How does it feel to be The Doctor?
“It’s pretty amazing, I can’t really believe that I’m so lucky. And I almost feel slightly guilty, really, that I’m allowed so much fun at this point in my life. Sometimes I can’t get to sleep at night because I’m excited about what we’re going to do.”
You’re a lifelong fan of Doctor Who. What would your teenage self have made of this?
“I think he’d have been astonished. I think kids believe anything’s possible, but I wouldn’t have thought this was.”
Did you think you would be in the running when you heard that Matt Smith was leaving?
“I was always interested, but I never thought it would come to me. I loved the show and I thought Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith had been fabulous. But I never thought they would think of me as Doctor Who.”
We heard that it was while you were filming The Musketeers in Prague when you got the call about landing the job?
“I was dressed as Cardinal Richelieu and I had my phone off because we were shooting all the time. But then I looked and I had nine missed messages from my agent, and finally she got through and she just said ‘Hello Doctor’. And I couldn’t tell anyone. I was on the set and so I had to be very still and go off into a corner and start screaming. And then I was walking around Prague singing the Doctor Who theme tune to myself.”
How would you describe your Doctor?
“He’s quite mysterious. He has many hidden things which we just glimpse occasionally which are not revealed in full.”
And how about the series?
“It’s quite scary. I think it’s got a lot more frightening things in it than before. Sometimes the episodes are a little creepier than perhaps we’ve seen for a while.”
What’s his relationship like with Clara (Jenna Coleman)?
“It’s not romantic, but it’s not without love. I think she finds it very difficult to deal with him. He doesn’t do much to change himself in order to make himself palatable for her, and she struggles a great deal to understand him and to find a way to like him.”
And what’s it like working with Jenna?
“Jenna’s just fabulous. She’s hilarious and she makes me laugh all the time. I think she’s brilliant in the part and she helped me enormously. It’s a weird situation. You’re stepping into somebody else’s workplace, really. I don’t mean that you become the boss, but you’re Doctor Who – you’re the lead character and you’re not really sure how to play that properly. But Jenna made it very, very easy.”
How about your own performance as The Doctor?
“You don’t do it in contrast to other people. You don’t look at them and say, ‘They did that, I can’t do that’. You just bring yourself to it. Essentially, it’s a big secret, but that’s what actors do really. They just turn up and be themselves and then they pretend that they’ve added bits on.”