It’s fair to say there was an uproar from the more vocal members of the Doctor Who community when comedian Matt Lucas was announced to be appearing full time in season 10. The actor first turned up in 2015’s Christmas special as the bumbling, rubber-faced Nardole, and the naysayers were not happy about having such an overtly comedic character remain on board the TARDIS.
While chatting to Digital Spy, Lucas has said that he understands why some Doctor Who viewers were in uproar about his casting, as he admits that he gave “a very broad performance” in his first episode.
“When we first saw Nardole in ‘The Husbands of River Song’, it was a very broad character and I did a very broad performance. It was a Christmas special and they’re always a bit lighter, and I just thought it was a cameo – I didn’t think anything more of it. Then when it was announced that I was coming back, I think people, understandably, thought, ‘He’s gonna do that throughout the series?!'”
“If I’d had the exposure that I’d had, but in drama rather than comedy, I think it would’ve been easier for me. But because the things I was known for were just straight out-and-out comedy, people were unhappy about it, and I understood that.
However, Lucas was keen to avoid repeating this style once he knew that Nardole would appear each and every week and further in the interview, he praised Moffat’s scripts for allowing the character to become more “emotionally responsive,” saying:
“When the character came back, I still wanted to bring a bit of levity to the show, but at the same time, I couldn’t keep that [previous performance] up, because people would be throwing bricks at their TV sets…
“It was a real gift from Steven Moffat, and his great team of writers, to have a character that can be silly and grumpy… but at the same time can tune in emotionally, and become more emotionally responsive as the series goes through.”
Finally, the actor said that he hopes his revised performance managed to sway the haters into giving him a fair chance.
“So my job was just to keep my head down and just do the best I could do, and I either prove them right or wrong. I hope…. I get the sense that people – not everyone – but I get the sense that some of the doubters, in the end, appreciated what I contributed to the show.”
The last time we saw Nardole, in the season 10 finale, he left the Doctor’s side to become a hero in his own right as he escorted a band of orphans away from a marauding army of Cybermen and to safety. That seemed to be the end of his story on the show, but it’s still possible that Nardole could return in the upcoming Christmas special alongside Pearl Mackie’s Bill Potts.
Tell us, were you a fan of Nardole’s role in season 10 of Doctor Who? Let us know in the comments section below.