Published on August 7th, 2013 | by Andrew Reynolds
Peter Capaldi Casting Reaction
So there we have it. The perfect man takes on the perfect role. We couldn’t have asked for a more suitable actor to take the Doctor in a whole new direction following the departure of Matt Smith than The Thick of It star, Peter Capaldi.
What kind of Doctor will he be? Will he be darker? What will he be wearing? Will he be more alien? Will he be funny?
With so many questions hovering out there in the never-verse; we’ve collated, cross-examined and analysed the collective consciousness of fans, the media and those who know Peter to gauge just how excited the world is at his appointment.
We’ll start with a wonderful tribute from Armando Ianucci, the producer of The Thick of It, in which Capaldi plays political damage handler and “Spin Doctor” Malcolm Tucker.
There can't be a funnier, wiser, more exciting Time Lord than Peter Capaldi. The universe is in great hands. #DoctorWho
— Armando Iannucci (@Aiannucci) August 4, 2013
For those who missed the whole shebang; SFX have this handy breakdown of key moments that lead to the unveiling of the Twelfth Doctor. In his own words, Peter told the waiting world that even though he knew he was to be the Doctor, he still can’t quite see him in the mirror yet:
I’m surprised now to see Doctor Who looking back – that’s what’s really strange. I do look in the mirror and suddenly, strangely, he’s looking back, and it’s not me yet, but he’s reaching out, and hopefully we’ll get it together.
Also reporting back on the night’s events The Telegraph spoke of the moment Matt Smith gave his endorsement for his replacement:
Smith added: “if I had to pick someone, I’d pick him, because I think he’s great. and wierdly enough, after the eleventh hour, he came up to me in the street and said, ‘ah mate, well done. I watched your episode last night, it was brilliant, I think you’re really good. and I really needed that, I needed a sort of boost and I never forgot it.
I’m excited because I know what’s coming and he’s going to have a blast.
Unsurprisingly, come the following day, most newspapers featured Peter Capaldi on the front page; The Telegraph collated and collected the headlines and reactions were overwhelmingly positive.
However, the Daily Mail surprised no-one by retrofitting the whole celebration of one of the greatest television shows ever produced evolving and changing again to slam the BBC for the hyperbolic manner in which the appointment was announced:
The Mail said that the casting of the 12th Doctor, code-named Houdini, was “the worst-kept secret in the galaxy”. TV critic Christopher Stevens said that after the live announcement, “Capaldi faces a tough job, justifying a build-up like that.
And on goes the cycle of trashing the BBC to sell more papers by attacking its flagship shows while using the popularity of those shows to sell more papers.
In all fairness to the Mail, they weren’t the only ones to attack the Next Doctor live special; The Telegraph’s Robert Colville wrote that the BBC’s unveiling of the Twelfth Doctor was:
…Less a casting announcement than a global product launch, an exercise to the unveiling of the latest iPhone.
Still, nothing could detract from the positivity most of the daily rags greeted the news that Malcolm Tucker would be piloting the TARDIS.
The Sun went to town with the notion that Capaldi could turn the Blue Box that little bit bluer:
TV reporter Jen Blackburn wrote:
“I can’t wait to hear him reduce a Cyberman to tears with a foul-mouthed tirade.”
The Daily Mirror, looking back at Capaldi’s previous roles, believes his appointment could attract ‘new fans’:
Capaldi’s work in the Doctor Who universe alone is enough to convert the most vehement Cyber-critic.
While in The Independent, TV presenter and Doctor Who expert Matthew Sweet wrote that Capaldi was a “thrillingly perfect choice for the twelfth Doctor.”
It wasn’t just the papers who garnered the choice of Capaldi with high praise; the Radio Times gathered together the initial reactions from the great and the good of past Doctor Who, their own writers and fans; and again, everyone was impressed!
Jo Grant herself, Katy Manning commented:
I’m over the moon. He’s going to make it absolutely his own. I have complete confidence that, as an actor, he’s going to come up with something wonderful. And he’s frightfully good-looking. There’s no two ways about it. He’s not an unattractive older man… In my case, he’s not an older man – he’s a toyboy! Another lovely surprise waiting for us is: how is he going to manifest the Doctor? What is this wonderful actor going to do with this gift of a part?
Perhaps the best summarisation of just what this casting means to most is Radio Times writer, Jack Seale:
It seems obvious now, doesn’t it? It could only have been Capaldi. Funny and scary, both at once or switching from one to the other in a second – Capaldi has all that naturally. Matt Smith was miraculously good at looking young but acting 900 years old – you’d never find another young actor to do that as well as Smith, so going older again makes sense. I’m so pleased they went for the right person without worrying too much about merchandise, fan-girls and America.
I also wonder if some of the more modish, kooky lines Moffat was giving Smith towards the end might not pass muster with Capaldi. I’m already hearing people who’d drifted away from the show saying they’ll come back now.
Another former companion who shared her thoughts on the casting was Sophie Aldred, who along with Who-ology co-author Cavan Scott appeared on the garish BBC Breakfast sofa to dissuade any notion that the casting of an older Doctor would have a negative impact upon the ratings:
Well I think the thing about having an older doctors you still got your gorgeous jenna-louise Coleman and the role if the assistant has always been to be with sensitive to be with the audience so that she will bring the audience along and it’s going to be great.
Watch more below, thanks to Blogtor Who
Finally, taking a more irreverent look at the news, writer James Delingpole, has spoken with relief that there’s finally going to be a no-nonsense, Tuckeresque Doctor:
Doctor Who has been getting far too cute and whimsical for its own good of late – almost as if it thinks of itself as some kind of children’s programme. I, for one, am very much looking forward to its new scheduling slot well after the 9pm watershed, in the safe hands of the kind of Doctor we can trust to tell it like it is, take no prisoners and refuse to tolerate any more of that touchy feely nonsense where it turns out that Daleks do have hearts after all and where the healing song of the lost children of the tragic planet of Poignos (or whatever new mawk-fest we have to endure this week) is replaced by the most richly colourful effing and blinding the galaxy has heard since Davros encountered his first staircase.