Any kind of speculation when it comes to Doctor Who is a pretty pointless venture. Chances are pretty good that the people writing the program are a great deal smarter than you and are aware of what you’re saying anyway. Even if you did figure out their plan, who’s to say they can’t change it to keep you on your toes? That’s not to say I haven’t done my fair share of speculation in the past. Of course I have. When you get so deeply involved in a story, your mind naturally tries to jump ahead a bit, to solve the puzzle without the full picture. But I understand that anything I come up with will be miserably wrong.
That’s why, when they announced that Matt Smith was leaving the role of The Doctor, I largely ignored most of the hype. From time to time I would stop and think of what I would like to see in the next Doctor, but it ended there. My two preferences were, “Make it a woman, or an older gent.” Personally I feel The Doctor has been a bit young and sexy for too long. Matt Smith has been an exceedingly wonderful Doctor, always full of surprises and genius, and played against the sex appeal of his generation. Most actors his age are trying to do their best to look good for the camera. Smith seemed more interested in playing the role. Without a doubt, Smith was a rare jewel, as the Doctor should be, and I worried that casting another young man would be pushing it. Even David Tennant was a bit more suave and heroic and handsome. There was a lot of romance to his character. Although he did a great job of balancing it out with the “lonely God” aspect, never allowing himself to fully give in to the romance.
Since Doctor 10, I’ve had a problem with the Doctor/Companion relationship. Having the companion swoon for The Doctor a little bit makes sense. He’s a wild man from across the stars with the ability to go anywhere and everywhere and save the universe. Of course the companion is going to get a little melty in the heart over him. Unfortunately that gets tired quickly. I was always more engaged when The Doctor was a fatherly, professorial type figure. The companion may have a great deal of affection for him, of course, but carrying on sexual tension only goes so far. By making The Doctor a woman or an older Gent you can, hopefully, get back to the mutual respect shared between them. This may come across as a bit too conventional, and I’m aware of that. When you really look at the benefits of that dynamic, you see it lends itself to far more story possibilities, and that is the most important thing.
So now the newest Doctor has been named. While watching the program I found myself getting much more excited then I had anticipated. Sure I was interested – How could I not be? Then I thought, “This is what Doctor Who is all about. Moving forward. Change. Possibilities.”
As they started to introduce the new Doctor, they lingered on, sending out a page of adjectives about how important this is. It drove me mad. “Shut the hell up and tell us!” I literally blurted out, surprising myself. You see, when David left the show, I didn’t get to see the announcement live. I found out about it a week or so later. My internet savvy had yet to blossom into its current mediocre state, and I had to wait until the special was posted on youtube. That was before America went WHO CRAZY and mainstream media outlets were updating on the casting. (I can not tell you how surreal it is to go on some mainstream entertainment news site and see headlines about Doctor Who.) I didn’t get a chance to experience that nail-biting moment.
Finally, Peter Capaldi, a tall, lanky, thin, man with peppered hair, and a bit of a beaked nose, was revealed. I’d seen him before. He was on the 4th season episode called “The Fires of Pompeii”, and he played John Frobisher on Torchwood. At once I saw Christopher Eccleston, Paul Mcgann, Tom Baker, John Pertwee, Patrick Troughton, and a touch of Sylvester McCoy in his features. The dynamic I began to describe above flashed through my mind. It felt like going back to the Classic Who years.
But that’s only speculation, isn’t it? They could go in a completely different direction with him. He may talk in a thick German accent, do cartwheels around the Tardis, and spit on people to say hello.
This winter will see the fall of the 11th, a perfectly remarkable Doctor, a Doctor for the ages. That makes me very sad. As stated above though, Doctor Who is about possibilities, about moving on, reinventing itself, regenerating. What will this new Doctor hold in store? Hopefully none of the rubbish I just mentioned. Who knows, really? Not me. And that makes me exceptionally happy.
Hello, Peter Capaldi…welcome to The Tardis.
Bonus for him vaguely resembling The Valeyard.