Back in the dark ages, where geek culture was a mere sideshow distraction and not the all-encompassing, social identity it has become today, a young and ashamed Peter Capaldi sought to rid himself of the label once and for all, by throwing his impressive haul of collectables onto a bonfire.
The Doctor elect told The Big Issue in its Letters to My Younger Self feature of his childhood obsession with the series and lifetime love of all-things geek. However, things weren’t always so rosy in the Scottish actor’s world of comics and sci-fi:
I destroyed all my geek stuff because I didn’t want to be a geek, and I regret it to this day. Consumed in the geek bonfire of the vanities was a collection of autographs and letters from Peter Cushing, Spike Milligan, Frankie Howerd, the first Doctor Whos, actual astronauts and many more.
Little did the young Twelfth Doctor know that one day the world would come around to his sensibilities:
I wish I’d known that one day the geek would inherit the Earth. When I was 16, geeks hadn’t been invented, so being tall and skinny, into horror movies and sci-fi and unable to play football simply made me the go-to guy for the sociopaths – some of them teachers – who wanted to practise their torturing skills on someone.
Addressing his younger self, Capaldi also said that he learned to embrace his Glasgow accent despite the “Shakespeare-loving intellectuals” that clogged the acting world – an accent that Steven Moffat said he was ‘pretty certain’ he’d keep when he’s introduced as the Doctor in this year’s Christmas special:
They were Shakespeare-loving intellectuals who devoured books but were also passionate and ‘edgy’, constantly angry about something or other, spitting and shouting at each other in that actory voice.
What was that voice? ‘Neutral,’ I was told. Neutral? But it sounds like you’d have to swallow mugs-full of Lord Byron’s saliva and inject Churchill’s cigar-butt juice into your vocal chords to come even close to ballooning your own voice into that impossible sound.
Neutral? No. It was Standard English. Even most English people didn’t speak it. What chance did I have, with my Glasgow accent and ice cream name?
I’d tell my younger self: worrying that you are crap is a waste of time. Worrying that you can’t do it is a waste of time. Worrying that you failed is a waste of time. No one cares. Just get on with it.
You can read Peter Capaldi’s full Letter to my Younger Myself on the Big Issue website.