Paul McGann has revealed how he was forced to make his mind up quickly when it came to appearing in the special 50th anniversary mini-episode The Night of the Doctor. It appears there was no room for any dilly-dallying where setting up the Eighth Doctor’s final adventure was concerned:
“It was a quick decision. Steven Moffat got in touch and said ‘If I were to write it, would you do it?’ I asked could I think about it and he said ‘Think about it now… because we want to do it next week.’ I had such a quick decision to make and I’m glad, because sometimes when you do things quickly, it’s better.”
His comments provide an insight into the breakneck pace at which key decisions concerning the series can be made, and provide an interesting counter to the common assumption we tend to make that these matters are all part of some intricate master plan, mapped out months or even years in advance.
“I felt when I arrived in Cardiff that [Moffat] had probably written it the day before. That was the only gap he had, on that Sunday, because they were trying to finish the big 50th. We arrived and it was next to the set of the 50th and [the actors] had all left. They’d had the party the night before and they’d all just left. We arrived the next day and shot the mini-episode.”
Paul seems to have enjoyed the big 5-0 as much as anyone connected with the programme and his brief return, agreed at short notice, certainly made for a memorable highlight of a very special year.