Prior to release, Whovians were left on tenterhooks as Steven Moffat et al. cast doubt over Mackie’s potential role. The outgoing showrunner was naturally trying to keep any and all story details under wraps, particularly as “Twice Upon a Time” signaled the long-awaited changeover involving Peter Capaldi and Jodie Whittaker, who will now lead Doctor Who into 2018.
But as Moffat tells Doctor Who: The Fan Show (via ComicBook.com), Bill Potts wasn’t always a part of last week’s festive special, and was only written into the bittersweet episode mid-way through development.
I was 20 pages into the script and I was slightly stuck. And I thought: ‘I just want to hear what Bill’s got to say.’ I had been so used to writing Bill, and she’d been such an invigorating, exciting presence throughout series 10, I just thought I feel it is wasted, the Doctor meeting his older/younger self, and all his political incorrectness. It is wasted, if Bill does not witness this and comment on this. And if she doesn’t instantly work out who that is to the Doctor’s horror, if Bill doesn’t explain certain aspects of her modern life to the First Doctor, it is wasted.
And thank heavens he did. Flanked by other Doctor Who companions like Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) and Nardole (Matt Lucas), Bill Potts returned to witness Capaldi’s final hour as the Time Lord, which only ramped up the emotion.
Well, the grand finale to my time on Doctor Who was “The Doctor Falls,” and that was the Doctor stating his case and choosing a hill to die on.” Moffat told ComicBook.com earlier this week. “That was our grand finale. But we had the awkward business that Chris [Chibnall] didn’t want to start with the Christmas episode, quite rightly. So, there was the momentary possibility there wouldn’t be any Christmas episode, so I suggested that I do the Christmas episode and talked Peter [Capaldi] into doing one more so that Doctor Who wouldn’t lose the slot.
It was a fitting end to an unforgettable season, and Moffat went on to highlight the theme of resurrection and how it’s woven into the fabric of “Twice Upon a Time,” no thanks to the inclusion of David Bradley’s First Doctor.
Having done that, of course, we had the problem of doing the grand finale plus an hour. And so it’s a different kind of story. It’s a story about the Twelfth Doctor, the Doctor himself at the end of his life, thinking, ‘I don’t know if I can keep doing this, I’m tired,’ and finding the strength to carry on. You see, it’s a Christmas story resurrection for both him and for the First Doctor who’s in the same mental state. So they both have to convince each other that one more regeneration is possible. So it’s that kind of story.
Doctor Who will be back on our screens late next year when Jodie Whittaker will spearhead a brand new season. Her companion? Bradley Walsh of The Chase.