Season 8 of the re-booted version of the classic British science-fiction series will be Capaldi's first as the time-hopping hero. He is the 12th actor since 1963 to play the iconic character and he takes over the role from outgoing star Matt Smith.
"I think it's always exciting when Doctor Who touches its past," Capaldi said at a recent press conference in New York where the 56-year-old Scottish actor was asked if he planned to incorporate any of the personality traits of his predecessors in his portrayal of the Doctor.
"As a kid, that was always an exhilarating moment when they made contact with the past, but, for me personally, I don't consciously try to emulate any of the previous Doctors. But I would say that I've been watching the show since I was 5. I absolutely grew up with it. So, all of those Doctors probably made me. Even if I hadn't been cast as Doctor Who, my acting would probably have been influenced by William Hartnell or Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, and all of the other guys. Because those were the actors that I really watched every moment of, as opposed to Laurence Olivier. These were the guys I was watching and who I wanted to be. So, they probably, I think... my own tics as an actor have probably been influenced by them already. So, I have no need to specifically pull them out of the bag, although, occasionally, sometimes in the show, in the season, there are some little specific things that are very directly references to previous Doctors. But I love when the show does that."
"When you've got a new Doctor, you really want the actor to lead the way, actually," head writer and producer Steven Moffat told the reporters.
"So, in a way, you're stripping it -- unconscious -- the most conscious thing you do is to call, in this case the Matt Smith-isms, out and see what is going to start moving in their place. I knew certain things we wanted to do with the character were already there and what we wanted to do with the show, but really, it's a question of lead actors have to lead. Sorry, Peter, you have to actually see what they do and it becomes a kind of dialogue with the rushes and the ratings and all that. You say, 'I see what Peter's likely doing.' I don't tend to... I mean, obviously, I'm a ridiculous, list-making fan boy. I can never stop thinking of everybody. I try as far as possible to resist that, apart from the fact that I've devoted and ruined my entire career around it. Apart from that, it's fine," Moffat said.
"You can't as an actor conduct yourself by making constant references to other people. And the day-to-day working of the show is so forlorn and so challenging that you just have to..." Capaldi began before his co-star Jenna Coleman chimed in with, "You don't really have time to be conscious, I suppose, of that."
"No. You just do your best as an actor and try and get on with it," Capaldi agreed.
"I feel like Peter came in with such a strength and idea and was really brave," Coleman noted.
"Normally, when you read the script at this point, the Doctor would embrace this scene or dance or be running around the console or... and, actually, there were times when, I think, especially in the early days, when Peter was finding his Doctor, he would say, 'Actually, no, I'm just going to stand here,'" Coleman recalled. "It's that thing where instead of going to the room, the room coming to him. And I feel like he was really bold and brave and made those changes, and that was because that was Peter fine doing it his way. And fine doing, you know, his path."
Season 8 of Doctor Who is to premiere Saturday.