For the past seven years, the Doctor has been presented as essentially the same character, a wild and sexually charged personality with lots of whimsy. While the classic Eight Doctors have all had unique characteristics that made them so distinctive. The transition from Eccleston to Tennant to Smith was not all that different. He retained the youthful exuberance as well as the romantic relationship/tension with his assistant. The Doctor has retained a magical quality throughout the past seven years that have made him god-like in power, obsessed with pop culture and as head writer Steven Moffat described him, ‘just a bloke.’ Of course all of that got turned around in the series 7 finale when a battle-worn stranger appeared, a previous incarnation of the Doctor who had done something so unspeakable that he was not recognized as the Doctor at all. Perhaps that makes the transition to an older Doctor who will (hopefully) be different in many ways to the previous three incarnations.
Aged 55, Peter Capaldi is the same age as William Hartnell, the first actor to play the part of Doctor Who. An actor renowned for his portrayal as Malcolm Tucker in Armando Iannucci’s The Thick of It and the feature film In The Loop (in addition to many other programs including Torchwood and Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere), Capaldi is an our of left field choice to some. Neither young nor odd nor hip and trendy, this is an actor with some bite to him and a strong reputation as well. It is important to note that the expletive-laden fowl-mouthed role of Malcolm Tucker has stuck with Capaldi, who himself admits needs to shed in order to progress as the Doctor. Even so, screen cap mash-ups appears of Tucker bad-mouthing Daleks since his name was first mentioned as a possibility earlier this week.
This is a complete about face from the tweenage dream of Tennant and Smith, both of whom were icons to the younger generation. It raises the bar and challenges the integrity of Doctor Who for the first time in ages.
“He’s a Doctor that tweenage fangirls will find it hard to swoon over, bringing a composure and a humour that’ll be entirely different to Smith’s or Tennant’s pin-up cheekiness, and yet which will be entirely appropriate to a 1,000 year old man. It’s nice to have the older Doctor back after nearly a decade of GQ-able Gallifreyans. Are we about to get a 21st century Hartnell-like? That would be no bad thing.” -Rob Smedley of Cultbox
What is interesting is that the announcement of the new Doctor has for the first time been surrounded with so much glitzy presentation, revealed live in British TV four hours ago now. For those not in the know, this was never the case in the past. There was certainly no live TV broadcast celebrating the tenure of Patrick Troughton ending in the announcement of entertainer Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor Who. Even the announcement of Matt Smith was included as part of the Doctor Who Confidential in Tennant’s final year. But, as the program is far more popular than it has been in the past 50 years, maybe this is just a sign of the times?
Still, it is weird seeing it like this:
Personally, I was pulling for Richard Ayoade of the IT Crowd, but am overjoyed at the announcement that Capaldi will taking up the lapels of Doctor Who and facing down the menaces of the future and the past, from beyond the stars and the center of the Earth, within our psyches and outside of imagination. The new era of Doctor Who begins… and we are in for a helluva ride.