Doctor Who EP, Stars Preview 'James Bond' Elements, Lack of Doctor-Clara 'Boyfriend' Dynamic and More

Don’t look for any lingering Matt Smith-isms when Peter Capaldi debuts as the well-traveled title character in the Season 8 premiere of BBC America’s Doctor Who (airing Saturday, Aug. 23 at 8/7c). Executive producer Steven Moffat said he and his new leading man deliberately avoided picking up tics and habits from the “Eleventh Doctor” as they fashioned a regenerated “No. 12.”

VIDEO Doctor Who Trailer: Peter Capaldi Faces Aliens, Dinosaurs and More in Season 8

Co-star Jenna Coleman recalled filming her first few episodes opposite Capaldi and, in instances where she expected the Doctor to “dance or be running around the console,” Capaldi would do the opposite. “He’d say, ‘Actually, no, I’m just going to stand here.’ Instead of coming to the room, he let the room come to him. He was really bold and brave and made those changes. That was Peter finding his own path.”

As Moffat noted, though, the regeneration process is an inherently disorienting one. “What would it be like if you were Matt Smith one moment and Peter Capaldi the next?” he reasoned. “It must be frightening — especially when you look at your best friend in the whole world, the person upon who you’re anchored — and they don’t see you. They literally look right through you and see someone else.”

Expect that unanchored feeling to cause some serious communication gaps between the Doctor and his companion in the Season 8 premiere — titled “Deep Breath” — and a little bit of wibbly-wobbly behavior in Capaldi’s Time Lord.

Below, four more teases from Moffat, Capaldi, Coleman — and intel from a screening of “Deep Breath” put on by BBC America in New York City on Thursday morning.

No. 12 Is Informed by Other Classic Crime-Solvers | Moffat said that the Doctor’s fogginess in the Season 8 premiere was, in part, an homage to an old Columbo episode he’d seen in which Peter Falk’s detective blithely forgot the details of an intersecting case from a long-ago season. “He’s 2,000 years old,” Moffat said of the Doctor. “He’s forgotten a whole lot of time!” As for concerns about whether fans would embrace Capaldi after three seasons of Smith as their leading man, Moffat said he didn’t feel like he needed to do a hard sell. “You never get bored of some things. It’s like James Bond introducing himself — you want to see it happen again,” Moffat argued. “A new Doctor is just exciting.”

Don’t Hold Your Breath for Another Doctor-Clara Smooch | Coleman said that it’s been exciting figuring out “how this dynamic is going to work now” — not only between the Doctor and his companion, but between herself and Capaldi, too. “Deep Breath,” however, has a rather unambiguous moment where Capaldi’s character tells her — or perhaps tells himself — “Clara, I’m not your boyfriend.” Moffat added that as No. 12 journeys through Season 8, he will “discover things about his own personality that aren’t necessarily welcome.”

Old Friends Return — and Flirt in New Ways? | Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax are back — and in grand form — in the season premiere. But don’t be surprised if/when one of the band of three takes his or her flirtation with Clara to new and amusing levels.

Old Enemies Will Be Back, Too | As a lifelong Doctor Who fan, Capaldi was particularly excited to work alongside the extermination-minded shorties. “You think you know all about Daleks coming in, but there’s a man inside a Dalek, and another man with a control box controlling all the lights, and a man off the corner doing the voice,” Capaldi explained. When he finally heard the word “DOCTOR!” in that menacing, mechanical voice, Capaldi recalled that he actually swore with delight. “And then it goes off and bumps into the wall.”

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  1. There’s one thing I’d like clarified about Doctor Who. When Clara fell into the Doctor’s timeline and split into multiple selves, one of those selves was seen on Gallifrey with the first Doctor and Susan. The alternate Clara seen in “The Snowmen” referenced her birth in the 19th Century, which establishes that these alternates didn’t just “pop up” out of thin air, but were born in the places and times and worlds in which they pursued the Doctor.

    What does that say about the Clara that told the First Doctor which TARDIS to take? Was she born on Gallifrey the same way that the Clara from The Snowmen was born in 19th Century London? If so, does that mean she was a Time Lady? If she was, where is she now? Could she be alive on Gallifrey? Did she die and subsequently regenerate?

    • Not everyone who lives on Gallifrey is a Time Lord — only certain members of society can become one (and have the ‘privilege’ of regeneration). I’ve read somewhere that Moffat said Splinter-Clara on Gallifrey was not a Time Lord.

      • I’d like to see that. Do you remember where you might have seen it?

        • Al says:

          Moffat mentions Gallifrey!Clara not being a Time Lord in one of the recent issues of Doctor Who Magazine. However it does contradict something Moffat himself establishes in A Good Man Goes to War that there is such a thing as “Time Lord DNA”. So if that’s the case then “Time Lord” is not a title, but a species. Maybe there is more than one species of humanoid living on Gallifrey, then.

      • I always took the “Lord” part to imply they were part of some ruling class. We’ve seen soldiers and servants on Gallifrey before and I never imagined for a second they could do the whole time/space thing. The scene with Clara and Doctor 1 (take this one…) also implied there were only a finite number of Tardises.

        • The room in question in that scene was like a workshop. A garage where TARDISES are repaired, as opposed to parking lot or space port where Time Lords park their ships.

          I never had that impression. I thought all people born on Gallifrey were Time Lords, and could therefore regenerate.

          • BTM says:

            Definitely not. Old Who had episodes outside the citadel, and the people who lived there were salt-of-the-earth types who had no use for the Time Lords.

          • You’re right. Te Outsiders.

            There is a distinction between Time Lord and Gallifreyan. Not all Gallifreyans are Time Lords, but all Time Lords are Gallifreyan, and all Gallifreyans can regenerate.

            Clara for sure had to have been a Time Lady since she lived in the Capitol.

        • Josh says:

          i always took “time lord” to mean someone who had a tardis, and therefore the ability to move back and forth through time. It was a privilege that not many galifreyans had.

          (remember the doctor actually stole his tardis… it depends on how it works but maybe the doctor has been calling himself a time lord wrongly…)

    • Doc755 says:

      Unfortunately like most of the big reveals in the Moffat era he probably did not take that into consideration when he had Clara spread out across time and space. Continuity has considerably suffered since he took over. Even with his own era! Yes, it’s funny that Clara told the Doctor which TARDIS to take. Haha. Oh but wait, now we essentially lost the incrdsibly poignant moment from The Doctor’s Wife where the TARDIS chose the Doctor. Oh well. Moffat didn’t write that one anyway

    • meme says:

      Maybe she was the TARDIS interface

  2. KCC says:

    Awwww!! I can’t wait!!

  3. tp says:

    I’m feeling very iffy about this new Doctor. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to be very fun. I liked all the running around the console and stuff.

    • dman6015 says:

      We’re back to having a mature, adult Doctor. I’m sure there will be fun times, just not the same as they were with Matt Smith, who was different from David Tennant, who was different from Christopher Eccleston, and so on.

  4. Malcolm says:

    No mention how they’re going to address how the doctor has the face of the guy from Pompeii and the guy who killed Ianto

    • Angus says:

      Karen Gillan was in that epi as well. There is no connection and no explanation is needed. Just these two actors playing a part in the series.

  5. sy says:

    Ahhhhh can’t wait! I’m just really hoping we’ll see River again. Has anyone heard anything????

  6. KatS says:

    I adore living in a world where people from every corner of the globe, from every walk of life, of every age, can gather and speak philosophically and with great love about a fictional character, his past, his future and how a science we cannot begin to understand affects his universe. Good times.