Every few years we must meet heartbreak and anxiety with enthusiasm as we anticipate a new Doctor. That time has come again as we bid farewell to 11 and welcome 12. Matt Smith ended his 3 season reign as the 11th Doctor last year in The Time of the Doctor, the 800th episode of BBC’s long running series. The Doctor, who had run out of regenerations, was gifted more regeneration power by the Time Lords. Using the energy of his regeneration, The Doctor destroyed the Daleks, and said a final goodbye to Amy Pond (in the form of a hallucination), before regenerating into his 12th incarnation.
Matt Smith’s Doctor was lively, boyish, and curious. He was just what we needed after Tennant’s energy departed with the 10th doctor’s end. Wearing a tweed Jacket with a bowtie and suspenders, The 11th Doctor was a child in a young man’s body, with a chaotic disposition that was down right manic. He might suddenly pop on a Fez, or give way to an aggressive rant. Where as Tennant’s 10th Doctor had a relationship with his companion Rose (as portrayed by Billie Pipper) that bordered on (and crossed the border of) romance, Smith’s Doctor was more like a childhood friend to his first companion Amy Pond (as portrayed by Karen Gillan). As a childish Doctor, the first person 11 ever saw was Amy Pond as a child. 11’s childishness was better presented by meeting Pond in this way. After he disappeared (moments for him, about a decade for her), Amy came to think of the Doctor as her imaginary friend. That is essentially the role he played, and the direction the story took, with Pond eschewing the coming responsibilities of adulthood by going on adventures with her (not so) imaginary friend. Though we do not yet know what the 12th Doctor will be for us, but we have had time to understand how we will remember the 11th.
The 12th Incarnation of the Doctor is played by 56 year old Scottish Actor Peter Capaldi (Skins, The Thick of It, In the Loop). Capaldi, who was once in the punk rock band the Dreamboys with Comedian and fellow Scot Craig Ferguson, will be the oldest actor to take on the role since its start in 1963 (excepting the unnumbered “War Doctor” recently portrayed by Harry Potter‘s John Hurt). Having already appeared in both Doctor Who (The Fires of Pompeii, which also featured a pre-Amy Pond Karen Gillan), and its spinoff series Torchwood (Children of Earth) in different roles, Capaldi was also considered for the 11th Doctor by Showrunner Steven Moffat before Matt Smith was selected. Amuzingly, Capaldi is credited as W.H.O. Doctor in the 2013 movie World War Z.
Though, not the first Scottish actor to play the part, he is (to my knowledge) the first to play the Doctor with a Scottish accent. In an interview with The Sun, David Tennant was asked about the accent choice. “I just think it’s lazy,” he joked before expressing his own hesitance to give up the job when he did, “part of me would have stayed doing it forever.” “It will be a different show and it will be a new show,” said 11th Doctor Matt Smith in discussing the change to Capaldi, “and that’s what Doctor Who is about, and I’ve got to let it go.” Remaining on the show, though rumor suggests for only this upcoming season, Jenna Coleman talked about the change as well. “I always thought Matt was so young looking but had this older, wiser quality about him, whereas Peter is almost the opposite,” said the impossible girl herself, “Somehow he has this energy that is younger.” Executive Producer Stephen Moffat has told fans to expect something similar to Tom Baker’s 4th Doctor in the first episodes of the season.
Personally, I best remember Peter Capaldi as Sid’s Dad in the first 2 seasons of Skins, a central part of an emotionally wrenching episode. That was my first introduction to the actor, who quickly became an “oh its that guy” figure for me, along with fellow Skins father Mark Heap (Spaced, Green Wing). I didn’t know Capaldi’s name until it was being discussed for Doctor Who. But now it is in my lexicon, as I am sure it is for many others who know the names Christopher Eccleston (9th Doctor), David Tennant (10th Doctor), and Matt Smith (11th Doctor).
When talking about his portrayal as the Doctor, Capaldi was concerned with being the “old” Doctor and wanted to make sure his incarnation of the Time Lord was active and energetic. Capaldi’s Doctor, as described by Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin, is a less reliable and weary Doctor following the events of last season. It seems that being the oldest actor to portray the Doctor yet, might lend Capaldi’s Doctor a grounding gravity he hasn’t had in his more youthful iterations.
With every new doctor, of course, comes a new wardrobe that defines him. “He’s woven the future from the cloth of the past,” Said Capaldi as part of a press release from the BBC, “Simple, stark, and back to basics. No frills, no scarf, no messing, just 100 percent Rebel Time Lord.” The Doctors new look includes a “dark blue Crombie coat with red lining,” and “dark blue trousers.” He will be wearing a white shirt with long sleeves and loose cuffs, a vest, a prominent ring, and his feet will be housed in black Doc Marten shoes. All of this brings a more refined and serious look to the Time Lord, while maintaining an individualistic style. The Tardis has had a bit of a redesign as well. Those who have seen the new set have described piles of soft cover books and loose calculations in chalk.
Doctor Who returns to TV, with Capaldi helming the Tardis as the 12th iteration of the Doctor, this Saturday, August 23rd on BBC America. Stay tuned to TVEnthusiast for coverage of Doctor Who and all of your other favorite shows. Please let us know what you think about this version of the Doctor in our comments.