Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Peter Capaldi is our 12th Doctor!

It's been described as the World Cup for Nerds! Yes, that's right, our new Doctor has been announced and it's none other than one of Britain's finest; Peter Capaldi.

Many of us were waiting with baited breath to see who would replace Matt Smith at the helm of the TARDIS and now that we've all had a chance to calm down, sleep (after the 4am Australian announcement) and stop melting the Internet, I can take you under the cut for some more excitement and discussion about the 12th Doctor!

You'll have to forgive me because I am so excited that when I finally got to watch the special I was literally clapping at the screen. HE WILL BE AMAZING. Seriously.

Let's start with the special itself and Matt Smith's interview. If you missed it and live in Australia you can still watch it on ABC iView and it's pretty great. It features some quick interviews with Peter Davison and Bernard Cribbins, some snippets from various companions and television personalities and a few stories from Steven Moffat. My favourite part though was Matt's genuine and lovely interview where he explained how much he's enjoyed working on the show and being the Doctor and how happy he is about who was cast. He told a story about meeting Capaldi in the street after his first episode The Eleventh Hour had aired and Capaldi telling him that he loved it and he thought Matt was going to be a great Doctor. Matt really needed to hear it at the time and is thrilled that now he gets to say the same thing back to Capaldi.

So who is this guy anyway? I was interested to see the Doctor announced this time and realise that I had seen his work before and could access a whole bunch more if I wanted to. Most people know him as Malcolm Tucker in the UK hit The Thick of It. Look up some clips on YouTube; it's gold. But be aware, Capaldi's character swears more than any sailor! His Doctor will probably be a far cry from this ball-busting character.

Capaldi has been a life long fan of Doctor Who and in the special we even see a copy of a letter about Doctor Who that he wrote to a newspaper as a 15 year old. It's pretty amazing.

He's been in Who himself; as the father  of a family that David Tennant's Doctor saves in The Fires of Pompeii. The writers seem obsessed with that episode because not only have we gotten the 12th Doctor out of it but recent companion Karen Gillan was discovered in that episode as well.

He's also starred in Torchwood: Children of Earth which was amazing and goddamn traumatising so it might be difficult for long time fans to revisit his work in that, but if you haven't seen it before then you really should because it's brilliant.

I saw him a while back in the mini-series The Devil's Whore starring Andrea Riseborough and John Simm (another Who alumni now) and in the original Skin's first season so there are plenty of different types of roles for fans to go and watch as they prepare to see him step into the role of the Doctor next year.

There was a lot of speculation before the announcement (as there has been in the last two regenerations) that it might be about time that Doctor Who cast a person of colour or even a woman in the lead. Unfortunately this was not the case, but the thing I take solace from is this; 1. The Doctor should be played by the RIGHT person at the time and if that is a male, female, person of colour, non-British person etc. then so be it. The Doctor is about humanity and possibility and I believe that this is a show where those boundaries can be explored. However 2. I am REALLY GLAD that ethnicity and gender are not in the hands of Steven Moffat when it has come to the character of the Doctor. I don't think that Moffat has the nuance and sensitivity to write those sorts of ground-breaking changes effectively. Instead, we have an amazing actor who is going to be an amazingly complex Doctor and show us a broad range of the emotional and human characteristics which are so important to the show. It's okay; Moffat got the youngest cast Doctor and the oldest once Capaldi actually starts shooting so he can have those records instead!

My one concern is how well Jenna-Louise Coleman's Clara will fit with this new incarnation. She was purpose-written for Matt Smith's Doctor and I don't think that Capaldi's Doctor will even remotely resemble Matt's. While I am going to really enjoy the Doctor not being made into a love interest (finally) for season upon season, I am worried that the beginnings of Clara's seemingly sexual/cheeky relationship with Matt's Doctor might make the transition seem odd. I think the Billie Piper - Christopher Eccleston - David Tennant transition was handled really well, despite there being a budding romance included. What I actually didn't like is the remnants of that relationship hanging around like a bad smell for seasons after. Martha's character was completely caught up and overshadowed by the Rose romance, Donna had to constantly explain that she was not romantically interested in the Doctor which became annoying and Matt's Doctor and Amy Pond were constantly tugging in a who-does-she-love-more situation before it became clear that people liked Rory and wouldn't abide hanky-panky. Then there was the whole River Song romance which was strained and terrible (TERRIBLE) and now Clara. It's old. It's done. Can we please move on?

New Doctor! Exciting times! Are you happy with the choice? Tell us all about it!


  1. Call me a nutter, but I wanted Matt Smith to do one more year before calling it quits. Just one. And I just am not sold on the new guy. I liked the younger Tennant and Smith versions of the Doctor...seeing him go older now? I'm skeptical. BUT...I will still be watching, so it is what it is. :)

    1. You're not a nutter; I too was shocked that he decided to announce and bow out with only two episodes to go. I guess having loved Eccleston who was on the older side before Tennant and Smith I am more recently adjusted to the older Doctor. Of course there are the old series' but I can understand that those are a long time ago. Hopefully he will be good and endearing.

    2. Wanted to revisit this after time has passed. I actually have two more episodes left in the latest series. I save them on my DVR so that I can trickle through slowly, savor each one. I do that with Who and Walking Dead and Breaking Bad, any show that has a limited amount of episodes and I want to enjoy an episode at my leisure.

      Having watched the episode with Jenny and Strax and Madame Vastra, I think it was called The Crimson Horror but I am not sure, but now KNOWING that The Doctor will be changing, I am more at ease with the decision. In fact, I think I want it. It was weird, I went back and watched a few other episodes after Amy and Rory left. And it didn't feel right. I noticed I had never waited THIS long to finish a Doctor Who series before.

      The chemistry, the magic, isn't the same, and hasn't been, since what happened with Amy and Rory. I don't think I like that outcome. Series 7 overall has been a bit plodding.

      Happy to admit I may have been a bit hasty in the above response. I think I AM ready for a new Doctor, and a new direction. I am not as ready to say I don't like Moffat. I think he is one gifted guy. After all, Sherlock is another one of my favorite shows. As I recall when Russell Davies was running things I remember reading on the Internet people writing about wanting HIM to step down.

      In some ways, I almost feel like I shouldn't even comment on The Doctor. It is so uniquely British. I am an American. Only the English could create a hero so brilliant and complex, who does not even carry a gun. That would never happen here. In many ways I feel lucky just to be allowed to WATCH the show. :)

    3. Yes, I think Season 7 got off to a solid start and Amy and Rory really started to finally find their stride and then Clara was introduced and the chemistry was forced. I loved Oswin and the Victorian Era Clara and the modern day version just hasn't clicked for me.

      As far as Moffat goes, I do think we need a new show runner now. It's time. I think Moffat if incredibly gifted as a writer, but not as a show runner. I also love Sherlock but have to acknowledge that Sherlock is only 3 episodes a season, which is a lot easier to manage in terms of arc and plot development. Mark Gatiss - Moffats show running partner on Sherlock - is also superb and may be what is holding that all together.

      For me, Moffat's treatment/writing of women doesn't quite hold up. I am used to connecting to the companions and seeing Who through their eyes to some degree and Amy never really worked for me. Rory did to a far greater extent as time continued and that was because he was allowed to grow and develop and change and have personality and profession that wasn't too stereotyped. Oswin started out as a go-getting wiz kid and as Clara she doesn't quite sing for me yet. Interested to see what Capaldi's Doctor will bring to her development.

      Russell gave us some great character development but then got a little too attached to certain elements (as I think Moffat is now) and I think he left at the right time. He did a wonderful job reviving the franchise though.

      And I think we are all very lucky to be allowed to have something like Who. I am from Australia and I feel like a complex hero who looks at a non-violent approach and uses his brain is something the world desperately needs.

  2. Hugely pleased with the casting of Peter Capaldi. I'm a huge fan of The Thick of It, so I know he can bring the ANGER, and he's genuinely hilarious when he needs to be. I'll be curious to see how he balances it. My first memories of the Doctor are reruns of the William Hartnell episodes, so I like my Doctor older and more curmudgeonly.

    In terms of the Doctor/Clara interplay, I'll be honest I never really warmed to Clara so it'll be nice to see how they expand the supporting cast... And how River Song reacts to the new Doctor too... So many possibilities!