Ahead of Doctor Who‘s return this weekend, CultBox recently caught up with star Arthur Darvill, who plays Rory, to discuss the River Song reveal, punching Hitler, working with James Corden, his favourite death scene and Steven Moffat’s plans for the future.
Darvill is currently starring as Mephistopheles in Doctor Faustus at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. The production of Christopher Marlowe’s play will run until 2nd October.
Series 6 Part 2 kicks off with Steven Moffat’s ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’ on at 7.10pm on Saturday 27th August on BBC One.
You can listen to highlights of our interview with Arthur here…
How’s the play going?
“It’s been going really well, thank you. I’m really loving it actually. Obviously it’s so different from Doctor Who, but I’ve always had a hankering for classical theatre and it’s a play that I’ve wanted to do for ages. It’s such a brilliant cast to work with as well. It’s quite a big cast, there’s 16 of us, so it’s a riot.”
Has it been evolving since you started?
“Yeah, it changes every night. Paul Hilton, who’s playing Faustus, is brilliant and I’m learning so much from him, we’re both still kinda exploring it. The great thing about doing live theatre is that it does evolve and if you’re listening you kinda respond to everyone else and it makes it grow.”
Have you had many Doctor Who fans in the audience?
“Yeah, a few, it’s quite nice actually. The funny thing about Doctor Who fans is that they’re all so nice and enthusiastic. It’s nice that they’ve come to see me but also get a really good play out of it. Everyone else in the cast is so brilliant so it’s been nice to have some Whovians there.”
Do Doctor Who fans wait for you after performances?
“There’s normally a gaggle outside. I’m still not very good at dealing with it to be perfectly honest, I just kinda bumble my way through saying ‘hello’ to people. It always surprises me when people are outside waiting, you can’t really expect that.”
Does the River Song reveal in ‘A Good Man Goes To War’ change the group’s dynamic?
“I think it does, yeah. I think a lot of questions get answered in [‘Let’s Kill Hitler’]. You kinda find out a lot about how people are dealing with that revelation. I think it can only bring them closer together. But then in doing that, from Rory’s point of view with the Doctor, it makes them more linked.
“The fact that Rory is River’s dad gives him a certain authority which I don’t think he had before. So yeah, of course it changes things. It makes things far more complicated for them and far more complicated for Rory. He’s now been completely plunged into the world of it. As much as he wants a quiet life, I don’t think he can step back from it.”
Can you give us a summary of what to expect from the second half of Series 6?
“The first one is ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’, which is the best title there’s ever been for an episode of Doctor Who. It’s a proper Steven Moffat episode, but with lots of questions answered, I think people will be quite satisfied watching that.
“There’s moments when I opened the script and just went ‘you can’t do that!’, so there’s going to be huge jaw-dropping moments in that one, so that’s a brilliant one.
“I love ‘Night Terrors’, I really love Mark [Gatiss]’s writing. He’s done a story about a kid being scared of things in his cupboard, which is obviously something that a lot of Doctor Who viewers can relate to. Danny Mays is brilliant in this and hilarious. All the episodes in this half of the series are so individual and so strong.
“Then the one after is ‘The Girl Who Waited’ which is definitely one of my favourite episodes I’ve ever been involved in. It’s a real Amy/Rory episode. You get quite an insight into their relationship and Karen turns in an absolutely blinding performance in that one. I think that’s probably my favourite one of the whole series.
“Then there’s ‘The God Complex’ which Toby Whithouse wrote. He’s just brilliant, it’s like a creepy 1970s horror film set in a hotel, it’s like The Shining. David Walliams is in that one looking like a mole, which is always fun. He was brilliant to work with and absolutely hilarious.
“James Corden’s back for the next one. I’m really glad they brought him back. There’s a lot more that can be explored with his character. He’s hilarious as always in it.
“Then there’s the finale, which I can’t tell you anything about! It’s really, really, really insane. It’s huge, but will satisfy a lot of things that Steven [Moffat] has set up over the last couple of years and answer a load of questions, but in the most brilliant way.”
How did it feel to punch Hitler in the face?
“Yeah, that was a big moment in my script-reading history; I was really pleased about that. There’s also a couple of other moments within that scene that Steven [Moffat] threw me way which I was very, very pleased about. I think it’s going to drop a few jaws.
“I’m quite looking forward to that episode being on so I can finally talk about it. It’s funny, I don’t really like watching it on my own, but with a big group of Doctor Who fans you kinda get carried away with it.”
What was returning guest star James Corden like to work with on Episode 12, ‘Closing Time’?
“Yeah, I got to work with him a little bit, he’s brilliant. He’s just hilarious, he’s amazing actually. Every take he’s just brilliant, he’s never there going ‘oh, can we do that again’, he’s just constantly on it.“
Rory’s had several death scenes now; which has been your favourite?
“My favourite death scene? I find this quite hard to answer because generally you don’t really enjoy death scenes that much. I suppose the nearly-dying in the pirate episode was quite good – that was touch and go for a moment there – and I liked dissolving into sand in the Dream Lord episode [‘Amy’s Choice’], so maybe that one.”
Did you originally know that Rory would become a regular in Series 6?
“No, I wasn’t told anything! I only thought I’d be in it for a little while, but I spoke to Steven [Moffat] a few weeks and he said ‘oh no, I knew your plan right from the beginning’. He’s very good at keeping us in the dark about stuff, but I’m so pleased with how it’s worked out.”
Do you enjoy watching the episodes on TV?
“I watch it kinda cringing behind my hands most of the time. It’s kinda funny, I think probably in a few years I’ll be able to go back and watch them all, but I generally only watch them all once at the moment.
“You get so close to it and it’s really hard to separate yourself from playing a character. I think they’re brilliant, I love watching everyone else’s bits. That’s one of the nicer things about it, watching the scenes that everyone else has done.“
Does the Series 6 finale set up anything for Series 7?
“I don’t know. What’s so brilliant about what Steven does is you can never tell what things are important and what things just happen. He’s very good at setting things up to later be referenced, but also things just happen in life and he’s very good at putting those things in without any meaning.
“It’s a constant guessing game to know what’s important and what isn’t. He’s probably set up the next 20 years of Doctor Who, but who knows?”
Watch the Series 6 Part 2 trailer…