In an increasingly crowded market, Emerald City Comic Con remains one of the mainstay, go-to shows in the Pacific Northwest. Each year, the convention brings in a plethora of fun and interesting guests. In 2018, the show creators opened the weekend with a bang, featuring with a sold out panel with Doctor Who legends (and fan favorites): David Tennant and Billie Piper. Legendary comic con panel moderator Claire Kramer was on-hand to run the hotly anticipated event.
The panel, which combined fan questions with moderated content covered a wide variety of topics. Questions discussed included Doctor Who, Piper’s upcoming Off-Broadway run, Tennant’s current stint on DuckTales, and even The West Wing.
BP: I knew Doctor Who, but I didn’t have the encyclopedic knowledge that David has. So I came in on it kind of fresh. I loved the part. I didn’t really know what it meant long term, I just knew that I wanted to act.
CK: David, you grew up with the show. When you had the opportunity to come in and read for the Doctor what were your thoughts? What were you thinking?
DT: It was all a little bit weird because I knew the show was coming back… a show I had watched since I was tiny. I didn’t really know what I was being asked to join in on. It was kind of a weird idea to bring Doctor Who back. It didn’t feel like the kind of show the world would be ready for back then. I couldn’t imagine how it would be when it came back. It was quite a big gamble. It might have been a big flop! Sorry Billie… (laughter). It was this show that I loved, and I had posters on my bedroom wall of.
CK: You guys just got to reunite through some voice work and revisit your characters. What was it like to revisit Rose and the Doctor after 10 years?
BP: It was very comforting to see Jackie (Camille Coduri)…. I really enjoyed it. I’m going to do some more.
DT: Are you? Do tell?
BP: Yeah. Are you going to do some more?
DT: Am I in them?
DT: Off on your own now?
BP: Off on my own adventures. It’s my own show.
CK: You, aside from Rose and her history, you are going to Broadway this month.
BP: I am. It’s not very sci-fi. I’ll tell you anyway. It’s off-Broadway, but it’s New York, so that’s what matters to me. It’s actually my dream come true. I love Doctor Who, but I’m delighted to be doing a play in New York. It’s about grief. It’s very bleak, I actually feel really uncomfortable talking about it. It’s funny… in parts. (Turns to DT) You’ve seen it, say something.
DT: It is one of the all-time great performances. If you have a chance to see Billie in New York…
CK: You open March 18th?
BP: I think it’s the 23rd of March. It’s at the Armory theater.
Question: My question is for David, how was it acting in Hamlet?
DT: What’s great, is I knew all the lines already. I had never done anything like that, how it existed in another form. You had basically rehearsed it for a year, just having to do it in a different medium was kind of challenging, but kind of freeing. I was glad for a chance to do it.
BP: Where was it?
DT: BBC? Have you really not seen it? I’ll send it to you.
Question: My question David is for you… A few years ago we had John Barrowman here.
DT: I’m so sorry.
Question: I would love to hear your reaction about when you learned he was the Face of Boe.
DT: I just read the script. At the end was the revelation, and it all made perfect sense. I think John is an absolute force of nature…. It just tickled me when I thought how he’s going to love and hate that. It makes perfect sense that’s where Captain Jack ends up.
CK: How far in advance did you guys get the scripts?
DT: I can’t remember.
CK: Did you approach the writers room with alternative storylines?
BP: I never did that.
DT: Why would you? What would I want with anything more than they can give me.
Question: My question could be for both of you… David, my ultimate guilty pleasure is The Decoy Bride. What do you look for when you pick roles?
DT: Uuuuhhhhh…. you just read a bit of writing that appeals to you. That could be because it makes you laugh, or because you’ve never read something like that. Really, for me you want to be part of telling that story. It’s a bit nebulous… the type of story you’ve never heard before.
BP: Sometimes it’s about the timing, and what’s going on in your life. I usually do things which are different than the last thing…. Variety.
Question: What’s another older show that you’d love to see come back.
DT: Good question. I’d bring back The West Wing.
BP: It’s so recent!
DT: It wasn’t that recent. 15 years ago or something!
BP: Noooo! I still haven’t seen it.
DT: I’m sort of disgusted with you, but I’m so thrilled for you. That’s a journey you have to go on.
Question: David, you grew up with Doctor Who? Who was your Doctor?
DT: My first Doctor was Tom Baker. I was born in 1971. Then I was still when a man named Peter Davison took over and now I see him for Sunday lunch, so it’s all quite strange. Very lovely.
Question: Are you going back to Top Gear for a rematch?
DT: Steady, son.
BP: Yes to a rematch.
DT: I did get to again!
BP: How did you do this time?
DT: Really well! I was second on the leader board. Thank you!
BP: Who was first?
DT: Some Olympian… I think they cheated.
BP: How many people had been on?
DT: Some. There had been some. Maybe six! It was quite near the start of the respective series. There weren’t a lot of names, but there were more…
BP: What was your time?
DT: It was very fast. It was faaaaast! Very fast. Matthew LePerry… what’s he called?! Matt LeBlanc he was very impressed. Very fast, he kept saying.
Question: Is there any hope you can give that we might see a return of the alternate Doctor?
BP: I like to see that as a comedy. I keep saying… their domestic life together. They’re over each other. He’s really boring because he’s not the real deal. They stay in a lot. He’s not what he was. He’s put on weight.
CK: We need to see this.
Question: What was it like switching from your adult stuff to voicing Scrooge McDuck?
DT: It’s all the same stuff. It’s all about finding the truth of the moment. Yeah, it’s been a great honour to take on the mantle of Scrooge McDuck. I’m glad you’re watching.
BP: What is this? Where do they show?
DT: (pause) Let’s ask the audience. Where do you see it in this country? Disney XD?
CK: What were your thoughts when they asked you to play this character.
Question: How did you feel about making fun of the War Doctor? And David, how did you feel about being kissed by a zygon?
DT: They have these very long projectile tongues…
BP: I loved that. It was a nice departure from just a Rose Tyler return.
DT: It wasn’t an actual zygone right? It was Queen Victoria… Queen Elizabeth! Sorry wrong Queen. But I didn’t kiss Queen Victoria… did I kiss Queen Victoria? In “Tooth and Claw”? Did I kiss her?
Question: Do you have advice for a young actress looking to start a career?
DT: Ummm… I’m very bad at giving advice. If you can do something else, you probably should. There’s far too many of us after the same jobs.
BP: That’s terrible advice! That’s really, really sad. I’ve got some advice. I would say definitely do your fair share of theater. Have very colorful and enjoyable life, because that informs what you do. Don’t turn it into a bloodsport because it can feel like that at times. It’s bizarrely competitive. Try and avoid that as much as you can. Know what you’re good at as well. If there’s a part that you don’t particularly like, or can’t connect too, I don’t think you should take it. There’s always that temptation.
Question: What’s it like working with Catherine Tate?
DT: It’s quite a lot of fun, I’d say. It’s great.
BP: She can never remember her lines? Was that too much?
DT: Catherine is a hoot.
Question: Do you take your character home with you? Do you ever let it influence your personality?
DT: I would think it would be easier to be the Doctor than be Spock. I generally… Billie, do you take Rose home with you?
BP: I’ve never been that kind of actor. I generally finish… I don’t think I… take Rose home with me.
DT: Unless you very consciously go home deep in character…
BP: Some people do stuff like that. I don’t know what kind of quality of life that lends itself too. You don’t do the school run as the Doctor…
DT: That would be very dangerous. Quick! Run!
Question: We’re going to Scotland for the first time… where would you recommend that we absolutely have to stop?
DT: It depends what you’re in too… Glasgow is my city, so I would say check out some of the Highlands.
BP: Loch Ness…
DT: Go to Loch Ness and stare at it. Look there… oh, it’s gone.
Question: What show each of you would want to be a part of? Past or Present?
DT: Konstantin and the Seagull… I’d like to have a go at that.
BP: I don’t know. I would like to do a classic, but not in a classical way. I’m thinking a Shakespeare. I’d quite like to do Macbeth.
DT: As Macbeth? Or Lady Macbeth.
BP: Well now a days, as MacBeth. You can be Lady MacBeth.
Question: Do you still watch the show?
DT: I’m excited to see Jodie Whittaker start. I’ve loved it since I was a kid.
BP: I don’t catch a lot of them. But, I”m really, really excited to see Jodie’s stuff.
Question: Do you see each other? Billie, what are you doing after the run of your play?
BP: First things first, we don’t see each other as much as we used too. We live on the opposite side of London. You’re never around! Joking. That’s why it’s great to come here. What am I doing after the play? I’m directing my own film!
BP: It’s quite a big leap of faith.
Question: What do you know about the new Doctor?
DT: I know her quite well… I did three seasons of Broadchurch with her. Can’t bear the woman. Kidding… before someone tweets that! She’s great. She’s very funny. She’s a very good actress. Three qualities which are essential to play the Doctor, and she has them all in spades.
Stay tuned to GGA News for continuing coverage of ECCC 2018.