How would you describe the character of Doctor Who?
He’s very honest. He’s not afraid to be himself or to offend
anyone – which is liberating and quite endearing. He’s never
underhand – just a bit mad. I want to embrace the madness and
push it further!
What are his other essential characteristics?
He's also really brave – I find his courage very admirable.
Children love him, of course. But adults also respond very
positively to him because that sense of childlike wonder is so
alive in the Doctor. Through him, I've learnt to live life in
Is he a bit of an adrenaline junkie, too?
Yes. He lives for adventures – he's the ultimate thrill-seeker.
Does he have a hyperactivity disorder? Perhaps! Often he makes
an apparently selfish choice to leave someone behind or let a
race die out, but it's always for the greater good. He's always
pulling strings to help people. In his two hearts, there is an
Why do you think Doctor Who is still such a popular show?
The show remains so well loved and has such longevity because it
has the best ever TV drama format. It is not bound by anything.
It is not limited by space, time or genre. It can tell any story
in any way. The Doctor can be reinvented in any way you like.
Anything goes. No other character in TV history has been played
by eleven different actors. Everyone wants to see this
charismatic, alien, bonkers professor turn up and save the day.
We’ll never tire of that.
Tell us more about the show’s unique format.
The format gives you such variety. One week on Doctor Who, you
can have a horror movie, and the next a rom-com. It allows you
to play with different forms of storytelling. The show can also
change with the times. All the best storytelling reflects the
issues of the day. So Doctor Who now references the world of
How do you get on with Karen Gillan, who plays the Doctor's
I'm very, very fond of Karen. She is a really good pal. Whatever
chemistry we have is translated directly to the screen. The
relationship between the Doctor and Amy is very successful – and
we owe that to Steven Moffat and the way he set it up. Because
the Doctor first met Amy when she was a little girl, the
audience was immediately invested in her.
There is a huge reveal about Amy in episode seven of this
series. How does that affect the Doctor?
It has a massive impact on the Doctor. It fundamentally
challenges his relationship with Amy. He's put in a situation
where he has to make some very difficult choices. It forces all
these dramatic things into question. His loyalty and his
intelligence are put under the severest strain. It's a real dum-dum-dum
Who are your favourite monsters in this latest series?
It has to be The Silence. They are the best monsters since the
Weeping Angels – there are certainly some of the scariest. What
is wonderful is that they toy with your psyche. They mess with
what you know and don't know and what you can and can't remember
- they can influence your mind. They look horrendous and are
really mean. So if you're under the age of ten, a good sofa to
hide behind is essential. That's what Doctor Who should be
about: I don't want to watch this, but also I do!
Which other episodes should we look out for in this series?
The pirates episode is wonderful. It's this great big ravishing
romp with all the swashbuckling you could ever want. It features
great performances from Hugh Bonneville and Lily Cole. I even
enjoyed getting wet till 4.30 in the morning! As the Doctor, you
have to have a degree of enthusiasm about everything you do. If
you're miserable, that comes across.
How do you react if you get recognised?
When I meet people, I always try to be as polite and grateful
and graceful as I can. I hope I remember to keep my feet on the
ground. I have great family and friends around me. They’d bring
me back down to earth if I ever did try to become too high and
Why do you think you attract such a lot of attention?
It’s all about the part – it’s nothing to me. People feel very
affectionate towards the programme because it has such a
heritage in our culture. When children come up and ask me,
‘What’s your favourite monster?’, you see how they’d be if the
actual Doctor turned up in the Tardis on their doorstep. If
you’re ten and Doctor Who seems impatient with you, that’s going
to be rubbish, so I always try to be patient.
Did you receive any advice from your predecessor in the role,
Yes. I talked to David when I got the part. He’s a lovely bloke
and said to me, ‘If you ever need to talk about anything, just
give me a buzz’. But it has to be your own journey. I don’t want
to be bugging David by phoning him and saying, ‘Can I talk to
you about what just happened in Tesco?’ You have to learn these
things for yourself.
Do you think viewers will ever get bored with Doctor Who?
No. People will always want to watch the adventures of a mad
buffoon who saves the day on a shoestring! He is able to make
you laugh and cry at the same time.
Finally, do you love every aspect of portraying one of the most
popular characters in British TV history?
Absolutely! We work very long hours every day for nine months.
The schedule is pretty brutal, but I'd never complain about it.
I love playing this role, and I don't want to give it up any
time soon. I feel very lucky that I have this wonderful part and
a great creative life. In the current climate for actors, I’d
never say, ‘This is too much’ - quite the opposite, in fact. I’d
say, ‘Bring it on!’
DOCTOR WHO SERIES 6 PART 1
WILL BE AVAILABLE ON DVD & BLU-RAY ON THE 4TH OF AUGUST