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Doctor Who / Sherlock – Showrunner Steven Moffat on Peter Capaldi

In 2009, Steven Moffat succeeded Russell T Davis as the Showrunner of Doctor Who casting the youngest actor ever, Matt Smith, in the title role.

In 2010, he along with Mark Gatiss co-created the award winning series Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and Dr John Watson. Steven Moffat came to the TV Critics tour last week to talk about Season Three of Sherlock.

After the panel, I spoke with him about his choice for the new Doctor for Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi.

There’s a scene in the new Sherlock series where Andrew Scott, as Moriarty, and Benedict almost kiss. Where did that idea come from?

Sherlock, 303 - Benedict Cumberbatch
Sherlock, 303 “His Last Vow” – Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey) and Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) ©2014 Masterpiece, photo by Robert Viglasky/Hartswood Films

We got the idea from the palpable chemistry between Benedict and Andrew. We can’t control it any longer.

We let them go at it. But we cut it before contact and, indeed, sex, because that was just wrong! It was actually Mark Gattis’s idea, and he wrote that scene.

I remember he told me, ‘I’ve done something slightly cheeky.’ And I thought, I wonder what that could be given his past record, and I just roared with laughter when we got to that.

It was brilliant.

Last season you scared the fans, as it looked like Sherlock had jumped to his death.

What was [everyone] thinking? John couldn’t see the point of impact. Obviously the only way to avoid dying from hitting the sidewalk at [that] speed is not to hit it.

There has to be something in the way. It was never going to be the Tardis, so it had to be a big blue cushion.

Speaking of the Tardis, after going with two young Doctors, what was the thinking about going with Peter Capaldi?

Doctor Who (2000's) Series 8 - Peter Capaldi and Clara Jenna Coleman
Doctor Who (2000’s) Series 8 – Behind the scenes: The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) ©2014 BBC Worldwide

I wasn’t casting for his age. I didn’t cast Matt for his age either. The Doctor is well over two thousand now, and no Doctor is available in that age group, so they’re all too young. It makes no difference to me.

John Hurt was 73 when he played the part. That doesn’t really bother me, it’s who is right. Peter is a genus, and he wants to play the part, so that’s a pretty good combination.

Have you started shooting yet?

We are in our third week, so it’s very early but people have reacted very positively to the news because he’s a very well known actor. Beyond that, we’re off in our bunker making our shows.

When will the new outfit for Doctor Who be revealed?

Sherlock S3 TCA
Sherlock, Season 3 TC A panel – Actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Amanda Abbington, co-creator, writer and executive producer Steven Moffat and producer Sue Vertue ©2014 PBS, photo by Rahoul Ghose/PBS

In the next few days I would think, it’s just the first time we hit daylight with it, and then it will be out.

Do you create the look or does Peter?

It’s done with the actor and the costume designer really, and me in the background. It’s whatever makes Peter feel good as the Doctor.

My brother [The Equalizer creator Michael Sloan] is a great fan of the show. He was concerned about an older actor once again being cast in the role, but he said, ‘It’s Steven Moffat, so it will be okay.’

That’s nice. With Peter Capaldi it will be okay. Everyone resists the new (Doctor) at the beginning and then they love them, that’s how it works.

I asked Steven what it was about Peter that is going to make him a great Doctor for Doctor Who. Click here to listen to his reply

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