Monday, 5 August 2013

Peter Capaldi is the Doctor

Peter Capaldi's casting as the new Dr Who will hopefully see a return to the principles of the series' golden age.

'Listen to me, you jug-eared, tin-plated, silver cluster c***!'
The 12th man, Peter Capaldi. (Image: BBC)


Yesterday afternoon I lay on the sofa watching a tall, beaky nosed, white haired man playing Doctor Who in ‘The Ambassadors of Death’. By 7.30 that evening, I knew that a tall, beaky nosed, white haired man would be playing Doctor Who again.

This is the only time it’s ever happened, but for once the papers were right in forecasting the actor set to take over, in this case veteran Scots actor and director Peter Capaldi. If only ten people knew, as the publicity statements claimed, then somebody had obviously blabbed and presumably made a fortune. I wish I’d had the money to make a bet as I’d now be heading for the Bahamas.

BBC1’s Dr Who Live – The Next Doctor was a bit of a rum beast. This was another first, as a drama series was presented in the context of a format that closely resembled The Voice or The X Factor. I couldn’t help thinking that having the new Doctor walk out to a reception of strobing lasers, symphonic music and cheering fans would have been a bit of a gamble if – and no disrespect to him as he’s a very good actor  – Daniel Rigby had walked out instead. The BBC must have been pretty certain that Capaldi’s casting would have the desired effect.

And he’s a brilliant choice. For all the people who’ve knocked Executive Producer Steven Moffat over the last few years, he’s been brave enough to cast someone in their mid 50s; in fact, Capaldi is the same age as William Hartnell when Doctor Who started in 1963. In this anniversary year, there’s a pleasing symmetry in giving the role back to an actor of senior years and silver hair.

Casting someone older immediately changes the dynamics of the series. Gone will be the tedious flirting between the Doctor and companion – if it isn’t, it’ll look very inappropriate – and perhaps we’ll be back to a trio in the TARDIS with the addition of a younger male lead, akin to Ian Chesterton or Jamie McCrimmon, who's not surplus to requirements as the criminally wasted Arthur Darvill’s Rory was.

As a long term fan, it’s also brilliant to have an actor playing the Doctor who’s older than me again. That hasn’t happened since Paul McGann briefly took the controls of the TARDIS in 1996. Suddenly we’re all children again.

And was it just me, or were there a couple of clips from Troughton stories in Dr Who Live that I’d never seen before?

Maybe in this anniversary year, all our dreams can come true.


  1. Good and accurate summation, and in the main I agree. When Matt took over The Moff said that he was "an old man in a young man's body". I think Peter 2 will be a young man in an old body, without the need for a third companion. Pertwee 2 if you like. And as far as I noticed the "new" Troughton clips were from UNDERWATER MENACE 2. And ENEMY OF THE WORLD 6 ;-)