IT IS one of the most likely pairings in showbiz – a will-they won’t-they romance between Doctor Who and his beautiful assistant.
But unlike his predecessors, many of whom have enjoyed flirtations with their assistants, Peter Capaldi insisted that he did not want a relationship with Jenna Coleman’s Clara in the latest series of the sci-fi show.
“It would have been completely creepy,” he said in an interview. “It’s fine if you have handsome young men like Matt [Smith] and David Tennant, but as a father I felt it would be inappropriate.”
As the 12th incarnation of the Time Lord, Capaldi is 57 and actress Coleman, who has played the Doctor’s assistant Clara Oswald since 2012, is 29.
Having made a name for himself as The Thick Of It’s Malcolm Tucker, he said the lack of romance between the Doctor and his assistant had “forged a huge bond” between him and Coleman.
“There’s no romance,” he said, “But there’s deep love.”
Coleman, also known for her role as Jasmine Thomas in Emmerdale, said starring alongside a new Doctor was exciting, but scary.
“The Doctor, who is my best friend, is not only in a different body, but he’s also getting to know himself,” she said. “Age made no difference. He’s an alien. We’re not lovey-dovey.
“Everything is more about what is unsaid, rather than said. Clara may seem like a control freak, but she’s trying to control the uncontrollable.”
The ninth series of the hit BBC One show starts again on 19 September, with Steven Moffat at the helm once again.
A lot has been made of the relationship between the Doctor and his assistant. A previous taboo with any display of physical affection between the doctor and his assistant was broken in the 1996 television movie when the eighth doctor was shown kissing companion Grace Holloway.
The show is a phenomenon all over the world, with audiences in the USA and South Korea tuning in to watch it.
“I’m amazed at the audience reaction and don’t really know why it is,” Capaldi said.
Speaking about its popularity on other shores, Capaldi said: “Unlike other sci-fi, Doctor Who has a domestic element – the Tardis could turn up in the Mall or a coffee shop – but it catches fire abroad, in culturally different places, particularly with students and young adults. I suppose it offers escapism.”
Self-confessed fan Capaldi also revealed he was mocked relentlessly and called Moon Man growing up in Glasgow.
“It was the Apollo landings and I spent my entire life writing letters to Nasa who sent pictures to me. I was a geek before the word was invented.”
He has now, however, become one of the long list of stars to earn themselves “sex symbol” status: “I’m the same person I was when I wasn’t a sex symbol. Fame is such a privilege and any downside is a small price to pay. It’s slightly different, though, because people think they’re meeting Doctor Who, an icon, and not me.”
Capaldi also commented on the “upset” caused when lizard woman Madame Vastra kissed her human wife, Jenny Flint, on-screen in the last series. Viewers complained the BBC was promoting a gay agenda.
“I think it was good . . . actually it’s not just lesbian. It’s across species, which is even worse, presumably. It’s crazy if people get up in arms about it. There should be lots more kissing in Doctor Who. So long as it’s not the Doctor and Clara.”