Following the explosive and emotional season 10 finale of Doctor Who, there was plenty to talk about with the cast and crew of the BBC America series at Comic-Con, and in addition to speaking with Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie, Daily Dead was honored to take part in roundtable interviews with showrunner Steven Moffat, writer (and co-star) Mark Gatiss, and co-stars Michelle Gomez and Matt Lucas.

You both have really intense moments in the last episode of the series. Can you talk about the emotions going through each of your respective characters' heads while you were dealing with these really intense sequences?  

Michelle Gomez: That this is the last time I'll do this, the last time I'll say this, that's the last time I'll do that, that's the last time I'll say this, and for those last few weeks, the series was a kind of sadnesses—is that a word? Sadnesses? Sadni.

Matt Lucas: Sadni.

Michelle Gomez: Sadni. It's a series of sadni that kept happening.

Can you both talk about your roles in the series and how they developed from when you first appeared on the show?

Matt Lucas: When we first saw Nardole in the Husbands of Riversong, it was a very broad character and I did a very broad performance because it was a Christmas special and they're always a bit lighter. I just thought this was a cameo in Doctor Who. I didn't really think anything more of it, but when the character came back, I thought, "Oh, I still want to try and bring a bit of levity to the show, but at the same time, I can't keep that up because people would be throwing bricks at their TV sets."

Gradually, I was able to explore more texture in the writing and there's a bit at the end of "Oxygen" in that scene where we learn the Doctor's line may not be as temporary as we thought, where Nardole is really chewing him out over the need to go up a volt. Then you see another side to him. It was a real gift from Steven Moffat and his great team of writers to have a character that can be silly and grumpy and say something like, "Death by Scotland" in "The Eaters of Light," but at the same time, can tune in emotionally and become more emotionally responsive as the series goes through. As an actor, I don't often get those opportunities. I tend to run from them. This one lured me in because I was just silly Nardole, the funny alien, robot hybrid, but by the end, I got to play real emotion.

Michelle Gomez: By the end, he was Ian McKellen.

Matt Lucas: I was Sir Ian McKellen himself. I was Dame Wendy Hiller by the end. What about you

Michelle Gomez: Well, I'm not sure I buy into the redemption of Missy entirely, because it was quite a challenge to hand over the evil to the goodness. It was difficult not to go there when you're faced with Peter's face. Peter is all about instinct and truth and really being in that moment and not overthinking it too much—really just going with what that energy on the day. Gradually, Missy's notion of evil did start to drift more into an element of goodness.

Jumping from that, what was it like working with John Simm?  

Michelle Gomez: Well, that's the thing, you know? When you present a version of yourself that you enjoy dancing with and loving and kissing and just generally being wrong with, it was a sort of lovefest of me in the shape of John Simm. It was fun. It was silly. It was odd, weird, and a little bit wrong.

It's that tug of war that we all have, you know? When those voices in our head are a little alive at times and we don't know which one to go with and which one is going to win out. It was a version of that that was interesting to play as an acting challenge I suppose. John and I just fell into sync with each other. Again, it's all on the page, so there's really not that much more for us to do than just to honor what Steve has mapped out for us. Steve, the thing that Stevie M has mapped out for us. As they say, have some fun with it and not overthink it because it's all there for us. It was fun. It was good.

How has fan response been towards your characters? Has anything stood out?  

Michelle Gomez: It's always positive. It's gloriously accepting and generous, and it's very supporting and encouraging.

Matt Lucas: Mine was a different story because I was very broad in "Husbands of River Song," and then when it was announced that I was coming back, I think people understandably thought, "He's going to do that throughout the series?" Also, I think there was another thing, which everyone has to some extent, but I think specifically in some parts of the world, I did this other show, Little Britain, which is a very broad comedy. People just thought, "Oh no," because they don't want to look at a character necessarily, an actor in Doctor Who and have such a very clear memory of them from other things. Everyone in Doctor Who has a lot of great credits. Michelle and John and Pete all have, but I definitely felt, because of the things that I'm known for, if I'd had the exposure that I've had but in drama rather than comedy, I think it would've been easier for me. Because the things I was known for were just straight out and out comedy, people were unhappy about it. I understood that and so may job was to just keep my head down and just do the best I could do and either prove them right or wrong.

From each of you, of all the scenes you've filmed, what stands out to you most as an actor, or which moment are you most proud of getting to accomplish on the series?  

Michelle Gomez: It could be the very first moment when I was on set, or the very last moment because it just sort of tops and tails the whole experience for me. Also, they're equally emotional in their own sense for different reasons. Yeah, probably that last scene where the Doctor is talking to John and I, to both of us, and sort of mailing us in a way and holding us accountable for what evil does and why it's actually not that powerful a force. That was kind of hard. It was hard to stay evil in that moment.

What are the emotions you’ve been feeling as you’re wrapping up your final episode of the show?

Steven Moffat: Fine. I mean, at this moment I haven't experienced the melancholy part, because I'm still on the job. I'm still doing it. Hey, look where I am. The other thing is, honestly, when we stopped shooting the Christmas special, I hadn't known how stressed I'd been since 2009. When that all lifted from me, I just got, I don't feel like I've got my head in a vice anymore. I'm not timing how much of a TV program I'm watching is left and can I really afford those 15 minutes or can I go to bed later.

I'm not scheduling my entire life to death in order to be able do the work I've got to do. So at the moment I'm quite happy. Sad, I'm sure, in the future, but right now, bloody hell. Is this how the rest of you live? How marvelous.

Is there one villain that you haven't had a chance to work with that you really wanted to showcase in an episode or arc?

Steven Moffat: Well, not really, because I've done so many. I wish maybe I had done more with the Autons. I really liked them and I think I should have done some more with the Cylons cause that was a good idea and I didn't revisit and I don't really know why I didn't because those were good monsters. But, you know, I did 42 episodes. I wrote more than that, co-wrote, probably the same again, re-wrote, and I think I've covered everything. I think it was time to go. Except the Chumblies. Bring back the Chumblies.

Do you think there is something to being Doctor Who beyond just learning your lines and just turning up on set to do your job? Is there an extra layer to it? 

Steven Moffat: Emphatically, and it goes on for the rest of your life. You will always be an ambassador for the show and I remember we were saying that when Matt Smith took over, he said you'll be Who until your last autograph. And we don't mean for the next three years, we mean for the rest of your life. And I remember Matt saying, " Imagine how awful it would be if somebody got to carry the memory that Doctor Who was mean to you. You'd remember it on your death bed. You'd be thinking about it, so you have to be Doctor Who forever; and nobody who has ever played the doctor, thought, Am I contractually obliged to do this? No, It's a role for life. It shows you how things have changed.

Mark Gatiss: I remember distinctly reading that Tom Baker had given up smoking in the streets, because he couldn't bear the idea of children seeing him. Things have slightly changed, but it's the same principle, isn't it? It's an ambassadorial role.

Steven Moffat: Absolutely it is.

What do you think your proudest moment being able to incorporate in the new series has been and what have you felt has been your defining element that you've introduced in your writing?

Steven Moffat: Me just being allowed to be a part of it. It's still extraordinary to be part of this massive tapestry. It's like living inside the pages of the making of Doctor Who. We decided to go at the heights of his powers and Harry in turns wants to move on. It's just like a sort of Holy writ and then it sort of happens to you and you go, "Oh, it was just people and friendships and relationships and it's just like that." Just being a part of it has been incredible.

I guess of all the shows—we made around fifty or so—that was some phenomenal television there. I can now say that. The 50th anniversary is a lovely film. All of the stuff we did was brilliant. We carried off that fifty. We absolutely nailed it. No one thought we would and we did and it was great and I'm incredibly proud of that. It was hell. It was living hell. It was good.

What would you say the biggest challenges were for the show, writing or acting?

Mark Gatiss: It sort of depends. The Christmas special, which is a huge honor and treat, but it was a beautiful script, so all I had to think about was how to play the part and just stop squealing and look long enough to get the lines out. And they're there all the time anyways as co-exec[utive producers], so sometimes you can literally just massage a line or a scene. I don't think Michael would say that today, because I can't remember it. Sometimes he's quite a practical thinker. It's just depends on the project, really.

What were some of the logistics of handing it over to a new team? Was there a process for handing over your notes and files?

Steven Moffat: It's like handing over any job. Chris is incredibly fastidious about not wanting to look around behind me ready to knife me in the back, and I never felt that. I just said you're absolutely welcome to be there anytime you want. I have no problem with it at all. He's a good friend, but it was just literally–well, there was one big glitch, which was Christmas. I wanted to leave. I was going to leave at the end of series 10 and I had my finale planned and what I wanted to do with it. I had a good notion of that and there I learned at a drinks event somewhere, which probably accounts for the whole thing, that Kristin wanted to start with Christmas and so that meant we were going to skip Christmas and there would be no Christmas special and we would have lost that slot. Doctor Who would have lost that slot if we hadn't been. So I said, probably four glasses of red wine in, I'll do Christmas and then work out how you can get mortally injured in one episode. I spent an hour regenerating on Christmas day, which I hopefully had–kill a children's favorite at Christmas.

*Above photo by Kevin Winter.


In case you missed it, check out our Comic-Con 2017 coverage hub for all of our news and features from San Diego, including our roundtable interviews with Doctor Who co-stars Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie.