When we attended Long Island Who 2 last month, I was lucky enough to get a press badge and had the pleasure of interviewing several of the VIPs attending the convention. Okay, I demanded to have a press badge. LUCKILY. The co-Headliner of the convention with Sixth Doctor Colin Baker was Eighth Doctor (and certified Head Over Feels Crush) Paul McGann. As Sage was unable to attend the Press Sessions, I got Paul all to myself for eight minutes and he proved to be as delightful one-on-one as he is entertaining a room of thousands (if not more so, cause all of that charisma is directed SOLELY at you). Over the course of our all-too-brief time together, Paul and I discussed spoiler culture (he hates them, proving he is a perfect human), female Time Lords (he is PRO Female Doctor, you guys!), and the glory of the word “wry”. Read on!
(And then congratulate me for not spontaneously bursting into flame during the interview.)
Paul settles in with a steaming cup of Tea because, of course.
Kim: I’m Kim, by the way.
Paul: Hello, Kim. I’m Paul. (He shakes my hand and it’s perfect. Not to hard, not too soft. Also, he uses both hands, so really, it’s a hand GRASP. )
Kim: I was at Gally and obviously you talked a lot about “Night of The Doctor” there…can you talk about how hard it was to keep that a secret from everyone else?
Paul: Well, it’s actually this week last year.
Kim: I know! Happy Anniversary!
Paul: It was released on my birthday, that’s how I know. This time last year we were still…what…2 or 3 days away from seeing it, but having to keep it a secret. For some of us it was easier than others. I know for me…all I had to do was not tell anyone! That’s the simple thing.
Kim: Were people trying to get it out of you by asking if you were going to do something?
Paul: All the time, All the time! Though looking back now not surprisingly…there were already leaks and fragments of things appearing on Twitter and social media. People were posting little bits of dialogue which were DEADLY accurate. There were photographs…we KNEW that somebody out there had fragments of it, pieces of it…or the whole thing. It’s kind of disconcerting, I don’t really understand it.
Kim: I HATE spoilers!
Paul: I don’t understand the spirit of it! I don’t get it. I would NEVER do that. It’s like with records…it’s easy for technicians who’ve got copies of things, for them to leak them. Things are getting transported around. Just think about the stacks of people who might work on a thing that’s only six minutes long. There’s visuals, there’s special effects, people have copies of it on their hard drives. It’s a shame. The REAL shame, I think, is that it becomes more and more difficult in this age…
Kim: (completing his sentence, so we’re basically married) To surprise people!
Paul: Yeah, to surprise people! Even to keep and fashion a cliffhanger worth the name [of Doctor Who] because SOMEONE’S going to spill the beans. Even with the conflict in scheduling and the transmission across the Atlantic has made it difficult…
Kim: For Americans. (Again, married.)
Paul: Yes! (imitating fans) “No, I KNOW you’ve seen it, don’t tell me, don’t tell me, don’t tell me!”
Kim: Are you caught up with Doctor Who so I don’t spoil YOU?
Paul: I watched the latest one, yes.
Kim: While the episode was filming, there were pictures of the Cybermen ALL OVER the internet. It would have been so much more of a surprise because there were all these subtle hints throughout the episode OF the Cybermen (Paul “mmmms” in agreement the whole time). Anyway, what do you think about the twist of the Master coming back, especially since your Doctor faced him as well. Now the Master is a woman! What do you think about that?
Paul: I think it’s…kinda cool. (*whispers*) I really like it. I’m real fond of, particularly at these conventions, and when we meet the fans and everyone is singing the praises of Doctor Who and the nature of the stories and the latitude and the luxury that you’re accorded. It’s limitless almost, the variations of things. When you’re at the helm like Steven Moffat is presently, you can do whatever you like. The BEAUTY of it is you’re playing with time, you’re playing with all sorts of different changes. And then you’ve got the novels, which are almost like alternative histories. And you have the radio plays which have their own flavor. It’s as BIG as that. I was amazed, though I probably shouldn’t have been, when I looked online, cause it’s caused some people to become TERRIBLY upset and CONFUSED [by the Master being a woman] and have mixed feelings. Blimey! (Yes, he ACTUALLY said that.) Of course, I was one of those who rather thought they missed the trick by not making the Doctor a female this last time. Inevitably, it will happen.
Kim: They seem to be setting it for that to happen!
Paul: Yeah! And why not? They can do that. I guess the long and the short of it is…well. my answer is that it’s FANTASTIC. I’m surprised and think it’s laughable that people are upset.
Kim: Before we go, my writing partner was supposed to be here with me and she wasn’t able to make it. I was wondering if you could say hello to her?
Paul: Of course.
Kim: Her name is Sage. And she’s very upset she’s not here.
Paul: Sage! Saaaaaaaaaaaage. We’re looking at empty chair, two feet from where we are sat right now…and there’s a hole in the air, Sage-shaped, where you should be. What a shame it is that you’re not here. Next time, I hope.
Kim: You just made such a great impression on us at Gally and all your panels.
Paul: That’s very kind of you.
Kim: You’re just so well-spoken and wry.
Paul: Wry is good. I like wry! You don’t hear that word much these days.
Kim: I mean, that’s our main description of you. (Note: Well…after Sexy Beast, that is. Obviously, I did not say that. I’m a professional after all.)
Paul: Wry seemed to go by the board, didn’t it? “Wry” seemed to get lost in the post-modern era.
Kim: It’s a fun word!
Paul: I’m glad you reminded me, I’m going to use that one!
Kim: You should!
Paul: Wry is good.
Kim: (being pulled out of the room, almost literally) Before he pulls me out of here, what DO you enjoy the most about these conventions?
Paul: Talking! I mean, talking to you, to the people. The very thing, in fact, before I did them, I was afraid of. Or wary of. Somehow I imagined they [the cons] might not have a sense of humor…I was so glad that they did. And that’s why I keep coming back.
Kim: Well, there you go.
Paul: There you go. A wry sense of humor.
Kim: (reaching out to shake his hand, and he grasps it) Thank you, Paul.
Paul: My pleasure. Till we meet again.
Kim: YES. (*dragged out of the room, literally this time*) (We DID meet again over the course of the weekend. More on that later.)
Coming later this week…my interviews with Emma Campbell-Jones and Nicola Bryant. Till then…discuss your feelings about Paul and the word “wry”.