Tales from the Tardis: Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, and Alex Kingston on Doctor Who

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As part of New York Comic Con 2016, on Thursday, October 6, Doctor Who stars Matt Smith (Eleventh Doctor), Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald) and Alex Kingston (River Song) took to the Main Stage at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center to discuss their favorite scenes, episodes, characters and stories from the popular BBC show, which is now in production for its tenth season. Check out the highlights from the “Tales from the Tardis” panel below.
[title type=”h4″]
On Their Favorite Version of the Tardis[/title]

Jenna Coleman: “I love the diner.”

Alex Kingston: “I love the Tardis as it is … Peter Capaldi’s Tardis is the most fun to fly. … David Tennant’s Tardis was a little too organic for me. I felt like I was inside a pumpkin.”

Matt Smith: “I prefer the old Tardis, the first one I had.”

[title type=”h4″]On the First Episode of Doctor Who That They Had Ever Seen[/title]

Coleman: “’The Eleventh Hour.’ I was very late to the party.”

Kingston: “I can’t tell you the first one I saw. It makes me as old as John Hurt. … I think the very first episode I ever watched was the William Hartnell episode. … But I remember being terrified because there was an episode where these were these sort of toy soldiers who were walking through this weird wood and the Doctor was not called the Doctor; he was called ‘Grandfather’ and it was his granddaughter who was his companion. And it absolutely terrified me, and I’ll never forget that. ”

Smith: “I have sort of a vague memory of seeing a Dalek go down a corridor on the telly. [The show’s] engraved in your mind, in your fabric. But I really started watching it proper with Christopher Eccleston.”

Fun Fact: Before taking on the role of Clara in her various incarnations, Jenna Coleman had originally auditioned for the part of Mels.

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[title type=”h4″]On the Importance and Cultural Influence of Doctor Who[/title]

Kingston: “Because the show is so much a part of the English culture, anybody who has an opportunity to be on the show—it is a big deal because it’s something, in a funny sort of way, that you imagine will never happen to you but somehow is so much part of everybody’s life in England. [The show is] as part of our life as the queen is in a way. … It’s like, ‘Oh my god, I’ve sewn my own thread in this incredible cultural blanket.”

Coleman: “I think it’s because everyone’s got a story about it, where everyone’s got, ‘I remember when I was 12 and that was my Doctor,’ and ‘Who was your Doctor’—so everyone’s got that sort of reference point.”

[title type=”h4″]On Their Favorite Episode/Scene to Film[/title]

Kingston: “Outside of the episodes I was involved in, I have a special affection for the Van Gogh episode. The ending always makes me cry.”

Smith: “I quite like the really domestic scenes [with the companions].”

Fun Fact: Steven Moffat wrote all of River Song’s episodes because he refused to let other writers write her character.

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[title type=”h4″]
On the Episode/Scene They Would Want to Go Back and Examine Again[/title]

Smith: “[speaking to Kingston] Remember when you shot the fez? I was thinking about that.”

Coleman: “All of it. It all goes really quick.”

Kingston: “The weeping angels—[the episode] when we were in the wood. …It was so scary and atmospheric and I didn’t want it to end.”

Fun Fact: The forest inside the crashed ship that’s depicted in “Flesh and Stone” was not a set; it’s a real forest in England, the Forest of Dean, that allegedly inspired Shakespeare’s forest scenes in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and J.R.R. Tolkein’s forests of Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings.

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Weeping Angels in “Flesh and Stone”

[title type=”h4″]On Being the Doctor[/title]

Smith: “Unlike other characters, where you have to go through A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and you go through the letters of the alphabet, and they have these different colors—but with the Doctor, you can jump from A to Zed without really having to explain the other letters, and I think this is a really amazing and liberating thing to have in front of you as an actor. Once you commit to that idea, you can really jump around all the plethora of emotions the Doctor has. … The Doctor is the most interesting character I’ve played.”

[title type=”h4″]On Working with Steven Moffat[/title]

Kingston: “Steven Moffat’s scripts are page-turners because he’s a genius at what he does. They’re gold dust. … I think why the show is so beloved is because Steven writes about love, and love in all its forms. I think if you follow the show, you absorb that … I think that essentially Doctor Who is about love.”

[title type=”h4″]If They Could Play Another Character in the Russell T. Davies Era…[/title]

Smith: “I’d play the Master.”

Coleman: “The first thing that came to mind was—what was the character who was the skin?”

[title type=”h4″]On Which Former Companion They Would Have Liked to Work With[/title]

Smith: “Billie [Piper]. She is my friend and I like her.”

Kingston: “I definitely would have liked to work with Billie for sure … I thought River and Rose are similar in terms of their love for the Doctor and his love for them.”

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Billie Piper as Rose Tyler

[title type=”h4″]On the Appeal of Doctor Who to New, Younger Audiences in America[/title]

Kingston: “We’ve been very fortunate in England with the BBC primarily, but also with our commercial channels as well—they’ve always been very, very good about creating children’s programming. So aside from Doctor Who, we actually have children’s news programs that have won awards, that are absolutely brilliant … One thing that I was always aware of when I was in the States was that I feel really positive children’s television—in terms of educating, challenging—is sort of lacking here. You have Sesame Street, but a lot of it is about consumerism, pop culture … I think there is an enormous hole that needs to be filled with really good children’s television … I think that’s why Doctor Who has taken off so phenomenally here; it’s because children are given something that they can really invest themselves in, that it makes them think, it makes them a little scared. … I hope in a way this incredible acceptance and devouring of our show might lead people to investigate and write new, interesting content in the States as well.”

[title type=”h4″]Was Clara a Good or Bad Teacher?[/title]

Coleman: “I think she was a good teacher, I mean, she took them in the Tardis—school trips! Space trips!”

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[title type=”h4″]What Would Dr. River Song Be Like as a Teacher?[/title]

Kingston: “I think she’d be like Ms. Frizzle—in fact, I think she is Ms. Frizzle!”

[title type=”h4″]And What About the Eleventh Doctor as a Teacher?[/title]

Smith: “Absolutely horrendous. Chaos. He’d be eating the crayons.”

[title type=”h4″]On a Bit of Clumsiness in the Timey-Wimey Universe[/title]

Coleman: “I broke the Tardis on my first day.”

Kingston: “[to Smith] You just constantly broke props.”

Smith: “Constantly broke props, yeah. Clumsiness is a disease. I am Matt and I am clumsy.”

Fun Fact: Matt Smith broke four sonic screwdrivers during his tenure as the Doctor.

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