itself. So when Chris asked if he could bring them back I couldn't say yes fast enough. And being Chris, he gave it a clever little twist which I know the fans are going to love.”