Ageism. It’s a nasty word, with a nasty attitude. Twenty is ancient when you’re five, but you’re still going there in 15 years’ time. As for 55, well, once you’re forty – when life begins, of course – you’re staring that big number in the eye.
Time flies in the blink of an eye as we mature. Some older people seem to be more able than others; looking around a regular town centre, however, you’ll spot people of your own age group who may or may not be as able as you. Age, ultimately, is immaterial.
So comments about Peter Capaldi’s age – 55, and not particularly old if he lives to be 90 – leave a particularly bad taste in the mouth, especially when Doctor Who showrunner observes:
People keep talking about this ‘elderly’ Doctor that we’ve cast… he leaps around the place probably more than any other Doctor in that first scene.
Some ridiculously immature types have even taken to commenting on Capaldi’s age here on Kasterborous, suggesting that an older Doctor will in some way “ruin” the show. Presumably in the same way 55-year-old William Hartnell and 50-year-old Jon Pertwee did back in the day.
Moffat has more to add on the matter of Capaldi’s youth. Speaking at last week’s Doctor Who Celebration, he said:
We’ve got used to two brilliant iterations of the younger, more popular Doctor and they have both been superlative. But now it’s time for the old beast to snarl at you for a bit!
Sometimes you see that a bit in Matt Smith’s Doctor – he will remind the people around him, ‘I’m not really like this’ – but I think Peter’s Doctor will make that even clearer.
So, a great actor cast in a great role. Many felt in 2010 that Matt Smith was too young at 26; they thought the same in 1981 when Peter Davison was cast. Neither failed to convince as the Doctor – so why should Peter Capaldi?