The time of their lives
Listen... can you hear the roar of those transdimensional engines, ripping through the space-time vortex? Yes, the TARDIS is approaching (check out the brand new trailer here). In anticipation of the Doctor and Clara's imminent return to our screens here's an exclusive chat with Doctor Who producer Brian Minchin, who gives us a glimpse of what's in store when the Time Lord rematerialises in September. There's more world exclusive coverage of Doctor Who in SFX issue 265, on sale 19 August!
You launched Peter Capaldi very successfully last year. How do you build on that success now?
This series were telling the next stage of the adventure. Its the glory years of Peter Capaldis Doctor and Clara. As you saw in the finale and the Christmas episode hes kind of answered his question of Am I a good man? and this year hes having the time of his life, having dangerous and exciting adventures in time and space. These are the glory days of the Doctor and Clara. Theyre having the biggest, most dangerous adventures theyve ever had and theyre having great fun doing it.
Whats your ambition for this series?
Everything is based on the character of the Doctor. Interesting, intelligent TV characters evolve, and you see different sides to them. I suppose the mission statement we had was bigger adventures, and to go further in space and time. Weve got a very confident Doctor, weve got a very confident companion and theyre both experts at doing this now so we can tell slightly bigger stories. Were doing more two-parters and not just conventional two-parters. Were doing linked stories where you might not be sure how theyre going to be connected until you see them. Were pushing the storytelling that way, to give us more scale of adventure.
So will some episodes end with a surprise cliffhanger?
Youll need to see the episodes to see how were doing it. We love cliffhangers, and we love them being in there, but we also like it when stories develop into something unexpected, and connect in unusual ways.
Does that change the rhythm of your storytelling?
A little bit. Were still fast-paced, were still funny, weve still got danger. Each episode works on its own. Steven [Moffat] always likes to push himself and this is a slightly new thing for him. I think Steven really enjoyed writing the two-part finale last series and he could see what that could do it allows you to have guest characters in for a bit longer, it allows you to do different things on a production scale, it allows you to do different things with monsters.
Is Peter looking to explore new sides to the Doctor this year?
Its something that isnt good to analyse too much, because we want to let things happen in the stories, but Peters a very intelligent actor who always wants to be doing something new with the character. If you asked any leading man or lady they wouldnt want to just be doing the same thing. Peter has a huge understanding of the Doctor and there are aspects that he wanted to play this year, in these stories. But hes very reactive. We have these big conversations but it always comes down to whats in the story, whats in the script.
Steven said that hes writing a funnier Doctor this year. Are you looking to give Peter more comedy?
It comes back to what I said hes answered that question of Am I a good man? Hes still the same Doctor. Its Peter Capaldi being the Doctor, and hes brilliant. He came out as the Doctor questioning himself, but hes now having the time of his life. Thats how we talk about it. Its got to come from an artistic place of where the Doctors at now.
He was quite a formidable figure last year, which was a gamble that Steven took, making him slightly fierce and slightly prickly. Will we see more of that side or have you softened him?
Id say that one of the great strengths of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor is that hes unpredictable, and youre never sure which way hes going to turn which is a thing a lot of the classic Doctors have had, and that isnt going away.
Jenna Coleman really came into her own as Clara last series. How happy are you that shes staying on?
Absolutely delighted. Its brilliant. Its a series that we always wanted to tell, of Peters Doctor with Clara, so were delighted that its happening.
You have Michelle Gomez back as Missy in the opening two-parter. Why is she back so soon?
Missy is brilliant, and having seen her in the finale we just couldnt wait to work with Michelle again. Steven had the perfect story. Its not going to be Missy as you expect her to be. Steven likes to surprise everyone and hes going to do that with this opening. Missy has an awful lot of sides to her and were going to see some new ones in this series. We also learn a bit more about her relationship with the Doctor