How To Cast A Doctor Who Star, By Steven Moffat

In this week’s Radio Times, emblazoned with the Pertwee-esque publicity image of the Twelfth Doctor, show runner Steven Moffat talks age, hotness and casting the best role in telly. One of the most interesting things he says about finding the right actor to play the Doctor is the need for a bit of contradiction…

I always thought Matt, while a very young man, had something of the demeanour of a much older man, whereas Peter is a man in his 50s but is terribly boyish and young at times.

I like the doctors to have mixed messages about what age they are – you can’t really pin them down.

Now Stevie has said a lot about poor old Matt Smith over the years, including that he walks like a “drunk giraffe”. But he also gave the rather lovely description that Matt looks like a young man put together from the distant memories of old men. There’s something heroic but also something awkward about that magnificent chin! And I’m inclined to agree that the Doctor needs something visually surprising about him – as though he doesn’t quite belong to any particular style or age bracket. For some of the Classic Doctors, perhaps it was just a mischievous twinkle in the eye (and for some particular a fashion choice/disaster).

Russell T Davies, Moffat’s forerunner perhaps put it best when he commented that the Eleventh Doctor’s Series 5 costume made him look like both a student and a professor at the same time. This certainly seems to be the line Moffat is taking but with the Twelfth Doctor he’s gone for an older exterior…

The doctors are all the same doctor really, at the end of the day. And to emphasise the senior consultant over the medical student for once reminds people that he’s actually a terrible old beast. Matt’s method would do that … you’d think, ‘You’re not really a puppy are you?’ Just like Peter Capaldi’s doctor will sometimes remind me he’s a big kid at heart.

Brilliant. A big kid with wild eyes and hair like a stormy sky! I’m really excited about seeing Capaldi’s Doctor in action and particularly how he delivers an ancient alien on a grand temporal joy-ride.

Is Moffat right – should the Doctor be a bit funny looking? Should we exclude classically good-looking actors or is it all in the performance? (Be warned, this would mean that Henry Cavill, Andrew Garfield and Tom Hardy could never take on the Gallifreyan tear-away. Just Sayin’). Now indulge us, Kasterborites – who else out there do you think would not only make a great Doctor but fulfills the young-and-old-at-the-same-time requirement?

Anyone want to volunteer a mug-shot…?


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