The Doctor Who selfie: Behind the scenes

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Aug 28, 2014, 4:57 PM EDT (Updated)

How do you explain duckface to a Time Lord? While it may not be the first time such a question presented itself to someone, it was certainly new to me. 

I was backstage at Wizard World Chicago Comic Con with Matt Smith and Karen Gillan as a couple thousand fans waited beyond the curtains. My job as host for this Sunday morning was to bring the Eleventh Doctor and companion Amy Pond out for an hour and 15 minutes of Doctor Who nerd-out. But before we could take our seats on the cushy black leather sofas, there was duckface work to be done. 

Gillan is starring in the new ABC sitcom Selfie this fall. The show is a modern take on My Fair Lady in which the actress portrays a social-media-obsessed narcissist try to rehab her image.

To jokingly celebrate the pilot currently streaming before the show’s Sept. 30 premiere, I suggested we take a selfie along with the entire Chicago crowd when we took the stage. It was Gillan’s suggestion to add the duckface. But when she stepped away, it was my job to reveal the plan to Smith -- who isn’t terribly present on social media.

"What's duckface?" he asked.

So how do you describe duckface to an actor who has seen it all as an ancient time-traveling alien character? You just got to show it.

“You just push your lips together like so, and look ridiculous.”

Smith, who I’ve seen do drunken giraffe walks, sing the Doctor Who theme song and generally be up for any kind of silliness, caught on fast. And the result is this picture: the duckface selfie of a Doctor, Companion and moderator (me) in front of a lot of amused fans also ducking out. Then I tweeted it out, and it suddenly started exploding online and getting picked up elsewhere.

You’re welcome, Internet.