Doctor Who News Peter Capaldi IS the Twelfth Doctor Who!

Published on January 14th, 2014 | by Drew Boynton

Doctor Who Fan Capaldi Dreams of Menoptra!

In the latest Doctor Who Magazine, Peter Capaldi shows why he has been a fan for most of his 55 years and at the same time makes a couple of excellent observations about the classic series.

When asked about the early Who series he watched as a child, the Twelfth Doctor actor states:

People look at them now and, understandably, mock the bargain-basement monsters, and the accidents and collisions that came from having virtually no time in the studio to shoot fantastically ambitious stories. But those old shows were only made to be watched once, on a flickering monochrome telly that smelled of valves and furniture polish.

In that context, they succeeded immeasurably… They were triumphs of imagination.

And further warming the hearts of fans everywhere, Capaldi remembers how he felt watching those 1960s episodes for the first time.

It may surprise you now, but something like The Web Planet [1965] lived powerfully and expansively in my head for decades… until the DVDs came along and spoiled the party. But I’m glad to say that the Menoptra eventually flitted back into my dreams, where they belong.


Mr. Capaldi absolutely hits the nail on the head when it comes to how many fans feel about the classic series and exactly why their love of the show has lasted so long. Those done-on-a-shoestring episodes had to rely on a mix of imagination, storytelling, and charm, and it’s easy to see why a now-grown-up Peter Capaldi would want to be the Doctor and create some of those dreams for a new generation.

Kasterborites, do you miss the wobbly sets and flimsy monsters? Do the new episodes feel any less “magical” to you because of the higher budgets and computery special effects?



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About the Author


Drew has been a fan of Doctor Who ever since he flipped through the channels late one night and saw a girl blowing up an army of funny robot men with nothing but a slingshot and some old coins. He currently lives somewhere in the woods of Missouri with his beautiful wife Barbara.

14 Responses to Doctor Who Fan Capaldi Dreams of Menoptra!

  1. avatar TonyS says:

    No I don’t miss wobbly sets and flimsy monsters. An idea that has been exaggerated and built up by the media anyway. I do miss the luxury of rolling a story out over a number of episodes though. I also miss the imagination and technical sleight of hand that lower budgets and less sophisticated effects brought.

  2. avatar Paul Brown says:

    I grew up in the fourth Doctor era but love almost all the classics – and although yes, production values have increased immeasurably since those days, it’s important to remember that so have budgets and the time it takes to create each series. I have enormous affection for those wobbly sets and dodgy monsters because the DVDs are like my own personal time machine, transporting me back to my childhood; but the only thing I ‘miss’ sometimes is the focus on telling a good story rather than dazzling SFX.

  3. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    I agree with Paul. Nu-Who is very fast paced and loaded with CGI but we have lost a lot of good characterization over the years. There were many classic adventures that —over the span of 4, 6 or sometimes 8 weeks—had the luxury of developing new characters in each adventure, some very memorable. True, sometimes there was some padding but there was also a lot of extra heart and sole added in because of the format.

    And In the ’60′s and ’70′s especially, the budget limitations only sparked creativity amongst the crew.

    • avatar Simon Magellan says:

      I’d say that, by and large, the writing was better in the 60s and 70s. Looking at Malcolm Hulke and Robert Holmes – I am not sure any of the current series writers come close to being as good – even Steven Moffat has said this! Watching an old Pertwee story recently, I was struck by the fact that, yes, it had problems – but characters spoke to one another, had conversations, characters developed and deepened. This is rarely the case nowadays.

      • avatar Jim McLean says:

        I think pace being slower dictated more character interaction, I recall a rather open commentary on Blake’s 7 pointed out character scenes were extended because there was no money to keep switching sets, let alone effects, so dialogue was prioritised to fill time. Doctor Who certainly had the same issues. So in a way one could be cautious for blaming new show for characters/dialogue and applauding the old one, when the reasons for their dynamic aren’t truly about skill in writing but the requirements of format.

        That being said, I love the pace of the old show, particularly in the 60s. I think there were some great character pieces, but these days people are more interested in excitement and pace, so that becomes the emphasis.

        Not that I would say I think Moffat’s character writing is equal to Holmes. I find Mr Moffat’s characters lack a certain truth, but his style and story quirks are his chalice – certainly I’m a believer that new series shows inserted into classic continuity wouldn’t be derided as weak, but I’d imagine be applauded – not because they’re written better, but because the legacy of Doctor Who has given new writers a wealth of stylistic and show historic ideas to examine and challenge. We also are a more TV experienced nation – I don’t think we’d ever have seen Girl Who Waited in classic series – TV audiences wouldn’t have connected in the same way as today, and such stories are perhaps an example of how new series benefits from the experience of television science fiction that has enriched the new writers.

        So no, not bashing your point – I love the old show’s story and pace, equally I think it would be easy to label the new series as derivative or weaker when its mandate, format are so different and its content does on occasion sparkle like nothing I’ve seen in Doctor Who (Waters of Mars, challenging the Doctor’s own mandate in Time, Girl Who Waited, Dalek, Turn Left, Midnight, Girl in the Fireplace, Blink etc).

        But yeah I’d love to see Nu Who try something akin to the classic era – certainly historicals. I’d like to believe you could have a historical antagonist or a smaller less Worlds Will Be Destroyed plotline for an episode without losing audiences. I do wonder whether the recent Western would have been stronger – and more interesting to audiences – if there was no cyborg and we were dealing with real contemporary human antagonists. I’d say there would be a lot of characterisation you could play with there, more than a cyborg can offer.

  4. avatar Ranger says:

    I couldn’t agree more, what “new” who seriously lacks is the ability to allow characters to grow and develop. I think the most successful stories of new Who are the 2 parters such as The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances and the Family of Blood story. The cliffhanger is one of the things I miss from the classic series. The CGI is wonderful now, but after awhile you stop noticing it and just accept the quality – it can’t help in rescuing a bad story; classic Who often succeeded despite the dodgy effects, because they had the time and inclination to develop charactisation and story lines.

    • avatar Spider-pope says:

      I agree with your first point to an extent. When it was done well, the serial could really draw you into the story and give you the time to care about characters that weren’t part of the main cast. But on the flipside, when it was a subpar story, the serial format could really drag.

      I think the two parters are a happy medium between the two. More time to establish the story, but if it’s not that great you don’t have several episodes to plod through.

  5. avatar TonyS says:

    Completely agree with you, Ranger

  6. avatar Paul Aspel says:

    Doctor Who is a Chameleon, the shows have changed to suit the times, whether its production style, technology or cultural influence it moves with the current best practices. Capaldi is right when he says that the version we have in our heads of Classic Who is way better in some cases than the reality of viewing them again. there have been some real stinkers over the the last 50 years and, of course some spectacular highs too but much of the time Who just moves along in “pretty good” mode. Some of those long six parters from the Pertwee era had so much filler at times it was shocking (and a little dull – probably why they eventually moved to 4 eps per story…) whereas some of the modern shows seem to wrap the story up so fast you end up with a dizzy head and a faint sense of dissatisfaction. point in case, Cold war. i loved that episode be it would have been better if it had had ten more minutes to resolve at a better pace. (all of this is of course from my own subjective point of view).

  7. avatar TimeChaser says:

    I was glad that when modern Who came along it took advantage of new computer technology, so that the ideas in the heads of the writers could be more successfully realized, but the classic series did some of its own magic to create amazing things on the scant budgets they had (Zygons, the Time Lord trial-ship, etc).

    I do tend to miss the longer format though, where a story could have more time to develop. Both versions of Who have their good and bad points, but as long as we have any Doctor Who at all, I tend not to care, I’m just glad its here for me to enjoy.

  8. I’ve been watching a lot of old Who recently, as there are large chunks that I’ve never seen, and I still feel that the extended format of a serial allows the story to evolve more at the right pace; even with the extended running time of new episodes, the story just feels better paced if it covers more than one episode (my favourite new one is still The Empty Child two parter). Personally, I’d rather have five or six decent stories over multiple parts, than a load of individual episodes that feel rushed.

    As for carboard sets, rubber monsters and line flubs, who cares? It provides the charm of watching the evolution of the show over 50 years, that we can have giant, cumbersome, impossible to move crabs returned in full CG glory, and we don’t mind, because it’s Doctor Who, and we all love Doctor Who

  9. avatar SandraL says:

    I agree with the comments about the lack of character development in the new series. Part of this is simply that we – and children in particular – have different expectations nowadays, but I think that more time devoted to each story would be a blessing. Watching Sherlock, it occurs to me that Moffat’s Doctor Who might feel much less rushed and empty if the episodes were 90 minutes long instead of 45 minutes. That would mean fewer stories per series, but they’d probably be more satisfying.

  10. avatar DonnaM says:

    Both Classic and New Who have their strengths and weaknesses: as others have said, the Classic format allowed greater development, but let’s not deny, sometimes there was a bit of padding! Was that better than the occasionally manic rush we have now? Maybe, but that’s TV now; fast and furious.

    I’m just glad to have new Doctor Who with all its whizz-bang effects to watch alongside my Classic DVDs!

    And Mr C is spot-on about the wonders that were achieved on tiny budgets, minimal studio time and the technological limits of the era. It’s lovely to see someone defending what was achieved when so many smart-alecs spend their time mocking instead!

  11. avatar mrjohnm says:

    Some episodes of the new series have been able to move me to tears and cheer for the heroes. I think that’s what character development is all about. At the same time, I truly love the original series. I was living in England in the late ’70′s, but my real memories of that era is from the PBS station in California in the early ’80′s. While the budget at the time did lead to wobbly sets, the series did a wonderful job at covering these gaffs (which is, I believe, the technical term!). Look at the sontaran jumping over the swimming pool in Invasion of Time. He lands on a deck chair, but shrugs it off and keeps chasing our heroes! And I just finished (re)reading “The Well-Mannered War,” and laughed out loud when Stokes hits a wall that wobbles! As Paul Aspel says, the show is a chameleon. The reason it is still so popular is that it is able to keep with the times yet not be dated. Quite an achievement for family entertainment!

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