Peter Capaldi is The Doctor


BAFTA Awards 2010 - Arrivals - London

Chuffed is the word I would use. Chuffed.

Peter Capaldi is a great choice for the 12th (or is he the 12th?) incarnation of the Doctor and will appear as the famous Timelord for the first time on Christmas Day. The OTT build up to the announcement and the simulcast in Australia, Canada and the US shows why – like James Bond and Sherlock Holmes, the character is well-loved and internationally recognised. The Doctor and the show are important for several reasons mostly because it has a solid and loyal fan base, but most of all it is a family show that tests us, makes us laugh, scares us and even makes us question things.

I have just started watching the first of the newly revived series with Jake and seeing him so ensconced in the show reminds me of how wonderful a show it is. There is nothing else like it and never has been because the only constant in the programme is the character of the Doctor – in with that it means that each and every week a new location, cast, setting, style, genre can be mixed with the bedrock of sci-fi the show is and then take it where and when-ever it wants. I studied the David Tennant years of the show with both Int 2 and Higher Media and the more that you watch it the more it opens up and becomes something bigger. Pupils who would have never have watched it before talked about enjoying it and being involved with the characters – from a teenage audience this is impressive.

Like the best stories, books, plays, television shows and films it allows you to enjoy it at your own level. Kids love the Good vs. Evil element as they do with Superhero stories; adults like the relationships and stories and we can all sit down together to watch it. Unlike Bond and Holmes though The Doctor is a TV character first and literary one second which makes him unique in that he comes to us as a fully formed idea made purely for the small box in the corner of the room. The show was designed by focus group trying to find a family show that would go on after the Saturday afternoon football before the light entertainment big hitters came on – it was a show by numbers effectively. Thinking about it The Doctor is really unique in that way and to still be exciting and scaring new generations of kids is brilliant. He was the first real TV character to become so iconic and still maintain the interest of audiences fifty years later. And a British one at that.

Peter Davison was my first Doctor – well technically I remember Tom Baker turning into Davison  – but this wild and wonderful show was part of my childhood and is again thankfully in my adulthood too. David Tennant is as much my Doctor as anyone else because with his acting and Russell T Davis’s scripts I fell in love with the character and the stories again. That’s why I get a little annoyed at Steven Moffat forgetting the importance of building characters and relationships we care about – for me the Sci-Fi element is only there to allow the end of the episode to be tied up nicely with the bad guy losing, the rest is about how the characters interact. Moffat has been too worried that the plot is king and has missed the like-ability elements. Hopefully with Peter Capaldi at the helm we’ll see a different angle and direction for the thousand year old Timelord.

Capaldi will bring a darker more thoughtful edge to the Doctor, but I’m sure he has lots of ideas being a big fan of the show himself of the direction to take him. I do wonder what kids will feel when the are Googling him tonight and finding so many clips on YouTube of him swearing!

Congratulations Peter.




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