In a special issue of Radio Times magazine, Steven Moffat gave an interview previewing his final ‘Doctor Who’ episode, the upcoming Christmas special ‘Twice Upon a Time’. The special stars departing 12th Doctor Peter Capaldi and David Bradley as the first Doctor. In the interview, he also discusses the popularity of Pearl Mackie’s Bill and reveals why Carey Mulligan (Sally Sparrow) refuses to return to the Tardis.
Below are some excerpts from the interview. To read more, visit the Radio Times website here! The new issue of Radio Times with the entire interview is on sale now across the pond!
RT: Pearl Mackie is back as Bill – are you surprised how popular she’s been?
SM: No, you know a star when you see one. She’s great. People responded strongly to her and they like the contrast between her and Peter. They liked Nardole and the little family unit together in the university. You could have watched them for five years in that set-up. And seen more of his lectures and the scenes in my head I never got to write, which were the Doctor taking his role in university very seriously and going to budget meetings and arguing for a new science block. He’s not a pretend professor; he’s a real one and he’s got serious views about his job.
RT: Is that your early years as a teacher coming to the surface?
SM: No, not really. I was a very indifferent teacher and would have run away as soon as I could in my time machine. That was a lifetime ago anyway. I left in the late 80s.
RT: Have any of your students ever got in touch with you?
SM: Rarely. I’ve met a couple. Of course they seem about the same age as me because I was a young teacher in my early 20s and a lot of the ones I’d remember were then in their late teens.
RT: ‘Doctor Who’ has a knack of spotting talent, actors who are just starting out, like Andrew Garfield who was in Daleks in Manhattan  and now has a huge Hollywood career and was in ‘Angels in America.’
SM: Our casting director Andy Pryor is so assiduous on who’s coming up. We’d never have seen Matt Smith but for him. We had Olivia Colman [in 2010] a heartbeat before she became a goddess. She was already regarded as a genuinely great actress but within a year of that she was the darling of the nation.
RT: It was the same with Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow in Blink (the Weeping Angels’ debut and Radio Times readers’ favourite episode).
SM: Oh my God, Carey Mulligan! It’s funny but ‘Blink,’ I say immodestly, is a very famous episode of television and yet Carey Mulligan, who was the star of it, I’m almost certain wouldn’t even remember being in ‘Doctor Who.’ I don’t think she was much of a fan, or anything. They liked her so much, they said, “Do you want to be the next companion?” but she said no. God, she was amazing.
RT: So you’ve never tried to get her back in any capacity?
SM: No. I know it’s a no.
RT: What a shame!
SM: I agree. But then does that character become more special because you never see her again? She just passes through the Doctor’s life. It’s surprising the people who do love being part of it. John Hurt loved being the Doctor and was quite insistent, asking, “Am I a real Doctor? Do I really count?” And we said, “Yes, you count. You’re on the poster. It is definitely you.” David Bradley is so thrilled that he is really the Doctor now. Because obviously he was sort of the Doctor in ‘An Adventure in Space and Time’ . He’s been a star for ever, but being the Doctor is special, somehow. He’s a bit like Hartnell in a way. He’s got a mean face but he’s the nicest man alive, so sweet and generous.
‘Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time’ will air on BBC1 on Christmas Day