An exclusive look at the Doctor Who feature inside the September issue of Empire magazine - on sale from Thursday 31 August. Portraits by David Venni.
Unless you've been holidaying in the 4-X-Alpha-4 star system, you'll be well aware that Peter Capaldi is the latest incarnation of Doctor Who. You may not, however, have seen the Time Lord on set, check-by-jowl with his assistant (Jenna Coleman) and his new mode of transport, primed and ready for action. This is where Empire's latest issue comes in. From Thursday, Whovians will be treated to a behind-the-curtain peek at the new Doctor and the set-up for season eight. Heck, we've even solicited the thoughts of arguably the most famous of their number, Peter Jackson. It's all here - including this stellar portrait taken by David Venni at BBC Cymru Wales in Cardiff.
Showrunner Steven Moffat and his new star are promising to take the show into little darker realms, paring it down to its key essence and stripping it of frippery and flirting. "It can become a kind of franchise where it's not a real character at all", cautioned Capaldi, "but just an amalgam of elements that people think are Doctor Who: a scarf, a bow tie... I wanted to be the actual Doctor Who."
Elaborating on the kind of man this new Doctor will be, Capaldi stressed his enigmatic qualities. "He's more alien than he's been for a while," he explained. "He doesn't quite understand human beings or really care very much about their approval." His co-star agreed. "With Matt's Doctor [Clara] felt quite safe, really," said Coleman. "She knew she'd be caught if she was in danger, but this guy is a lot less human-friendly and a lot less patient. He's more removed and inaccessible. You can't quite access him in the same way."
Cold fish or not, fans should feel in safe hands, because Capaldi has solid Whovian bona fides. "Doctor Who was a part of being a kid in the '60s with The Beatles and Sunday Night At The London Palladium and smog and bronchitis and all that stuff," he enthused in Empire. "I think it's part of my DNA."
For more from Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Steven Moffat pick up the September 2014 issue from Thursday July 31.
Season eight of Doctor Who is landing on the BBC on August 23.