Just in case Mr Capaldi ever wanders by this piece of the web I’d just like to add my congratulations. I’m absolutely looking forward to his turn at the TARDIS helm and this is not a reflection on Matt Smith’s energetic performance but a sense of emerging possibilities for the show. I liked his performance in Torchwood and think this might work well for reasons I cover later.
That aside, let me just reflect on the news…
Where was I when I heard
As though it matters, where was I when I heard the news? In this case, where was I when I watched the slightly surreal (more later) BBC live reveal programme?
As a matter of fact (thanks for asking) I was out near the Western Edge of Mainland Europe (ok the Dingle Peninsula to be precise – has Doctor Who ever been to Dingle?) and I only mention it as it was only some few dozen yards from the location where I watched the triumphant return of nu-Who with Rose. Clearly this is an omen!
Many places had plumped for Peter Capaldi (including the Radio Times) so I was unsurprised and by the time the announcement happened I was downright pleased. An older Doctor (older than me for the first time in decades) and a clear change of direction for the show which I suspect will widen the audience and bring back some of the more casual viewers who may have drifted away in recent years.
He is also clearly a fan and this is something I return to below. It also seems that the choice is widely popular and the live audience on the reveal show certainly seemed positive.
Peter Capaldi played Frobisher in Torchwood: Children of Earth and also Caecilious in Fires of Pompeii – so what?! Colin Baker played a minor part not long before getting his turn in the TARDIS and Lalla Ward played both Princess Astra and Romana. Eve Myles was in The Unquiet Dead and her similarity to her own character was actually mentioned in Stolen Earth / Journey’s End. It doesn’t really matter!
I also note that Peter Capaldi played Islington in the original TV Neverwhere a part played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the 2013 radio adaptation. Mr Comberbatch has often been tipped for the Doctor.
Most importantly I felt that the live TV programme was all about the BBC saying to the fans ‘look, we know you are important, we are still fans but we are also professional TV people’. I suspect a lot of fans will feel more positive towards Steven Moffat than has recently been the case. Only time will tell. I for one am definitely looking forward to this year’s Christmas special!