For a show that’s not going to be on the air until Christmas, and then not again until Spring of 2017, Doctor Who and its creative personnel sure are in the news a lot lately. And perhaps with good reason. First, we had the news that series showrunner Steven Moffat was stepping down following the delayed 10th series of the popular sci-fi program, then we heard that the BBC had officially asked star Peter Capaldi to stay on for series 11 with new head writer Chris Chibnall, and now, in a lengthy interview with Newsweek, Capaldi talks candidly, but carefully, about how the BBC has “undoubtedly” taken the show for granted.
Capaldi, whose love of the series and the part of playing the Doctor has been palpable since day one, was quick not to besmirch the BBC, just to say that it might have taken its eye off the ball in the 10 years since Who returned in 2005. “The BBC is an incredible organization,” he said “But…sometimes people there think, ‘That’s looking after itself.’ And it’s not being looked after.” He later said that the brass at the British public TV network, “the show was seen as a thing they could just push around. It’s not. It’s a special thing.”
The actor, who will begin filming his third series as the nigh-immortal Time Lord in May, opines that the changing of the TV schedule may have hurt the overnight viewing figures, as it was pushed back to much later in the evening than usual in the UK during series 9 and that, for a family show, it needs to remain relatively stationary, timeslot-speaking. “[T]here’s still a place for families to sit down and watch the show,” Capaldi said. “That’s still a great, fun thing to do. That’s what the show’s success has been based on. That has to be protected.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Capaldi discussed Moffat’s departure and how the series takes it out of people, to the point where it’s hard to take care of one’s own health. “He loves this job so I think it’s very, very difficult for him to leave. But I think he has to, otherwise he might have a heart attack.”
He also maintains that the Doctor could and should be played by people of different ethnic groups, and by women, both of whom have yet to be given the opportunity to play the role. “I think it’s important the show reflects the times,” he said. “The world’s in a tough place at the moment and the Doctor is a hero for all times.”
The rest of the interview is full of talk of casting the new companion, and maybe making a Malcolm Tucker cameo on HBO’s Veep. All very interesting from a very interesting man. You can read the full interview in Newsweek here.
Do you think Doctor Who is being taken for granted by the BBC? Would you like Peter Capaldi to stick around for series 11 in 2018? Let us know in the comments below!
Kyle Anderson is the Weekend Editor, a film and TV critic, and the resident Whovian for Nerdist.com. Follow him on Twitter!