Sunday, 4 August 2013

Doctor 12 Revealed!

Doctor... Who?
It seems a little redundant, but be warned there are spoilers in this post.  I'd be amazed if you made it here without already knowing though.

On June 1st, Matt Smith announced he would be stepping down as the Doctor, stating 'when you gotta go, you gotta go'.  Since then he has expressed regret, after seeing the fans' reactions, but it was too late- the search for probably the most iconic character on British television had begun.

The internet was abuzz, and the usual speculation started again- would the Doctor be a black man? A woman? An unknown actor like Matt Smith was, or a well-known celebrity?  Young to attract younger audiences, or older to go back to the show's roots?  And most importantly, would the Doctor be ginger?  All sorts of names popped up at betting offices, ranging from Russell Tovey (best known from Being Human), to Olivia Coleman (Hot Fuzz) and Rupert Grint (Harry Potter)- some even had odds for Grint's Hogwarts classmates Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson!

The BBC then decided to make a live announcement for the new Doctor, as they would rather make an official announcement than have yet another online leak spoiling it for everyone.  Funnily enough this live special was announced around the same time one particular actor shot up in the bookies' odds- to the point where he became favourite and no further bets were taken.  This man had appeared in the show before, was an avid fan of the show, and would keep to the tradition of the Doctor being a middle-aged white man, so seemed like a pretty safe bet- and the rumours turned out to be true, as this is the face of our new Doctor:
The 12th Doctor: Peter Capaldi
"The list went 'Peter Capaldi'.  It was a very short list."- words from Stephen Moffat, who apparently thought Capaldi was the only option to succeed Matt Smith.  For those of you who don't recognise him, he has previously featured in In the Loop, the BBC TV adaptation of Neverwhere, and The Thick of It.  It goes without saying that he is an excellent actor, but will he make a good Doctor?  Only time will tell.  But where's the fun in waiting?  Time for speculation!

First, an observation of previous regenerations: The replacement always has a personality that addresses the previous incarnation's weakness.  Going just on the new-series Doctors, Nine's weakness was his aggression so Ten became much softer and more forgiving- but in doing so became overly sensitive and so his relationship with Rose became his weakness.  Indeed his constant acceptance ate him up inside until he couldn't take any more, leading to the 'Time Lord Victorious' element towards the end of his arc.  Eleven did away with any love for humans (the exception being River Song, whose relationship I see as more of a pre-destination paradox but more on that in a later blog).  He chose instead to go back to treating humans as an icky alien species and generally jumped to conclusions quicker than previous Doctors that so far seem to have paid off.  As a result, I believe this new Doctor will counter Eleven's short-sightedness and be much more methodical, planning before he acts, possibly resulting in another 'greater good' scenario echoing the Time War.  And I believe he won't necessarily make the right decision, as part of his progression into the inevitable Valeyard.  Looking at Capaldi, he has a very sinister look- especially in his promotional video:

This suggests his Doctor will have a darker edge to him, and he looks much more serious than Smith whilst still having a mischievous side- in fact closely resembling the first Doctor, William Hartnell.  Recent viewers of Doctor Who may be surprised to learn that the first Doctor was very different from the one we know and love- he was an old man that stole a TARDIS, lived as a recluse, and was extremely curious- often putting his companions in harm's way just to explore a little further.  If Moffat does have plans to descend slowly towards the Valeyard, then I shall certainly be interested to see what happens next...

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