For Peter Capaldi, taking over the lead in Season 8 of “Doctor Who” is one of the most special moments of his career and life. After all, he’s been watching the show since he was five years old.
Capaldi was joined by Jenna-Louise Coleman and showrunner Steven Moffat for a press conference at the “Doctor Who” world tour event in New York City. Speaking to Zap2it and other outlets about the experience of being the Doctor and a fan, he says, “I have to say, the moment when I had my first conversation with a Dalek was extraordinary. You sort of think you know all about Daleks and you’ve watched them since you were a kid.”
That all changes when you’re acting opposite them, though. “It’s not giving anything away to say there’s a man inside a Dalek. And also there’s another man with a control box controlling all the lights. And there’s another man who does the voice who stands around the corner,” he says.
Capaldi was excited to rehearse his first Dalek scene, that is until he realized he’d be reading with the Dalek operator Barnaby Edwards, minus the metal costume. “He said, ‘My eye is at the exact same height as the Daleks eye. So if you look into my eyes, you’re looking into the eye of a Dalek’,” Capaldi remembers.
The technique worked well enough, but eventually the big moment arrived. “Finally, they brought the prop and [Dalek voice] Nick [Briggs] … got his microphone out,” Capaldi says. “Then the man started operating the switch and suddenly he went [in Dalek voice] ‘Doctor!'” (It should be noted that even without a voice modifier, Capaldi’s Dalek impression is surprisingly accurate.)
“I actually swore with delight,” he says of his first Dalek encounter. “It’s pretty amazing, then it goes off and bumps into walls.” Moffat jokingly adds, “You really don’t want to see Dalek outtakes.”
The showrunner has a different memory in mind for when Capaldi unleashed his inner-fanboy. “I know the moment when you felt it, I think,” he says. “It’s when you go, ‘Cybermen!’ and I thought, ‘Oh yes, this man is happy.'”
A Season 8 set photo has already shown an army of Cybermen, so look forward to what will surely be a memorable showdown with the Doctor.
“Doctor Who” Season 8 premieres Saturday, Aug. 23, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on BBC America.