Sunday July 23, 2017 was the last day of the San Diego Comic Con for this year. Out of all the panels featured over the past few days, it was Doctor Who that ultimately headlined the entire show. While that panel focused on Peter Capaldi’s final season, there was a second Doctor Who panel two days earlier focusing on the classic series.
This Classic Who panel featured Peter Davison (5th Doctor,) Sophie Aldred (Ace,) and Colin Baker (6th Doctor.) The panel was hosted by Kyle Anderson, associate editor at Nerdist.com. After a brief introduction, the first question was about the panel’s reaction to the new Doctor. Colin and Sophie both expressed their elation at having a woman in the role of the iconic Time Lord. While Peter addressed the naysayers, saying that we shouldn’t cast them aside, but encourage them to give Jodie Whittaker a chance before casting judgment.
Soon, the fans were allowed to ask their questions with the first one being which episode of Doctor Who was their favorite. Colin’s was the Two Doctors where he and second Doctor, Patrick Troughton teamed up. Peter’s favorite was a tie between Earthshock and the Caves of Androzani. Sophie revealed her favorite two are Remembrance of the Daleks and Curse of Fenric.
After a few more fan questions, Peter announced that his daughter Georgia Moffet, who played the Doctor’s Daughter (and then went on to marry David Tennant,) Jenny, will be bring the character back in a few Big Finish audio performances.
And the big Classic Who news is that BritBox, a service that streams all British shows, comedies and dramas, for a monthly fee, are producing telesnap recreations of episodes missing from the late 60’s, early 70’s. They showed a clip from Wheel of Time, a story where some of the episodes are thought lost forever.
That about wrapped it up for the Classic Doctor Who panel. Now fast forward two days and we arrive at the main Doctor Who panel. This time, the panel was hosted by Chris Hardwick (The Walking Dead, and about a thousand other things,) and featured Mark Gatiss, Michelle Gomez, Matt Lucas, Pearl Mackie, Steven Moffat, and Peter Capaldi.
They begin by talking about the upcoming Christmas episode and how David Bradley is so good at portraying not only the First Doctor but William Hartnell himself. “Put it in black and white,” Moffat said “And you could fool people.”
Pearl spoke about how she had a great time playing Bill Potts and let everyone know that this upcoming Christmas episode would be the last appearance of the character. Chris Hardwick asked her “What did you learn about Bill throughout the filming of the series. How was she different in the end?” “She was a Cyberman.” Bill said “…One of the things I really like about her, she’s very strong minded and she really believes in what she does and I think she does everything quite deliberately, then accidentally she’ll sort of wander off and nearly get dragged off into a puddle.” Referring to Heather the Pilot girl who saved Bill from being a Cyberman.”
Next, Chris addresses Matt Lucas who explained that he had been a fan of Doctor Who since he was a child. “Then at thirteen, they stopped making it.” Matt said, referring to the show going on hiatus back in 1989 then talking about how the Chirstmas episodes are a slightly different beast compared to the regular season shows. “They’re a bit lighter and bolder.” he says, mainly to keep the post-Christmas turkey dinner viewers awake.
Then it was Michelle Gomez’s turn to speak. She described the “tug-of-war” inside Missy. Examining the dynamics of playing an evil character who wanted to try out being good for a change. “Should I do something good?” she said “Or should I do something bad? Obviously, I’m going to do something bad. The pull to darkness was too strong.” She wanted to flesh out her character and not be just some two-dimensional character, and the arc about her turning good helped make that happen. Gomez also spoke about how much she loved working alongside John Simm.
Mark Gattiss, writer, director, and actor in various Doctor Who episodes including the upcoming Christmas episode had his turn next. He didn’t speak for long, but did say how much has loved being a part of the show.
Steven Moffat addressed the, what he called, non-existant backlash over casting Jodie Whittaker as the next Doctor. “There has been no backlash, at all,” he said “Eighty percent approval on social media!” Adding that most of the negativity is being perpetuated by people who want to make something out of nothing.
Peter Capaldi went down the line praising each person on stage with him. Then Chris Hardwick asked him how he felt about his Doctor. “I love him!” Peter said “He’s my favorite Doctor. …I never grew up thinking would I like to play the Doctor. I just thought the Doctor was the most amazing character that I could see.”
Chris then brings up one of the most controversial things to come out of the latest season; whether or not his name is The Doctor or Doctor Who. The issue had been addressed in the eleventh episode of season 10. Steven Moffat put it like this “If you take continuity seriously, and be honest you all do, there isn’t any doubt to this. It was established in the (First Doctor story) War Machines that his name was Doctor Who.” and that “The third Doctor drove a car with the word WHO on the license plate. He is not a master of subtlety.”
Next came the fan questions. The first one asked Peter what he thought was his most iconic moment. Peter described having to look out of a TARDIS that is getting smaller and smaller from the episode Flatline.
After a few more questions…Peter Capaldi finished off the panel with a speech about how despite the sometimes cheesy special effects and rubber monsters, the best part about Doctor Who has been all the brilliant actors that have been on the show and have shown nothing but complete determination to their roles.
There was not much said or revealed about Jodie Whittaker or what her Doctor will be like. This panel was mostly a sendoff for Peter Capaldi and the Steven Moffat era of Doctor Who. These people, these series, and the episodes within will not be soon forgotten. Peter Capaldi and his portrayal of the twelfth Doctor were nothing short of excellence, and the man is getting the heartfelt goodbye he deserves.