Why Peter Capaldi thought his Doctor Who audition was 'a disaster'

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Aug 11, 2014, 1:38 PM EDT (Updated)

Actor Peter Capaldi -- who was recently seen making life miserable (and that's how we like it) for the King of France’s Musketeers as the deliciously villainous Cardinal Richelieu on the BBC's excellent drama series The Musketeers -- revealed that he thought his Doctor Who audition was “a disaster.”

During the Q&A session following the premiere of “Deep Breath” -- which is, of course, the very first episode of Doctor Who's upcoming eighth season -- at the BFI, the Torchwood actor (if you guys will recall, Capaldi played the doomed John Forbisher in the magnificent Torchwood: Children of Earth and was also Caecilius in the 2008 Doctor Who episode "The Fires of Pompeii," alongside Tenth Doctor David Tennant) spoke about his lack of confidence during his audition for the role of the beloved Time Lord, which took place at showrunner Steven Moffat's house.

Moffat, who was of course also on hand, had this to say, with Capaldi chipping in to the conversation:

“We got Peter round to my house to do an audition and he was fantastic, though he had a Catweazle beard from The Musketeers..." remembered Steven Moffat, before being interrupted by Capaldi, who told him, "The funny thing I didn’t tell you is that I thought when we did it that was a disaster. I thought I’d done it so badly and I was so - to use a popular phrase - out of the loop. But I’d enjoyed the experience so much that I thought, if that’s as far as it goes, that’s worth it.”

So what was the scene Capaldi auditioned with? Here’s what Moffat had to say:

“I did three daft scenes", Moffat said, "and they weren’t really intended to be any attempt at a twelfth Doctor. There was a scene based on an old Christopher Eccleston scene, a scene based on an old David Tennant scene, and a scene based on an old Matt Smith scene. They were just nonsense, because one of the things you’re going to have to do – I hate to say this, sorry Peter after all these months of doing this – but you have to be able to talk absolute insanity as if you really mean it, without a hint of irony. Unlike Peter said, I could show you that footage and he was fantastic. Obviously it’s him, look at him, he’s been rehearsing in his bedroom since the age of four!”

We'd SOOO love to see that footage! Make it so, Mr. Moffat! Okaypleasethanks! Then Capaldi added:

“You wrote a very hilarious, I thought, regeneration scene in which the Doctor couldn’t see his face but kept questioning Clara about it," Capaldi added, laughing, "I kept saying ‘How’s the face, does it look good?’ and she was going ‘it’s okay’, ‘what do you mean okay? Is it old?’ and she couldn’t say.”

Now, there's reason to believe that the scene right here below is the one Peter Capaldi was acting with for his Doctor Who audition. It was reprinted in July of last year by Radio Times, who plucked it from the printed copy of Doctor Who Magazine. It’s rather hilarious, as you'll see. Have a look:


The new Doctor is checking out the new body. Clara, watching. It’s been a few minutes, they’re both still adjusting.

THE DOCTOR: Right then, eyesight. Not bad, bit blue. Ears – not pointy, right way up, more or less level. Face – well I’ve got one. Oh, no – French!

CLARA: French.

THE DOCTOR: I’ve deleted French! Plus all cookery skills, and the breast stroke. And hopping. Never mind hopping, who needs to hop. Ohh, the kidneys are interesting. Never had that before – interesting kidneys.

CLARA: Are you all right?

THE DOCTOR: I don’t know, do I look all right?

CLARA: I don’t know.

THE DOCTOR: How’s the face? Seems all right from the inside. Nice action, responsive. Bit less heft on the chin. How is it?

CLARA: It’s... okay.


CLARA: It’s a bit... you know.

THE DOCTOR: No I don’t, I haven’t seen it yet.

CLARA: Maybe it’s just new.

THE DOCTOR: Have you changed height?


THE DOCTOR: You sure?

CLARA: It’s you, your height, you’re the one who’s changed.

THE DOCTOR: And look at your nose.

CLARA: What about my nose?

THE DOCTOR: It was really cute, I loved your nose, you should’ve kept it.

CLARA: I did, it’s the same nose, it’s the same all of me. You’re the one who’s... regenerated, whatever you call it.

THE DOCTOR: Are you wearing a smell?

CLARA: Do you mean perfume?

THE DOCTOR: Yes, I suppose it could be perfume.

CLARA: You’ve always liked that perfume, you said so.

THE DOCTOR: No I didn’t, that was the Doctor.

CLARA: You’re the Doctor.

THE DOCTOR: Yes, I suppose I am. That’s going to take a bit of getting used to.

CLARA: Yeah, it really is.

How do you guys like that audition scene? Can you easily see Peter Capaldi pull that one off, despite what the former The Thick of It actor said? Are you looking forward to finally seeing him as the Doctor?

Doctor Who season eight premieres on Aug. 23. 

(via Den of Geek)