Hardly earth shattering, groundbreaking out there first news, but alas, I am a lazy man, by which I mean I clearly wanted to wait for the dust to settle, the Tardis to re-materialise and to give some clear thoughts and opinions on what has been the biggest issue of debate for the last few months among Who-vians. ‘Who is the new doctor and what does it mean?’ Although, my first thought on this subject was….
‘Why the hell not?’
As most of you will know, Matt Smith, will sadly be exiting the show to make way for a new Doctor in the 50th anniversary special, to air later in the year. This meant months of hype, speculation, wish-listing and even gambling in some cases, as to who the next man to climb into the blue box would be. After months of waiting, a live announcement, simulcast around the world at the same time, in true Doctor Who style, was presented on Sunday night, ‘Doctor Who: Live’, hosted by Zoe Ball, in full view of the time vortex and a carefully set up stage of props, easter eggs, celebrities and older Doctors and their companions or guest stars, the announcement was made. For myself as a HUGE Doctor Who fan, I was unbelievably excited, Sunday night saw the beginning of something truly wonderful.
‘To be fair if they brought him back, I’d still be crying’
Bernard Cribbins return to our screens for one, safe to say I’ve missed that man, I still can’t watch ‘The End of Time’ without getting upset. However on a less serious note, we saw the arrival of the new doctor, for those of you who have been living under a rock or simply didn’t watch any tv, read any newspapers or log on to the internet in the last few days, the man announced for the job is none other than Peter Capaldi.
The announcement, was very tastefully handled and Peter Capaldi emerged both confidently and delightedly onto our screens, he carried himself well and showed us he truly has what it takes to become the 12th Doctor. His nods to William Hartnell didn’t go un-noticed either and were greatly appreciated, hilariously he is even the same age as William Hartnell when he began his run as the Doctor (55).
‘William Hartnell / Peter Capaldi‘
I grew up on the older series of Doctor Who, Tom Baker was actually the first Doctor that I knew, I then went on to find the older episodes and learned more from there. In 2005 when the show returned to our screens, to say I was ecstatic is an understatement and Christopher Ecceleston, in my mind, was the perfect choice. He had such a great range and was able to really put a new gloss on a much older character, he was able to play on the Doctors darker side, whilst holding the ability to remain aloof, hilarious and eccentric as we had seen with so many Doctors before. Christopher Ecceleston felt to me like that image of the warrior doctor I always had, out there battling and saving us from alien menaces.
Eventually, Christopher Ecceleston left us and we were gifted with two much younger and equally credible doctors, David Tennant and Matt Smith. I’ve loved them as the Doctor, both have put a lot in to the show and played their parts perfectly, but I always missed that older, darker, fatherly doctor that I had grown up watching, also both their runs as doctor I felt were slightly tarnished by this overwhelming love story between the doctor and Rose/River Song, it felt like the power of love was keeping the monsters at bay or fighting the battles, the doctor wasn’t being that clever, dashing hero who would hold the universe at bay with his intelligence and in some cases serious levels of over confidence. Now with Peter Capaldi at the helm, I believe we may see that Doctor return.
‘No one is too stern for Jelly Babies’
‘The Doctor is in!’
The first question many people asked was ‘Who is Peter Capaldi?’, For those outside the loop it maybe didn’t seem like an obvious choice or even in some cases an utter unknown. So lets take a look at the man and what we can expect for him to bring to the role.
To save time explaining, I’ll simply use this Wiki quote to give you a brief overlook of the man of the moment:
“Peter Dougan Capaldi (born 14 April 1958) is a Scottish actor, film director, and screenwriter. He has had a large number of roles in film and television, and is perhaps best known for his role as Malcolm Tucker in the BBC comedy series The Thick of It and its spin-off film In the Loop. In 1995, he won the Academy Award for Live Action Short Film for Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life, which he directed. He has also won a BAFTA Award, a Chlotrudis Award and two British Comedy Awards. On 4 August 2013, the BBC announced during a live broadcast that he will portray the twelfth incarnation of the Doctor in the long-running TV series Doctor Who.“
So lets break this down a bit, first off he’s Scottish. That is excellent news and can only mean that he will be fantastic, my native homeland has not disappointed us with Doctors (or in fact anything ever) yet, and I don’t see that happening any time soon.
You’ll notice that he is an award-winning director and screen writer, this is a significant note that many overlook, I can see him being deeply involved in the development process for Doctor Who which means he will be able to develop and hone his version of the Doctor whilst maintaining the excellent script and plot designs set out for him by Doctor Who’s well experienced writers. Not only that but this screams a high level of commitment, quite simply because the filming schedules for Doctor Who are known to be particularly brutal and time-consuming, if he is willing to put the majority of his life aside for this role, it should be something truly special to behold.
That moves me on to my next point, because of his commitment and in some cases sacrifice, you can see he understands the gravity of the role, he understands how much this character means to the fans and how big a part of their lives he will become, this is made even more special by the fact that he has been such a huge fan of the series since he was a child. They even showed letters he wrote pestering producers of the show in the 1970s – and at one point he even tried to hijack the official fan club. He also bombarded the BBC with letters asking for memorabilia, details about the making of the show and information about future episodes.
Next, Peter Capaldi, is a serious actor and highly talented, showing that actors now understand that this role of th Doctor is almost as sought after as the likes of James Bond.
Peter in his role of Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It, shows his range, ability and a huge amount of energy, he has also pulled off other great characters such as the dastardly new boss in newsroom drama ‘The Hour’, he has done many roles from stern to humourous across a wide range of TV and film. This plays perfectly towards what I envision the Doctor as, a serious and intelligent individual with the ability to still have that comedic wit and charm. My only concern is whether he will be allowed to keep his usual high intensity energy towards his character or will he be placed into a more subdued role. With Matt Smith, we’ve seen more of a ‘Old Man trapped in a Youngster’s body.’ hopefully now we will see less running and acrobatics from a youthful character (Tennant/Smith) and the return of the wise old gentlemen I grew up with.
Also, lets consider not only is he a fan, he is also a star of both Doctor Who and Torchwood, showing up as Caecilius in the Doctor Who episode ‘The Fires of Pompeii’, and in the Torchwood’s ‘Children of Earth’ as John Frobisher (Secretary of the Home Office). While not as vast a role as the Doctor, it shows he has been excited by and captured by the show previously, drawing the fans ever closer to his chest.
As a final point to this section, while some people have really taken to Peter (myself included), there are still many dissenters, which is kind of understandable and not entirely unexpected either, but I would like it if fans did remember that it is not just Peter who will make this show and his run as the Doctor successful, a lot of his role will depend on Steven Moffat, the direction and writing staff, his supporting cast and finally the scenarios he is given. I at this point would like to wish Peter all the best in his new role and I know he won’t let me down.
‘The Doctor is Out’
Lets not forget that with all the hype about the new Doctor, we are sadly losing our old Doctor. Matt Smith.
‘Bowties, will always be cool. Fez’s too.’
Matt has had a terrific run and brought a great energy and life into the character, over his years as the Doctor he truly broke away from David Tennant and more than proved he was different, unique and just as if not more capable of playing the Doctor as David was. On Sundays show, seeing Matt’s interview and handing over to Peter, it at some points was hard to watch, you could truly see how much Matt will miss this role and you could see just how much it meant to him. Understandably you could almost see the look of ‘Am I making a mistake?’ spread across his face, it was a hard decision for him and I’m sure it was the right one. I will miss him greatly and I also would like to wish him well on his new projects and I very much look forward to seeing him in TV/Film roles in the near future.
However, lets not get too upset, with the 50th anniversary on its way and a whole host of new adventures to come, it has never been a better time to be a Who-vian.