Today is the day that Whovians always look forward to, dread, rant about.
It’s time for a new Doctor.
My first Doctor was Tom Baker. I was introduced to him when my mom sat me down in front of PBS on a refular basis. Doctor Who was on one end, Sesame Street and 3-2-1 Contact on the other. The perfect mix of education and weirdness.
Over the years, I’ve gone through the same roller coaster that many Whovians have. I liked Peter Davidson. By Colin Baker, I had lost interest, sucked into all the drama of my growing up life. I briefly remember Sylvester McCoy. The same with Paul McGann. It seemed like Doctor Who was a beloved memory that was to be fondly thought of, but had no weight on the present.
Then came Russell T. Davies, and his wondrous, miraculous, fabulous rebirth. I wasn’t a fan of Christopher Eccleston, mainly because I was influenced by his bad mouthing the part, but he brought back my old childhood friend, the Doctor. In this way, I suppose many of us are like Amy Pond- the Doctor may not have been our imaginary friend, but he was certainly a familiar face from our childhood. I adored David Tennant, and how could you not love him? After Eccleston, I think many Whovians were ecstatic that someone had taken on the role who so obviously loved the character as much as we do. When Matt Smith was announced as the 11th, I was unsure, but by the end of “The Eleventh Hour” I was completely and totally in love with how he was playing the Doctor.
The announcement of the 12th Doctor sets a high bar. Supposedly, this is the last incarnation of the Doctor, which makes the casting very important (although Moffat has hinted that this “fact” could be disregarded). Will this be the end of the Doctor? Will millions of Whovians around the world have to say goodbye to our childhood friend? Or will Moffat a la Amy Pond in “The Big Bang” find a way around this “fact”? The appearance of John Hurt as a mysterious “missing” Doctor at the end of Series 7 certainly points to this.
It makes this casting decision important.
So the choice of Peter Capaldi is…interesting. Not least because Moffat has always gone on and on about liking unknowns for the role of Doctor, and Capaldi is anything but with a ridiculously long filmography. Given the John Hurt reveal though at the end of Series 7, Capaldi does seem an interesting bridge. I have to say I’m a little disappointed so far as the surprise goes as Capaldi has been the Internet/bookie favorite for weeks now.
With every new Doctor, there are stages- sadness that OUR Doctor is leaving, denial that he’s leaving, resolve to hate the new guy, adjustment, and then love and adoration. The truth is, only time will tell how we’ll love/hate the Doctor. I can say, that each incarnation has broughr something new and different to the role, and I look forward to seeing what Capaldi brings to it.
I will say that BBC America’s live coverage was annoying. It was dragged out (30 minute special, and of course, it wasn’t until minute 27 that we learned the new Doctor’s identity), and seemed oblivious to the fact that no one cared about the panel, or the talking heads. The background interviews didn’t tell us anything that we haven’t seen a million times before. We didn’t want the hype, we wanted the announcement. But that seems to be the nature of the beast these days.
As for the panel? Peter Davidson? Fine. Stupid kid who can only reference from Eccleston? Nope, kick him off the stage. Bernard Cribbins can’t correctly identify Christopher Eccleston’s name? Yeah, goodbye. I found Zoe Ball’s joke about a female Doctor “could happen” sometime soon felt ridiculous. Like telling women that we can do it, if only… As long as this is the attitude no wonder we’re not getting a female Doctor. Or a black one. Or an Asia one. Or anyone who isn’t white, male and British.
We’ll all have to wait until Christmas for Capaldi’s official introduction, and until then, the Internet may break with speculation (if it hasn’t already). Time will tell where we fall on the stages of grief over the 11th Doctor