The Next Doctor

It’s been announced.

Peter Capaldi will be the 12th Doctor.

But what sort of doctor will he be? Will it be a return to the jaded cynicism of Christopher Eccleston? Or the promise of the darker “Non-Doctor” that was John Hurt?

I suppose the words of River Song are apt for this….



  1. says

    I had seen little of Capaldi as an actor before his appearance as Caecilius in the 2008 Doctor Who episode The Fires of Pompeii (which also featured future companion Karen Gillan as one of the cult of soothsayers!) but soon afterwards discovered his stand-out roles in The Thick of It and the third season of Torchwood, which are about as different as could be imagined and demonstrates his versatility. And he’s fifty years the junior of Bill Hartnell, which means Capaldi will be the same age he was when Hartnell began the show, fifty years ago.

    It’s a pity that the production team weren’t brave enough to cast a non-white or female actor, but particularly where women are concerned I would have had substantial and justifiable doubts about Steven Moffat being the best writer to write for a female Doctor… so hopefully a future show-runner will be a better person to break that mould.

  2. Rawnaeris says

    I liked him in Fires of Pompeii, and to be honest that’s the only thing I’ve ever seen him in.

    I’m tentatively optimistic for how he will play the Doctor. Although I do have to admit disappointment that we won’t have a ginger or female Doctor.

  3. CaitieCat says

    Capaldi was also in the second Prime Suspect series, for those who enjoy police procedurals with Helen Mirren as the lead, fighting sexism and the Old Plod Club to solve murders. Capaldi played a woman who was apparently* trans, and did a remarkable job. I usually hate cis people’s portrayals of trans people, but this was better than most.

    Still, I’ll believe it when I see the official announcements from the Beeb. I remember getting all excited about Paterson Joseph being the next Doctor last time, only to find, completely unexpectedly of course, that the role had gone to a – why, another white heterosexual cis man! Whew. Was worried we might set some awful precedent about having people of colour in leading roles. Dodged a bullet there. :(

    * Probably; she wasn’t closely defined, though female pronouns were used by people being polite, and rather cruelly, not by someone who was intent on treating her badly, which sure didn’t do my evening any good. When it sprang on me out of the blue: one of my favourite characters leaping to a transphobic practice to intimidate a trans woman into giving up some information, just…ugh. But not Capaldi’s fault, and he played the role with, I thought, genuine compassion for the character.

  4. firsttimereader says

    Well, for me, the obvious decision the BBC had to make is not male/female or trans/cis, or white/black

    It’s old/young.

    The powers at the beeb are probably sweating a little that their growing fan base of teenage girls is going to drop off somewhat, especially in the US. I already saw some “OMG” comments from youngsters who don’t know that traditionally the doctor is older than the last two have been. Older commenters seem to approve of the choice.

    It would indeed be interesting to have a female doctor. Steven Moffet was responsible for bringing in River Song wasn’t he?, a strong female character if ever there was one, he also mentioned that they have stated that it would be quite possible to regenerate as female. (I thought he meant that it was mentioned in a previous episode but I didn’t spot it). They have prepared the way for a woman. Maybe none of the serious actresses who have the required gravitas were up for it this time. I would love to see Maggie Smith playing the doctor. I know that Helen Mirren ruled herself out.

    Does anybody really think the BBC would have to be “brave” to cast a black actor?, that’s nonsense.
    Nobody there gives a monkeys what colour he is, and neither do the vast majority of the audience. If a black actor got the job, it would be interesting for about half a millisecond.

  5. angharad says

    @firsttimereader – River Song started off awesome, but her back story stinks (she became an archaeologist just to make it easier for her to find the Doctor – that’s not clingy or anything). Also Clara – the ‘girl’ who exists only to save the Doctor….I can do without any more Stephen Moffat penned female characters. Plus he has generally in interviews been rather dismissive of the notion of a female regeneration (see his comments on the 12th Doctor announcement for example)

    Also did you note the recent protests about The Hunger Games character who was played by a black actress in the movies? People complained about that despite the fact that the character was actually black in the book! Do you think they would make rather more of a fuss about a white character played by a black person?

  6. jesse says

    Seeing as Capaldi got it — I wasn’t aware of his work in Torchwood, though I might have seen it and not remembered (I will have to go back through a re-watch).

    Anyhow, Matt Smith was the youngest ever to play the Doctor IIRC. So it will be good to go a bit older. And I really liked Eccleston’s Doctor a lot — Tennant was given to completely over-the-top hamminess, as was Smith. They could both sell it, but sometimes understated is a good thing.

    Steven Moffat has some good female characters but man, sometimes he drops the ball. I liked River Song a lot until he seemed to needlessly complicate the backstory. The whole bit about her being Amy’s baby, well…

    And then we get to the deeply problematic role Amy — and other female companions — get put in. The only two I remember who were generally active participants (in the old Who) were Sara Jane Smith and Leela. And Leela — gad, her ending was bad.

    Amy Pond’s exit was better, at least. And I agree that Clara could have been much better. Again at the beginning it was interesting — she actively challenges the Doctor at many levels. But then… oh well.

    I would have liked to see either Idris Elba or Colin Salmon as a black Doctor. That would be cool — I just like Salmon from his work in Prime Suspect, and Elba from Luther. (“Do I look like I’m Joking?”)

  7. The Count says

    Don’t forget that a black Doctor would only make news in the USA.

    On a personal note, I would love to see the Executive Producer regenerate back into Russell T. Davies. I like Steven Moffat’s writing in *small doses* but I don’t think he has done justice to the Doctor Who series as EP.

  8. says

    Russell was a better writer in terms of character “palatability”. Moffat just does plots really well. He gets horror and remember the Show is the trope namer for “hiding behind the sofa”.

    Dr. Who was always a Horror Show for kids. And Moffat’s Empty Child was just terrifying. Simple Props, Simple Set Up. Creepy as Hell. Moffat is a better writer than Davies but Davies made better characters.

    Moffat needs to just learn to write “characters better”. And I am sure he will learn. I didnt like “Amy Pond”. I liked Rory Williams… Watching him become the Last Centurion and take so many lessons in badassery was good to see. Or the twist in a Good Man Goes to War where you think the narrative is for the Doctor when it is for Rory? Remember Mickey? Mickey’s lessons in Badassery were always treated as a joke. He was the “talking robot dog” in his own words. Rory though? Rory grew. Probably more than anyone else in the Tardis at the time.

    Stephen Writes Well, it’s just that sometimes he falls down tropes that Doctor Who was famous for not falling down or playing with.

    I know the canon indicates that Time Lords keep their gender (so no female Time Lords unless they bring one back. But I feel that they shouldn’t unless Timothy Dalton’s going to reprise his role. They brought back Daleks right? So why not Time Lords get out? Could be fun!) but a black Time Lord would be fun. And Canon can be rewritten. Dr. Who is famous for rewriting stuff.

    Oh wait.

    There is one female Time Lord left… (Not Melody… Remember the Doctor has a Daughter…) could be fun seeing her again.

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