We’re now just a few weeks away from the Doctor Who Christmas special, “Twice Upon a Time,” which will see Peter Capaldi give his final performance as the Doctor, before being replaced by Jodie Whittaker. Let’s cast our minds back to January for a moment, though, and recall the shock we felt when the actor first announced that he was leaving the sci-fi series after three seasons.
The news brought tears to the eyes of many a Doctor Who fan, and apparently the man himself as well. While chatting with Radio Times, presenter Jo Whiley spoke about Capaldi’s exit announcement, which came during an interview he gave on her BBC Radio 2 show.
“The fact that he chose to come on our show – and I remember saying to my producer, ‘Peter just wants to come on the show and talk about Doctor Who? That’s great, but any idea why? Bit random, but brilliant. I love him, and I love Doctor Who, it’s fantastic!’
And then he came and sat there and kept saying all the time ‘When am I finished? When do you want me to leave?’ Obviously he was just trying to work out when within the hour he should drop the bombshell. And then he just kind of casually let it into the conversation. I remember just trying to compute – ‘did you just say what I think you just said? Are you actually leaving?’
“And his eyes were just brimming with tears, and it was obviously a hugely big deal for him. A very emotional experience to tell everyone that this was it, that this was his time to move on. And I felt really privileged that he decided to do it on the show.”
It’s fair enough that Capaldi was overcome with emotion as he made the big announcement. He’s a lifelong Doctor Who fan, remember, so making the decision to leave his dream role must have been a tough one. In fact, you can hear how much the move affected him in the clip below:
When Whiley caught up with Capaldi during the filming for the Christmas special, though, she found him in a completely different mood from when he announced his exit. On set, Whiley says the actor was a true professional, though she suspects he might have found it emotional once work on his final Doctor Who episode was complete.
“I think he’s past that now. I got the impression that dropping the bombshell and telling everyone that he’s leaving was the difficult bit, the really really difficult bit. And actually acting it out, he was being the actor, and he wanted to do it to the very best of his abilities. I think it was kind of the relief of announcing he was moving on – and it was all about giving the viewers the best that he could, just making the best exit, and making that show just right for the viewers. Maybe at the very end of the day after we’d left, I’m sure when they finally went to say goodbye to each other it was emotional.”
Be sure to catch Doctor Who “Twice Upon a Time” on BBC One/America on Christmas Day.