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Published on August 25th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

Russell T Davies: Capaldi Casting “Just Perfect”

He chose two great Doctors, Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant – but what does former showrunner and Doctor Who resurrection master Russell T Davies think of Peter Capaldi’s casting as the new star of his favourite show?

Peter Capaldi IS the Twelfth Doctor Who!

Perfect casting, just perfect!

You just knew there would be an exclamation mark, right? But really, what does Russell (chatting to Doctor Who Magazine) actually think of it?

I’d kept Peter’s number after we worked together on The Fires of Pompeii and Torchwood. I loved him as an actor, and a writer, and a director, I was actually in awe of him, and so clung to his number, in a slightly stalkerish way. Quite apart from his five million wonderful appearances on screen, I think that the scene in Episode 3 of Torchwood: Children of Earth, where Peter’s character faces the 456 for the first time, is one of the finest performances in anything ever. Seriously. Anything. Ever.


But did Davies have any insider knowledge?

I was as surprised as anyone! I’d heard rumours about Peter in the weeks beforehand, but I’d convinced myself it couldn’t be true, because he’s in The Musketeers. In fact, I was quite sad, cos I thought about him a lot, and realised how good he’d be, and now we’d never get to see him. Damn. So the moment Zoe Ball said his name was actually quite mind-blowing. I still find it difficult, even now to find adjectives big and bold enough to describe how brilliant this is…a new golden age begins!

That’s four golden ages in a row now!

Read everything you could possibly want to know about the casting of Peter Capaldi as the twelfth star of Doctor Who in DWM #464, out now!


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

8 Responses to Russell T Davies: Capaldi Casting “Just Perfect”

  1. avatar Al says:

    It’s weird how everyone was saying Capaldi was a no-brainer and had been on the radar for years, yet until August 2, 2013 I’d never ever seen his name listed anywhere as a potential Doctor. Maybe that’s because of his not one but two guest appearances in the franchise, but he still came out of “nowhere” as far as I’m concerned. No complaints, great choice, but never one I would have expected.

  2. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    I didn’t know he’s also a writer and director, that adds a different dimension for me. I wonder if he might also direct some of his episodes or perhaps even write?

    • avatar Tommycot says:

      Oscar winner, no less!

    • avatar Simon Magellan says:

      Indeed yes – he won the Oscar in 1995 for a short (which starred Richard E Grant) and he’s also written and directed a feature (with Brian Cox) in 2001.

      Interestingly, he is supposed to be working on another feature film as writer/director, which suggested to a lot of people that he wouldn’t be around for DW. I don’t know the status of that project now – he may be able to complete it before he begins work on the show, I suppose?

      And to think, all this acting and writing and directing can trace its origins back to Barry Letts sending him the scripts for “The Mutants” in 1973 after he wrote them a fan letter. Receiving them inspired him to get involved in acting. And now, exactly 40 years later, here we are, looking forward to him being the next Doctor…

  3. avatar DonnaM says:

    I’d love Russell to come back and write another episode in the next couple of years; I know he got some flack (who doesn’t?) as showrunner, but some of his episodes were absolute crackers.

    As for Mr Capaldi’s casting – well, when it was first rumoured my reaction was “Oh God he’d be brilliant but it’s never going to happen, he’s got to have far too many other things to do because he’s already such a star”. Of course I didn’t realise what a fan he is!

    I know he won an Oscar was as writer/director of a short film in the 1990s, but surely he’d be too busy playing the Doctor to wear either of the other “hats” on the show?

  4. avatar Howard Railton says:

    Capaldi is well cast.

  5. avatar David F says:

    Not only was Capaldi exceptional in Torchwood, but the last two episodes of Children of Earth was the finest thing Russell’s ever written (although I realise it was a team effort). It pushed forward further into serious, intelligent drama than he ever managed in Doctor Who, and was a complete surprise, coming in a series that had a history of being more sensationalist and lightweight than its parent. Left me shaking and wrestling with the ideas it raised. They should both be incredibly proud of it.

  6. avatar Howard Railton says:

    Davies’s comments do appear hypocritical given that he refused to consider casting older actors as Dr Who, such as David Warner, due to age.

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