Jinkx Monsoon Talks Doctor Who “Maestro” Role

    If you’ve seen promo for the upcoming Doctor Who series, you’ll know that there’s a massive guest star villain ahead. This would be the Maestro, played by Rupaul’s Drag Race super-star Jinkx Monsoon. She’ll be appearing in the series’ second episode, “The Devil’s Chord”, from showrunner Russell T Davies. We know so little about this mysterious Maestro ahead of the upcoming series. Jinkx Monsoon Talks Doctor Who in her recent BBC Press interview. Revealing what made her take on the role in the new season.

    Given the nature of this article, a minor spoiler warning is in effect. No plot points are touched on, however it does get into more detail about the Maestro than the trailers have.

    Jinkx Monsoon as the Maestro in Doctor Who: The Devil’s Chord (via BBC Studios)

    Getting The Part

    Monsoon says that she’s been friends with Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies for a long time. She recently had a show in Manchester, in which she plays an “older stylized, somewhat grand, somewhat mean version” of herself. After Davies saw her play this character, he created a role for Monsoon in Doctor Who. In fact, according to Monsoon, the script’s character description for the Maestro read “one part the Joker, one part Jinkx Monsoon”. A villain written with a particular person in mind who ends up playing the role is always something special.

    I have been friends with Russell T Davies (showrunner/executive producer) for a long
    time. He has been to so much of my stuff, and always been so supportive. He came to see
    my show in Manchester, which is a farce set in the future. It’s me and my music partner
    Major Scales in our 80’s reflecting on our careers. It’s a really ridiculous show. I’m playing an
    older, stylized, somewhat grand, somewhat mean version of myself. Russell told me after he
    saw that show, he was walking home that night and he realised he wanted me to play the
    role that I ended up playing in Doctor Who. At that moment, he started writing the role a
    little bit more with me in mind. When I got the script, the character’s description said, “One
    part the Joker, one part Jinkx Monsoon.”

    Jinkx Monsoon via BBC Press Office

    But what did Davies see in Jinkx Monsoon’s show that made her perfect for a villain in Doctor Who? Well, according to Monsoon, it was the ability to “switch emotions on a dime… be completely enamoured with herself one moment, and then in a boiling rage the next”. This is the perfect energy for a villain, and it sounds like Russell wrote into the character. With this unpredictability, it looks like the Maestro will be mining for new levels of campy terror!

    Jinkx Monsoon as the Maestro in Doctor Who: The Devil’s Chord (via BBC Studios)

    The Maestro

    From the trailers, we know little about the Maestro. She seems to be a powerful force of evil, with a healthy bit of music thrown in for good measure. Monsoon starts by emphasising the Maestro’s power when asked to describe her character. She says that “human rules don’t apply” to the Maestro. This statement matches showrunner Russell T Davies’ commitment to bringing more cosmic, god-like villains into the series. Hopefully, this is the start of a run of creative, out-there villains for the series.

    Maestro is exceptionally powerful. When human rules don’t apply to you you get to do
    whatever you want. You don’t have to worry about whether your emotions make sense to
    people because you don’t have to answer to them. And that’s really freeing when you’re
    playing a character. The thing I love about a villain is that they can’t think they’re doing
    something wrong, or if they do think they’re doing something wrong, it’s justified because
    it’s for something greater that they’ve planned. What I love about Maestro is that while
    objectively evil, they are an artist, they have a mission statement. And that was really lovely
    to play.

    Jinkx Monsoon via BBC Press Office

    Being a villain was refreshing for Monsoon, revelling in when you have “no way of reading” what the character will do next. There’s a lot of power in playing a villain for Monsoon, and she finds it can be freeing, knowing the character “doesn’t have to answer to” their own emotions. This even extends to being evil, “doing something wrong [is] justified because it’s for something greater than they’ve planned”. While make no mistake, the Maestro is “objectively evil”, she says, they’re also an artist with a mission statement.

    Jinkx Monsoon as the Maestro in Doctor Who: The Devil’s Chord (via BBC Studios)

    Working on Doctor Who

    Monsoon described working on the series as a “dream job of a lifetime”. It’s good then that when asked about her experience on set, she said that she “loved it”. There was also an energy on set that it was “everyone’s dream job, and we were all doing something we really cared about”. She called the set a very welcoming environment, despite her limited work in scripted TV appearances. As a result of this she took cues from stars Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson, who she described as “better versed in scripted television”. Gatwa in particular she described as “so generous”, creating a “really, really lovely environment on set”.

    I loved it! Every person on the crew, every person I interacted with, from day one until
    the day I left, was absolutely lovely. I couldn’t name every single person at this point, but I
    just didn’t have a bad experience with a single crew member. Everyone was happy to be
    there. Everyone was having fun doing their job. Nothing is worse than when you come to
    your dream job, and everyone else seems to be apathetic. It really felt like this was all our
    dream job, and we were all doing something we really cared about.

    Jinkx Monsoon via BBC Press Office

    As a dream job, she was then asked about her relationship with the world of Doctor Who as a fan. She’s particularly fond of the series’ camp side, where it “doesn’t take itself too seriously”. Monsoon also enjoys the series’ educational and inspirational value, too. In particular, the suspension of audience disbelief where “it’s stylized, and it’s fun and it’s funny”. She also finds power in each story’s ability to “move you” or “teach you something”.

    Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor and Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday in Doctor Who: The Devil’s Chord (via BBC Studios)


    Monsoon is excited to be a part of “The Devil’s Chord”, an episode “in a season that’s going to really shake the foundation of the Whoniverse”. While we’re unsure what this means, the season looks like an absolute riot. We’ll meet Jinkx Monsoon’s Maestro this Saturday when the new season of Doctor Who debuts. For all the latest news, reviews, and Doctor Who lore discussions, be sure to follow the team here at Tardis Central for more.

    New episodes of Doctor Who drop on BBC iPlayer at midnight on Saturdays, followed by a primetime slot on BBC One each week. Outside the UK, Doctor Who begins streaming on the 10th May at 7 PM ET on Disney+, where available, giving audiences a simultaneous global launch.

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