As Peter Capaldi is revealed as the 12th incarnation of ‘The Doctor’, we take a look at why he just might be the perfect choice for the role
So yesterday the BBC finally dropped the massive bombshell they have been clutching to their chest and let the rest of the world in on the secret identity of the 12th incarnation of ‘the Doctor’.
Speculation as to the identity of the next Doctor has been rife since the revelation on 1st June 2013 that current leading man Matt Smith would be leaving the show after this year’s Christmas special.
Theories about the direction that writer Steven Moffat and his team would take with this next choice covered many avenues, including talk that we could see the first black doctor, or even the first female time lord to take to the screen.
By the end of last week, bookmakers had the list narrowed down to just a few favourites: Ben Whishaw (Skyfall), Ben Daniels (Jack the Giant Slayer), David Harewood (Blood Diamond) and Andrew Scott (Sherlock) were all in the mix, but pretty soon one name rose to the top of the pile. One man who, unbeknownst to all but 10 privileged BBC execs was actually already secure in the position. That man, as we now all know, was Peter Capaldi.
Some people out there on the internet seem to have been less than thrilled with the announcement, citing everything from his age (at 55, Capaldi is the second oldest actor to play the Doctor – although William Hartnell was a mere 3 months older when he played the role back in 1963) to the fact that the BBC didn’t opt for another ‘unknown’ as it did with Matt Smith.
Here are a few reasons why Capaldi may just be the perfect fit for the part:
Yes, he IS an older actor, but that’s not a bad thing
As much as fans now love Matt Smith’s young exuberant portrayal of the Doctor, the character actually has a very dark and complex past. While this has been explored to an extent with recent Doctors, Capaldi should be more than capable of fully bringing the darker side of the Doctor to the surface. Some viewers have criticised the most recent series of the show for its apparent lack of a strong main story arc, so hopefully the change in lead should give head writer Steven Moffat scope to delve deeper into the 900+ years of the Doctor’s existence and expose more of his heart (hearts?).
He is a lifelong fan of the show
They say you should do what you love, and that people who love their jobs are better at them as a result. So putting an actor in a role that they have followed and loved for a number of years should yield some really good results. If fans are excited to see Capaldi take hold of the famous sonic screwdriver, that is nothing compared to how the actor himself feels:
“Being asked to play The Doctor is an amazing privilege. Like the Doctor himself I find myself in a state of utter terror and delight. I can’t wait to get started.”
If Capaldi brings as much enthusiasm to the actual performance on the show, 2014 should be an amazing year for the Doctor.
The Doctor will be a big step up for him
Despite some skepticism surrounding not giving the part to an ‘unknown’ actor with less experience this time around, when you look at it, Capaldi hasn’t really had that many leading roles in his career. The programme with which he has made his name on British television; political comedy/drama The Thick of it has been his only really ‘big’ success in a main role, with the majority of his other appearances being as a supporting member only. Doctor Who is a chance for Capaldi to show that there is more in his repertoire than just Malcolm Tucker. It gives him the perfect opportunity to show a different side to his acting and make himself known to a new audience. And speaking of new fans:
He could attract a whole new generation of fans to the show
Doctor Who has a frankly massive fan base already. From parents who grew up with the original show to younger viewers who have only known the Doctor since Christopher Eccleston brought the character back to our TV screens in 2005. The Doctor of recent history has been liberally sprinkled with pop culture references and high energy performances from its young cast. While some people are upset that the new Doctor isn’t going to be as ‘young and hip’ as Matt Smith, giving the character a more mature visage might even lea towards attracting another new group of fans to the show. Maybe people who didn’t watch the original show back in the 60’s and have avoided the new episodes because it might be seen as appealing to a younger audience will be drawn in by having Capaldi at the helm. The small number of viewers the show might lose for this same reason will probably not be enough to worry BBC execs just yet.
His one previous lead role
As mentioned above, Peter Capaldi’s one big leading role to date was in TV political drama/comedy The Thick of it. He played a spin doctor called Malcolm Tucker, who worked for the British government trying to cover up the messes made by politicians on a daily basis. Capaldi’s performance was the main driving force that made the show so watchable. His loud, witty and always curse-filled rants are the highlight of any scene and everything is delivered with such conviction and belief by Capaldi that the character himself has become synonymous with expressing dissatisfaction at even the smallest of things. While Capaldi should definitely be able to bring a new gravitas to the Doctor and let us delve into his tortured past, there will undoubtedly be no lack of comedy and entertainment mixed in, if only to break up some of the darker material that could form part of the main theme/arc of season 8.
So let online commenters and skeptics argue about the issues surrounding changing the actor for such a major character, Peter Capaldi has every chance to make this role his own, and continue to entertain Doctor Who fans around the world for another few years. Give people a chance to see his first season, even his first episode and many of those skeptics may quickly change their tune and start singing Capaldi’s praises. He may even start to make people think that they should change their choice of ‘favourite Doctor’.
Who knows? Only time will tell.