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Here’s How ‘Doctor Who’ Pulled Off That Surprise Cameo

Cameos are cool.

There were plenty of shocks and surprising twists on display during Peter Capaldi’s debut as The Doctor on “Doctor Who,” but none bigger than the jaw dropping return of… Well, spoilers, sweetie.

Massive, massive “Doctor Who” spoilers past this point.

Yes, the previous Doctor, played by Matt Smith, returned for one last hurrah after “dying” at the end of “The Time Of The Doctor” this past Christmas. In the emotional scene, Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) is still not totally convinced that the new Doctor, played by Capaldi, is the same person inside as “her” Doctor, played by Smith.

And then she gets a phone call on her cell from Smith’s Eleven, as he’s dying during the Siege of Trenzalore. He tells her that he’s the same man inside, and to trust Capaldi as if he’s Smith. Which he, of course, still is, despite the outside (and a bit of the insides) looking different.

But Smith has been wrapped on “Doctor Who” since the filming of “Time Of The Doctor” back in September, 2013. So how did he end up making such a substantial cameo nearly a year later?

Turns out, the BBC has been sitting on that footage for a good long while, as we found out when we asked Executive Producer Steven Moffat about the scene at the blue carpet premiere of “Deep Breath” in New York.

Keeping things vague for any spoiler-phobes in the area, we asked Moffat how they pulled off the secret cameo.

“I wrote that sequence first, and then we shot it when the cameo performer was still in play,” Moffat said, before confirming to us that the scene was shot, “back in the day.”

And there certainly had been rumors that Smith had recorded a phone call to Clara before packing up his bow tie one last time, but a full blown final cameo had to be a stunner even for the notoriously gossipy British tabloids.

Luckily, it’s also a beautiful, heartbreaking scene, and seals Smith’s final appearance as one for the ages. That is, until he makes another surprise cameo.

“Doctor Who” is on BBC America Saturdays at 8 pm E.T.

Writer/Editor at MTV News. You can follow him on Twitter, but not in real life because that would be weird.
@azalben