Doctor Who Peter Capaldi

Published on August 7th, 2013 | by Andrew Reynolds

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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.

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.

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.

Peter Capaldi IS the Twelfth Doctor Who!

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.

So what do you think of reaction so far? Are you pleased to see fans embrace the new Doctor? Are you confused by some of the criticism regarding casting an older Doctor?

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About the Author

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Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.




21 Responses to Peter Capaldi Casting Reaction

  1. avatar Ranger says:

    To paraphrase Barnum “You can’t please everyone, all of the time” There are always going to be naysayers, but hopefully most people are going to give him the benefit of the doubt through his first season and make their minds up then. I personally can’t wait and think he is going to be brilliant.

  2. avatar Neu 75 says:

    I found it interesting that the relentlessly BBC-hating Telegraph devoted something like a dozen articles online about the unveiling of the new Doctor Who. They can’t hate Auntie Beeb that much…


    • Oh they do. The just like Doctor Who too much…

  3. avatar krumstets says:

    They were right about one thing.
    The Next Doctor show was pitiful and left me cold.

  4. avatar Deb Sambol says:

    Not everyone here in the US are uneducated, uncultured, Neanderthal fan girls. We are just as thrilled as you Brits. I’ve been following Mr. Capadi for 30 years, since “Local Hero”, and am just over the moon at this choice!

    • avatar Aly says:

      Same here! I am beyond excited, and I’m American.
      I simply cannot wait, he is going to be brilliant!

      • avatar rickjlundeen says:

        Capaldi’s trial by fire was playing the part of Frobisher in Children of Earth and that’s all I had to see to know he’s got what it takes. Checking in, I’m also an American fan of DW since 1980. :)

  5. avatar Maria says:

    I’ll be taking a wait and see attitude being a longtime fan from the 70′s. The hype is something Peter Capaldi is going to have to deal with and he’s going to have to work twice as hard. Fandom can be very brutal and finicky. They either love you or hate you.

  6. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    Capaldi has been around the block a few times with a rather long career. He knows what he’s doing and I think we’re in good hands. I don’t see him collapsing and falling to the floor crying because of what a few mutters on the net may say. Although I was surprised to hear there was any dissension in the ranks early on in Smith’s days. He was a blank slate for me and he won me over in the Eleventh hour big time.

    • avatar Geoff says:

      I felt the same way about Matt, I knew nothing about him but was happy to give him a chance, trusting that they wouldn’t have cast him if he was rubbish. Then along came The Eleventh Hour and he was great. However I do remember all the whining and moaning: he looks weird, I don’t like his hair, he’s wearing a bowtie, hes not like David Tennant…and countless other pointless comments that the poor guy had to put up with while he was finding his feet. He’s had the last laugh though in my opinion.

      • avatar rickjlundeen says:

        I think ever since the new series started up, along with the real fans, you’ve gotten a lot of posers. Anyone who criticizes the upcoming actor as “looking too weird” obviously doesn’t know the show or it’s history. When I saw Smith, yeah he looked weird and that was a big plus! I think it best to stay away from pretty boys if at all possible when casting the show.

        • avatar Geoff says:

          That’s true but also I live about 5 miles outside Matts home town and everyone looks a bit like that round here!!!!

          • avatar patooty says:

            Matt’s dad really get around, did he?

  7. avatar Geoff says:

    Priceless quote from Katie Manning, bonkers as ever! Sadly I think the BBC bashing in the press is a bit more insidious than a desire to sell papers Murdoch, Richard Desmond etc all own or have stakes in TV companies and as such an interest in attacking a big public funded and serving broadcaster like the BBC.

  8. avatar Jon Roberts says:

    Just re-watched the Fires of Pompeii and Mr Capaldi was on good form. Its rather odd to watch an old episode when you know he is a future Doctor, even more bizarre is seeing Karen Gillan before she was Amelia

    • avatar bbdrvr says:

      I did the same thing. It was one of those things – like re-watching a very well-written mystery story – the answer seems so obvious in retrospect, but you completely missed it the first time through. Capaldi’s character, Caecilius, was just an ordinary, fatherly sort of person, but at times it really did seem like there were two Doctors on the screen. (I have to wonder if he wasn’t deliberately trying to turn his guest appearance into an audition, but if so, he managed to do it without sacrificing the integrity of the character he was playing.)

      • avatar David F says:

        I went back even further, and rewatched Local Hero.

        Capaldi’s fine in it. Doesn’t really have to do much, and there were few signs he’d turn into the great actor he undoubtedly is, but what a magical film. Best British movie ever. It’s odd seeing him sharing a scene with Burt Lancaster and Fulton Mackay. Worlds collide.

        • avatar Geoff says:

          I saw Local Hero for the first time ever about a month ago, finally completing the trinity which also includes Gregory’s Girl and Restless Natives. Those were creative times for Scotland what with those films, the Postcard bands, Claire Grogan (all men of a certain age will understand!) Edwyn Collins, Roddy Frame, the underated genius Justin Currie (formerly of Del Amitri and touring this autumn) etc and now they’ve bagged their 3rd Doctor, who is also of that generation. There must have been something in the water during the 60s.

  9. avatar TonyS says:

    I watched “Lair of the White Worm”. But only for the articles.

  10. avatar Al says:

    Though I am relieved to see Capaldi embraced by lots of people, I am very disappointed in the “ageism” being expressed by some so-called fans. It’s the absolute reverse of what we saw when Smith was cast, with some people now preparing to abandon the show because they feel Doctor Who won’t work with a 50-something actor (anyone who says that is obviously ignorant of the show’s history prior to 1975; to this day the most action-oriented Doctor we’ve ever had remains the 50-something Jon Pertwee). I’m also disappointed that others are using the casting to bring out the knives against Smith. And of course there are also all those sexually repressed fans who cannot accept the concept of romance in the show (there are Trekkies who have the same issues) who somehow think that just because we have a 55 year old in the TARDIS that automatically means no more romance with Clara or River or anyone else. Even Hartnell got a girlfriend for a little bit in The Aztecs, for pete’s sake. And the whole “Doctor is asexual” business goes out the window with anyone capable of detecting the sexual tension that existed between, say, the Doctor and both Romanas. The classic series was more explicitly for children, so such things had to be left subtle, but it was there.

  11. avatar Geoff says:

    The Doctor being asexual took over in the 80s when the influence of hardcore fans, most of whom are asexual themselves was in the ascendence. I think the acknowledgement of sexuality in all its forms has a place in family drama and in the last 8 years we’ve seen it handled very responsibly on the whole by Doctor Who. I think RTD especially dealt with this issue very very well and in a way that was appropriate for children of all ages. If a certain group of socially and sexually awkward adult fans have other ideas then tough luck. It’s up to them to work though their issues!

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