Here's How 'Doctor Who' Pulled Off That Insane Spoon Fight

Writer Mark Gatiss and actor Tom Riley explain the 'hardest fight I've ever had to do.'

You wouldn't think fighting with a spoon would be that difficult, but if you watched the latest episode of "Doctor Who," you know that couldn't be farther from the truth. In the most recent episode (Sept. 6), "Robot of Sherwood," The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) confronts Robin Hood (Tom Riley) with nothing but a kitchen utensil - and wins.

MTV News talked to writer Mark Gatiss, and Riley over the phone about developing and filming the scene. And as it turns out, not only was the spoon the product of budgetary constraints, but it led to seasoned swordsman Riley being engaged in what he calls, "the hardest fight I've ever had to do."

MTV News: The spoon fight is an all time classic. Mark, how much of that was in the script?

Mark Gatiss: In an earlier draft the Doctor did have a proper sword fight with Robin. There was definitely something budgetary, that we couldn't afford to choreograph someone fighting, or have any horse. I remember a conversation where someone said, that's not really the Doctor.

I deliberately wrote a scene where he's having a yogurt at the beginning, so I did conveniently have a spoon in his coat. But I just thought, that's the Doctor. He uses his wit, and he uses his mind, and his defensive weapon is a screwdriver. So it's only right that his weapon of choice is a spoon.

Now for practicality, it ended up being a very large spoon, and he had to wear a gauntlet, for the sake of safety. But the principle is the same, I think. It's kind of "Doctor Who" in essence. He has a major sword fight with Robin Hood, and he uses a yogurt spoon.

MTV: Tom, what was it like to actually film that scene?

Tom Riley: Fighting with a spoon is incredible difficult. On "Da Vinci" I tend to end up in a sword fight every third scene, so I'm fairly competent with picking up moves fairly quickly. And Peter hasn't had as much chance to do that. So giving him spoon was such a task, because there's such a small margin of error.

You're fighting with swords, you have two feet between each of you, and three feet out, so if you miss it doesn't matter. But with a spoon, you have to be so precise. And Peter managed to aim at exactly the right places, while still making it look like it was an actual difficult fight.

Actually, it's one of the hardest fights I've ever had to do.

It was in essence a comedy fight, seems like it should be easy, because it's a spoon, it's only small movements, but it was a lot harder. Peter made it look very dashing.

Gatiss: We're cut from very similar cloth. I knew he'd feel about it like we were having a PE lesson, and there's something terribly difficult about being overseen by brilliant fight people, who are incredibly helpful and will humor you. But there comes a point when you have to be able to do it.

But Peter was fantastic. Tom is being disingenuous, because he's actually a brilliant swordsman, but he was very patient and helpful in the whole process. It was a pleasure to watch.

"Doctor Who" airs on BBC America Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET.

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