Showrunner Chris Chibnall, Jodie Whittaker (the Doctor) and Mandip Gill (Yaz) gave some insight to Doctor Who Magazine 583 into the happenings in the Doctor Who BBC centenary special The Power of the Doctor.
“This is certainly the biggest episode we’ve done during our time on the show,” Chibnall told DWM. “The story spans multiple locations and time periods, and there are multiple characters. A huge amount of love for Doctor Who has been poured into this. But at its heart, this is a very simple and emotional story about things we’ve been feeling since Jodie started. It ends with thematic resonances of where that story began.”
According to DWM, it’s not a long, gloomy march to the end for the Thirteenth Doctor.
“It wasn’t a mournful, doomy process, and I don’t think it’s a mournful, doomy episode,” Chibnall explained to DWM. “It’s a very fast, upbeat, funny and energetic ride. With the odd tear come the end…”
“There are quite a few things in the episode that sort of bookend my time on the show,” Jodie Whittaker told DWM. “For Doctor Who fans, I think it’s a real treat – it couldn’t have more carrots, more homages, more involvement of past, present and future. And if you’ve never seen Doctor Who before, then you’re getting an absolute dose. I really feel like it has something for everyone.”
There are some big moments for Yaz in The Power of the Doctor.
“Amidst all the love for Jodie, one shouldn’t forget Mandip,” Chibnall told DWM. “This is Jodie’s final episode, but it’s Mandip’s final episode as well. She has a lot to do in The Power of the Doctor and she’s brilliant.”
There is also a different dynamic between the Master (Sacha Dhawan) and Yaz in the special.
“Yaz is up against the Master again – but she’s maybe a little bit more in control than she was last time,” Gill teased to DWM.
The very last scene, the regeneration, is a very emotional one for the Doctor and Yaz.
“The Doctor understands love and loss on a level that we, as humans, can’t,” Whittaker explained to DWM. “And there’s a protection towards the people she takes with her. But when there is such a deep love and connection [as there is with Yaz], it’s heartbreaking for everybody.”
“When I was doing those final scenes, a large part of it was me… it was Mandip,” Gill told DWM. “So I was able to shed the tears people might have expected from me during the scene. More than it being emotional, though, it was just so beautiful. I’m so grateful for the journey that we’ve been on, but then also getting to end it on a beautiful scene.”
After Whittaker and Gill filmed their emotional last scene, which apparently didn’t occur in the TARDIS, the crew lined the corridor, clapping for both Whittaker and Gill as they headed for the TARDIS set one more time, congregating there to hug and cry.
“I love my last line,” Whittaker said, recalling her final moments as the Thirteenth Doctor to DWM. “I really love it, and I was really excited to say it. This has been my role of a lifetime, and to get to end it in this most amazing way, to regenerate – what a thing. It’s like a physical expression of how you feel about playing the part. You literally burst into light.”
“I wrote the final moments very early on,” Chibnall told DWM. “I knew exactly what they were going to be for quite a while.”
“I wrote it before I knew Russell was taking over. I had my suspicions about what was going to happen, but when I had it confirmed I said to Russell, ‘This is going to work very nicely!’ The whole story is the perfect lead-up to…” Chibnball pauses, before smiling. “… what happens next!”
Written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Jamie Magnus Stone, the Doctor Who BBC centenary special, The Power of the Doctor airs 23 October, 7:30pm on BBC One.
Doctor Who Magazine 583 is available at newsstands in the UK and by digital subscription now.