The showrunner was appearing at the Doctor Who: Anatomy of a hit event alongside his fellow executive producer Brian Minchin, producer Nikki Wilson, director of Deep Breath Ben Wheatley and special effects producer Rob Mayor, to discuss how the twelfth Doctor emerged from script to screen.
Moffat said how the casting of Peter Capaldi had been inevitable as soon as the name was mentioned. We announced the actor to a nation who already knew.. He agreed that the casting of an older Doctor may have unsettled the audience that had grown up with David Tennant and Matt Smith in the role. We definitely ruffled their feathers by changing the actors. Shows don’t die when they change, they die when they are comfortable. If you’re watching it saying I’m appalled! Well then, you’re still watching it!
He said casting for Danny Pink had been very difficult because all the actors who auditioned had been so good. He said making Doctor Who is always difficult because each story is so different. The terrifying thing is you discover at the start of every new show that you’ve learnt nothing in making Doctor Who.
Steven Moffat said he felt no guilt about lying about the return of the Master at an event for the launch of Deep Breath. It would have ruined the surprise. Because the reveal was filmed outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London the actors mimed their lines and recorded the dialog later. To try to keep the secret the team even went to the trouble of recoding as scene where Missy identifies herself as a Random Access Neural Interface, hoping fans would pick up on the acronym and spread the word that the Rani was returning. Whenever I arrange skullduggery, no-one ever notices.
Moffat revealed he has tried the misdirection trick before, with similar success. When we did Day of the Doctor, we went to the trouble of having John Hurt’s character referred to as Omega throughout. Is nobody stealing scripts these days?
Moffat was asked about the killing of Osgood in the final episode, defending it as necessary. I was aware that the Master as a character gets cuddly very fast. If we’re going to bring her back, she’s got to kill someone in a. horrible way. Otherwise she becomes a slightly more naughty Doctor
Director Ben Wheatley said he was disappointed by the leaking of unfinished early episodes from Series 8 onto the internet as some fans first view of the new Doctor would be in an unfinished episode. The leaked version of Deep Breath was in Black and White. Steven Moffat admited, as a fan, he would have looked. I would have had to go and look. It would have ruined it for myself, but it was a new Doctor..
The showrunner was asked about the audience reaction to Series eight, in particular perceived falling ratings. The figures are the same – they’re just the same, he said. If by ‘ratings’, you mean the number of people who watch the show… they are the same. The number of people who watch on Doctor Who on iPlayer has trebled. The way people watch it has changed but viewing figures have remained the same.. Brian Minchin also pointed out how well the show is doing globally now, for example the audience watching on BBC America is up 30 percent since Capaldi took over the role of the Doctor.
The team are now working on preparation for Series Nine, with Steven Moffat currently writing episode One. The list of writers has been decided but the details are secret for now.
A full set of pictures from the event is on the RTS Facebook page