Doctor Who returns this weekend with the remaining episodes of Season 7, and to get us ready, Steven Moffat (Doctor Who - Showrunner) was kind enough to participate in a conference call hint about the remaining episodes! Check out the transcript of the call below:
Our first question here comes from the line of (Curt Wagner) please go ahead.
Hi Steven nice talking to you again.
Congratulations on the Peabody.
Thank you, thank you that’s very exciting.
And I wanted to talk a little bit about Jenna and what she brings to the series
and to the relationship with the Doctor and with Matt.
Well in a way Doctor Who is almost more in a way of the story of the
companion. It’s her take on the Doctor, it’s her adventure and goes on with the
Doctor if the story didn’t tell because, you know, the companion the other
character changes more than the Doctor ever does.
So what Jenna in particular brings she has a tremendous speed and wit and
sort of an unimpressed quality that makes the Doctor dance a bit harder I
suppose, he works a bit harder with Clara.
Clara is always just a little bit out of reach not in I mean, you know,
obviously, you know, secretly devoted to him but a little bit harder to impress.
She’s tough, she’s fast and she’s hard to impress exactly the way the Doctor
generally speaking doesn’t like them but of course he’s absolutely devoted to
That’s very much driven by Jenna’s particular style, which is it’s a very, very
fast, snappy style. A very, very beautiful girl but there’s a real sense of
toughness in that face of someone that, you know, who can be a real adversary
if she wants to be.
Now is this Clara different than the other two Clara’s we have already met?
Well, until we see the play out but you will notice on Saturday’s episode
significant resemblances yes. Just as there were significant resemblances
between Clara and Oswin there are significant resemblances again that are
And this time they might be pointed out in a slightly more obvious way.
And then the last question in The Bells of Saint John are you trying to tell us
that we’re too tied to technology with the Spoonhead?
No I’m trying to make up a really, really good adventure about the Doctor
really. What Doctor Who often does is grab hold of whatever is omnipresent
in your life and turn it into a monster.
And there’s no grand plan what you tie to technology I love it all.
All right great well thank you Steven.
No problem thank you.
And our next question comes from the line of (Tiffany Vogt) from (TV
Addict) please proceed.
So you touched on it just a little bit there’s a new nemesis for the Doctor this
season, the Spoonheads. What can you tell us about the Spoonheads?
Well I’m not going to tell very much because you’ll learn all about them on
Saturday but suffice to say Wi-Fi covers every civilized country now. So if
something got into the Wi-Fi that would be a problem for us all, a new way to
invade us beyond that the Spoonheads are for Saturday.
Great and in this upcoming season do you have a favorite episode of scene
that you can share with us?
Well, you know, I would say that my favorite episode is next Saturday’s
episode and that’s probably always true. It’s probably always true that the next
one on is the one I’m most focused on and I’m most excited about.
I think they’re a number of highlights. I think The Bells of Saint John is a
great episode I think Cold War is a terrific traditional episode. The Ice
Warriors. I think we’ve got a great finale. We’ve got some new cybermen.
But you know I change my mind all the time about which my favorite is and
it’s almost invariably the next one.
And our next question comes from the line of Earl Dittman from Digital
Journal please proceed.
Good morning or good afternoon Steven.
How’s every – congratulations first on the EW the Entertainment Weekly
cover I mean that’s pretty good for America.
Thank you correct it’s very exciting.
I guess that’s what part of my question is that Americans now have finally
embraced Doctor Who the way that the British always have and I guess that’s
programming and stuff like that but there has to be something about the story
that we’re hooking on to that may be and maybe the rest of the world is too.
What do you think it is that makes the story so universal now that everybody
can get in to it?
Accessibility in a way, I mean, you know, you can start watching Doctor Who
at any point in its history. You don’t have to catch up with the rest of it. It’s a
very simple myth. It’s a man that can travel anywhere in time and space inside
a – in a box bigger on the inside.
That’s as much format as we have. You can join it anytime, absolutely get a
hold of it and, you know, dare I say I just think it’s one of the great pieces of
television entertainment that’s ever been.
That’s why we latch onto it, it’s terrific, it’s simple to understand what it’s
about and it’s hugely entertaining and every so often it completely reinvents
itself to feel at home in its new era, which is really is key ingredient.
It always feels at home in the present day because it always adapts itself. We
are after all our eleventh leading man.
And our next question comes from the line of (Tony Tellado) from Sci-Fi
Talk please go ahead.
Hi Mr. Moffat we met at the Paley Center when Matt just took over so it’s
good to talk to you.
All right, 100 years ago.
Yes 100 years. Great, you know, opening I saw a clip where the Doctor is on
an airplane and you get…
…you guys start out with some great action and guest stars wise getting Dame
Diana Rigg to be on this year how did you manage that?
It wasn’t me it was really Mark Gatiss who wrote that episode and who works
on Sherlock with me was appearing in a play with Diana Rigg’s daughter
And he was writing a Doctor Who episode at the time and he said to Rachael -
look I think you and your mom should play the mother and daughter parts in
this Doctor Who I’m writing – and they were up for it.
So it was all done through Mark. Mark and his little black book he knows
And our next question sir comes from the line of Aaron Sagers from CNN
Hi Steven thanks for your time today. You know, I actually just spoke to
Jenna-Louise Coleman the other day and I kind of want to follow up with you.
What is it about her that when you watch her work, you know, you think
damn I really made the right decision in hiring her.
Well she’s terrific. I mean first I most obvious answer to that is she’s a terribly,
terribly good actress. I know that sounds like a terrible dull thing to say but it’s
the truth. You can be as beautiful and charming as you like if you’re not
terrific at acting it will mean nothing on the screen but she’s a terrific actress.
In addition, she looks great, she has great comic timing. She looks like she
belongs somehow next to Matt Smith when the two can stand together it looks
like an instant team.
They have enough in common and yet have enough sharp contrast that it’s
instant poster when you stand them together.
And our next question sir comes from the line of (Jessica Dwyer) from Fan
Girl Magazine please proceed.
Hi Steven thank you so much for talking us today I’m really excited to see this
new season. One question I have, I actually have two I’m going to try to make
Are you aware of the Big Finish audio books and the fact that there’s a
character that’s very similar to Clara in the form of Charley Pollard I was
wondering if you were aware of that and if there’s a reason for that similarity?
Well I knew about Big Finish but I haven’t caught up with them in a lot of
years and I have no idea. No none at all I’m afraid so I…
Jessica Dwyer: Okay no worries it’s kind of neat they’re both out of time but the follow up
question is how much pressure do you feel to deliver on this 50th anniversary
and is there any way that this can possibly live up to the hype and excitement
for this show, for this anniversary.
I don’t know but I’m going to stick to talking about Saturday and this series.
We’ll deliver a good show but more of that later. I want to concentrate on
what we’re going to do on Saturday, which is a whole eight episodes before
we even have to worry about that but we’ll deliver I’m pretty confident.
And our next question comes from the line of (Tom Gardiner) from
(threeifspace.net) please proceed.
Hi Steven (Tom Gardiner) from (threeifspace.net) it’s a pleasure to speak with
you. I’ve got a question from one friend to another if you don’t mind. I’d like
to know since you grew up loving Doctor Who like many of us did.
What’s it like to go from behind the sofa to behind the curtain as it were, it’s
got to be a lot of fun.
It sort of happened so long ago that I’ve been involved in this for quite a long
time, nearly ten years that I’m starting to forget. It’s very very exciting, I mean
it’s massively demanding.
I don’t have any doubt that Doctor Who had always been and will always be
that. And, you know, I mean your fanzy remains intact, you stay excited by
Doctor Who and the idea of Doctor Who always remains thrilling.
I think you couldn’t function on the show unless that was true but, you know,
it’s a terrible thing to say in a way but I’ve been on the other side of the
curtain for quite a while now and I’m starting to forget that this used to be a
show that I wasn’t involved in.
One day when I’m not involved in it again it will all come rushing back but,
you know, right now it feels as though I have always worked on it. You know,
it retains its excitemen, it retains its shine that’s the main thing to say about
that I think.
Tom Gardiner: Could I slip in a quick question about the current series. During the course of
discovering the mystery behind Clara, this Clara is ever going to remember
her other incarnations? Will we get to see that?
Well I would know the answer to that question and I certainly wouldn’t give it
to you. And you will uncover the mystery of Clara in the next eight episodes
all will be made clear and you’ll get your answer that way.
And our next question comes from the line of (Fran Mags) from the
(Televixy) please proceed.
Hi Steven thanks so much for being with us today.
A pleasure hello.
Hi, well obviously we all loved Amy and we’re all very excited about Clara
but I wanted to know in more general terms why do you think it is that the
companion is such an important element of storytelling in Doctor Who.
It’s the person to whom the story happens, you know, a hero is somebody who
saves the day and is extraordinary and you stand back and admire and that’s
But for the storytelling the emotional connection has to happen to somebody.
The Doctor himself has to happen to somebody. And so you very often in
Doctor Who the companion is sort of the main character, not the hero, not the
one with all the cool lines, not with all the cool moments but is the hero.
The person whose story it is and how this experience changed them, you
know, we never see how the Doctor began his journey, we will probably never
see how he ends it, we’ll probably never know why he embarked on it but we
know all those companions who they were before they met the Doctor.
We know why they ran away with him and we know roughly where they
ended up. Those stories are complete the Doctor is the enigma that enters their
lives and changes them.
The story is always about the person who changes the most rather than
necessarily about the person who does the most – who effects those changes.
And our next question comes from the line of (Ann Morris) from Airlock
Alpha please proceed.
Good afternoon Steven thank you for…
…taking your time to – hello thank you for taking the time to talk with us
today. I wanted to ask you a question. You are tasked with writing stories
about some of the most iconic characters in television and literature with
And I was curious if you find it easier or more difficult or the same to write
about established iconic characters like Sherlock and Doctor Who or is it
easier to write about characters that you’ve originated.
Well in both cases – yes in both Sherlock and Doctor Who there are also
characters that, you know, we originated so actually it’s been both all the time.
I don’t think it’s a lot different it’s a slightly dull answer. Because even after
you’re created a character of your own that you’ve evolved after a very short
while that’s an existing artifact and you have to write for them.
So, you know, it’s not a lot different. I think you have to treat the characters
you create as real in a way so they have to start calling the shots. And you
have to handle characters like Sherlock Holmes and the Doctor the ones that
were given to you from before.
You have to treat those characters, I’ll get into trouble for saying this, as if
they’re your own otherwise you’re not writing them properly. You have to – I
keep saying the writers and directors that have come on to Doctor Who and
Sherlock, you know, treat it like you own it it’s not an heirloom.
It has to be – you have to be authorial even though you know in your heart it’s
not really yours you behave as though it is. So really the slightly dull answer
is there isn’t a lot of difference I don’t feel a huge amount of difference.
And our next question comes from the line of (Elizabeth Wallace) from
(Pixelated Geek) please proceed.
Elizabeth Wallace: Hello Steven thank you so much for talking to us today.
(Elizabeth Wallace): I had a quick question. With the Weeping Angels the Silence and Vashta
Nerada and now the Spoonheads you’ve created some of the most recognized
iconic monsters on Doctor Who but in all the episodes you’ve written, which
monsters were the most fun to write and why?
The ones so much fun to write I probably, I mean I’m tempted to say Weeping
Angels because I’m standing looking at one because it’s in my back garden. I
probably – the one I got the most kick out of might have been the Silence.
I loved the gimmick of the Silence you couldn’t remember them. I just thought
finding ways to employ that and finding ways to make that frightening and I
think pretty involved than I’ve used so far.
I think was a very exciting thing I (hugely) enjoyed writing the Silence. The
Weeping Angels are of course by far actually was the most popular adversary
I’ve invented and I’m sure will always be the most popular ones I’ve invented.
But they are a bugger to write because they don’t move and it’s always really
hard to work out how you’re going to do a chase scene this time.
And our next question comes from the line of (Stephanie Coats) from the
(Flickcast.com) please proceed.
Hi Steven thank you so much for talking with us today.
My question sort of goes off the last question as well talking about The Bells
of Saint John. How do the Spoonheads really compare in terms of scare factor
with villains like the Silence and the Weeping Angels?
Well that’s not really for me to say I don’t know, I never really know which
ones are going to be the big scarers and so on but I would say that I suppose
that The Bells of Saint John is an action roller coaster.
Where the Weeping Angel stories and the Silence story were more
consciously designed to be sort of scary adventures. So I think, you know, it
isn’t really up to me it’s up to the kids to say which one gives them nightmares
so I’ll not prejudge it.
I think they’re quite creepy, I think it’s a roller king adventure ride I think it’s a
cracker of an episode but let’s wait and see what the audience think.
And our next question comes from the line of (Steven Aramo) from (Sci-Fi
and TV Dock) please proceed.
Steven Aramo: Good afternoon Steven thanks for your time today.
Steven Aramo: I’m looking forward to the return of the Ice Warriors in the upcoming episodes
and I just wanted to find out what maybe was your impetus for wanting to
bring that particular villain back and what were perhaps also some of the
challenges in reimagining that old foe would you say?
The impetus really was Mark Gatiss I wasn’t that keen initially on that of
bringing the Ice Warriors back. They’ve never been any special favorite of
mine in the old series.
I thought they were good but I never quite got into them but Mark Gatiss kept
nagging me about bringing them back and then he came up with an idea,
which – I’m going to leave that as a surprise in Cold War, which really made
them come to life for me.
I think that could be brilliant. So at that point I really got into it but that was
into Mark’s creativity rather than mine. The challenge, well there were a
number of challenges I can’t talk about but one I will talk about they are far,
far less familiar to the general audience than say the Dalek or the Cybermen or
any of those things.
Where you feel you have to bring the changes a bit with the look of them
because, you know, they’re very familiar. With the ice warrior they wanted to
create a really good super duper version of the one that’s already there.
So it’s a design classic buffed up a bit for HD rather than change or revise I
would say and that was the challenge to make. The one that they designed for
the fuzzy old televisions work for the other less forgiving HD cameras of the
day so that would be the answer.
And our next question comes from the line of (Kathie Huddleston) from
(Blastr.com) please go ahead.
Hi (Kathie Huddleston) how are you doing, thanks so much for doing this.
I’m all right.
Kathie Huddleston: So as you look at these eight episodes that we have coming up what would
you say that as a writer and a producer were your biggest challenges and
Challenges and surprises did you say there you cut out for a moment.
Kathie Huddleston: Yes challenges and surprises.
Challenges and surprises. Well every episode is a challenge and I suppose one
of the most challenging in one of the episodes is the monster. You’re always a
heartbeat away from the monster looking ridiculous.
So they’re always hard. Surprises I’m not sure I mean Doctor Who is the most
exhaustingly planned show on earth. We have so little time to make one.
We make them in sort of a couple of weeks really, two weeks. So everything
is planned to the last detail and it’s relatively rare for something to surprise
you because you’ve tried to factor in every single thing that could go wrong.
I was very pleasantly surprised, a very pleasant surprise was how effectively
and realistically and compellingly I think we were able to create a submarine
for the episode Cold War.
I think they did a stunning job on that and just really, really convincing you
that you’re on board a sub. At every level I just thought that was a bit of a
It’s one of those things that you always wonder – will it just look like some
corridors – but no, the art department really sold that. Michael Pickwood had a
field day with that and it was brilliant.
And our next question comes from the line of (Charlie Anders) from (IO9)
Charlie Anders: Hi Steven it’s nice speaking to you again. I have a couple of questions. First of
all a big conflict of your era has been the Doctor needing to not be alone.
People keep telling him that he shouldn’t be alone because he’s not himself
when he’s not with a companion.
Why doesn’t he just always get a companion why does he resist that?
Well if you were told the way to heal yourself and to make yourself a better
person and function better was to permanently endanger another human being
you might be hesitant too.
He is aware that he causes damage to those people or can cause damage to
those people he travels with and he puts them in terrible danger. He’s also
aware that a relationship or a friendship for him like it or not is postponed
bereavement and it’s not even postponed that long.
You know that he will outlive them, they will die and he will be roughly the
same age. So I think those two factors make him very, very hesitant about
taking someone on board.
And also the fact that he’s a Doctor, I mean can you imagine trying to tell the
Doctor something, trying to put him right, trying to explain something to him
and have him believe you.
He generally speaking does know better than you but he always thinks he
And our next question comes from the line of (Joel Murphy) from
(hobotrashcan.com) please go ahead.
Well you’ve talked about the companions sort of in general and you talked a
little bit about, you know, what Jenna brings but I was just curious specifically
with the character of Clara how you decided that this was the companion that
you wanted to use and what the dynamic was and what drew you to her
I think when you start with a character or who is going to be the companion
you can’t think of the word companion, you can’t think that they know that
they’re a supporting character in a TV show.
You have to think this is somebody A, who would fly away in that TARDIS
and B, the Doctor would want to fly away in the TARDIS. The Doctor is quite
picky he doesn’t like everybody he’s a difficult man to deal with so it’s not
anybody that he actually formed a proper friendship with.
I don’t know what sort of person would run through those blue doors. A lot of
people would run the direction probably including me to be honest when I
discovered how dangerous it was.
So you have to imagine somebody who’s ready to say yes to running away
with a clearly insane man and ride a time machine and that is your starting
point with that character.
What point in their life are they, what decisions have they made, what worked
out and what hasn’t worked out for them that leads them to respond positively
to a travel request from a lunatic in a bow tie.
And our next question comes from the line of (Steve Sunu) from (Comic
Book Resources) please go ahead.
Hey there sir…
…thank so much for taking the call today very much appreciate it. One of the
cool things I think about The Bells of Saint John coming up is that you had a
prologue sort of premiere on the Internet that had the Doctor encounter Clara
as a small child.
And the encounter made me sort of think back to the Doctor’s first encounter
with Amy, you know, precocious child, talked to the Doctor, you know, treats
them as equals.
Was that a parallel that you sort of purposely wanted to draw for a long time
fans of the series?
I liked the idea because he had such an odd introduction to Clara, having met
her twice and lost her twice in such exotic surroundings, you know, in the
Dalek and then the governess who was also a bar maid and all that.
I sort of thought wouldn’t it be nice if we just did something quite sweet and
ordinary and something that specifically goes back to Amy, which I’ve done
twice now. It sort of keys up the fact that that relationship, whether he likes it
or not, is coming back.
And there are resemblances and I suppose I’m only a bit interested – maybe
too interested I’m sure some people would say – that in the fact that the
Doctor’s lifespan and time traveling ways means really when he knows
somebody he probably knows them over a huge amount of their life span and
a tiny span of his.
And I’m always quite interested in exploring that. He can know them as a
child, he could know them as an adult, he could know them as an old person.
I’m absolutely fascinated by that, possibly too fascinated I’m sure I should stop
repeating myself but I think that’s probably why.
Excellent well I’m looking forward to the show this weekend.
Good thank you.
And our next question comes from the line of (Jason Tabris) from
veryaware.com please proceed.
Hey Steven how are you doing?
Very well how are you?
Good, just can you talk a little bit about how Neil Cross came to be a part of
this season and also what he’s brought to the show?
Neil Cross is a writer and I knew of but I’ve never met. He’d done Luther and
books and a terrific, terrific writer I’ve actually read a script he’d written a few
We’d never quite got it together. When Caroline Skinner came on to the show
he’s an old friend, Neil Cross is an old friend of hers and she’s like I’m going
to chase him and see if we can’t work out the scheduling.
And he’s a huge Doctor Who fan, and even though in both occasions this year
he did not have the time to write an episode, he did not have the time. He leapt
at the chance to shove everything out of the way, you know, to do that.
And sort of what I’m looking for all the time, this sounds terribly snobbish and
awful but I’m looking for show runner level writers who’d give their right arm
to write a Doctor Who story that’s what I’d like.
And it’s surprising how often we get that, how often, how many of our writing
staff if I can call them that. How many of our writing team are show runners
So it was a gift to us and Neil took to it like a duck to water so it was brilliant.
And our next question comes from the line of (Sharon Eberson) from
Pittsburgh Post Gazette please go ahead.
Hi Steven thanks for talking to us…
…it is probably an exciting week and congratulations on the Peabody. I
wanted to ask just a little bit about the 50th anniversary only if that factored
into how you planned the arc of the season. I think it’s so cool that the Doctor
has sort of this long-term arc of the companion as his big mystery this season
or is part of it.
So was it when you were thinking of the 50th anniversary is that an element of
Not seriously. I mean you’re always wanting to make it special and huge and
big and I think you’re also and this is one of the things that I’m concerned
about this year and I think you’ll see that I’m concerned about it because
responded I think positively to this.
Is that the show must be seen to be going forward it’s all about the next 50
years not about the last 50 years. If you start putting a full stop on it, if you
start thinking it’s all about nostalgia then you’re finished it’s about moving
So, you know, the Doctor is moving forward as he always does and he wants
to solve the mystery of Clara, he’s not thinking about all his previous
incarnations and his previous adventures he’s thinking about the future. And
that for me is important.
The show must never feel old it must always feel brand new and a 50th
anniversary can play against that.
And our next question comes from the line of (Janice Kay) from
sciencefiction.com please proceed.
Hi Steven thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us.
Clara is such a unique companion what inspired you to just – to create here?
Were you looking at other companions going I like this part, I like this part of
this and put it all together or did someone inspire you to create that kind of
Do you mean in terms of the fact there was three of her, or what do you mean?
Well I – it’s so unique from what we’ve seen in the new series what gave you
the idea this is the one I want to challenge the Doctor as someone to – as
opposed to like Rose or Amy, that just came along?
You need someone who challenges the Doctor you need someone to throw the
Doctor into a new light, into a new relief. Amy had done it in one particular
way I think we just needed somebody who was slightly less willing.
I mean the thing about the Doctor, the Doctor is always the remote,
inaccessible, mysterious one and the companion is always the fluffy, friendly
one well Amy tested that theory from time to time.
Where at this time Clara is the slightly difficult to get to know one that is
probably going to be slightly difficult to hug and because the Doctor is
haunted by her and met her twice before he is slightly the needy one.
So I like throwing in that around, she’s the unsolvable mystery in the enigma
and he’s the one chasing after her. It’s a reversal of the normal Doctor
companion dynamic, which I’ve been rather enjoying.
And our next question comes from the line of (Joe Dilworth) from Pop
Culture Zoo please proceed.
Hi Steven thanks for your time today.
Now obviously any anniversary is going to make one look back at the
beginnings of whatever it is you’re celebrating and one of the big components
early on in Doctor Who were the purely historical adventures where there was
no extraterrestrial monster or villain.
The bad guy was someone that actually used to exist. Do you think the – a
purely historical adventure would be possible in the new series?
I don’t think it’s impossible but I’m going to put my cards on the table and I
didn’t think those historical adventures were very good I didn’t like them, I
thought they were dull.
And so far as I remember them as a kid I couldn’t wait for them to be over so
we could get back to proper Sci-Fi. Just to be honest they weren’t my
That doesn’t mean that we won’t come up with a story that is historical but,
you know, I think they were discarded for a reason and even before they were
discarded they were always reduced to only four-part stories.
They were regarded as the lesser element of the show. I think if you’ve got
this glittering man and his extraordinary space time machine just having him
visit the past isn’t enough I don’t think it is.
There has to be something as extraordinary as he is otherwise it’s like, you
know, Sherlock Holmes investigating crimes it’s just not enough for our hero.
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