Just when we thought Steven Moffat was going to take the plunge and cast the youngest ever Doctor (i.e. my unborn child), he took everyone by surprise and cast the second oldest, in the shape of Peter Capaldi. (I say “surprise” – his name was all over the papers! But there was still a part of me that thought it was too good to be true, and that he’d settle for someone of an ‘Aneurin Barnard’ ilk.)
Anyway – one man who was particularly impressed with this casting choice is former Time Lord Colin Baker, who took up the TARDIS keys in 1984 at the age of 40 – and played Maxil, a further Gallifreyan, in Arc of Infinity. In a recent interview, he seemed to think Capaldi was an ideal candidate…
“Peter is a perfect fit for the role. And if they hadn’t come up with the idea, eventually someone would have, because his work leads inextricably to the moment of playing Doctor Who.”
Indeed it does. Remember, Peter Capaldi appeared in The Vicar of Dibley back in 1994, penned by subsequent Who scribe Richard Curtis, who wrote Vincent and the Doctor. He then played Lobus Caecilius in 2008’s The Fires of Pompeii, followed by John Frobisher in Torchwood: Children of Earth. Plus he also wrote various letters to the Radio Times and Doctor Who fanzines during the classic era. And then he became the first ever Doctor to appear as the Doctor before his regeneration (I refer you back to that awesome TARDIS scene in The Day of the Doctor). So clearly, at some point in the future, Peter Capaldi is going to look into the time vortex and scatter his name through time and space, a la Rose in The Parting of the Ways.
Look closely at Colin Baker’s words. You can tell that’s what he’s alluding to: “his work leads inextricably to the moment of playing Doctor Who.” He’s referring to a masterplan of Bad Wolf proportions. (Not Capaldi’s Oscar.)
Conspiracy theories aside, it must be nice for an incoming Doctor to receive the blessing of one of his predecessors. On the more delicate topic of David Tennant and Matt Smith’s ages, though, Mr Baker was a little more… blunt.
“[Peter Capaldi’s] a grown up! Not like all these bloody kids who have been playing it for the last 10 years. … [Peter’s] about the same age as William Hartnell was when he started. To be fair to both David and Matt, they may be young in years, but in fact their performances convinced me they were 900 years old, going on 1000! So they were young men who totally played the Doctor… I just want older actors to get work, and I’m glad they have.”
I agree with many of Colin Baker’s sentiments here. I don’t think the age of the actor necessarily impinges on how they ‘give life’ to the character they’re playing (Matt Smith, for example, is now my all-time favourite Doctor after William Hartnell, and they’re at opposite ends of the scale!). And I agree with him in that I, too, want older actors to get work. And I agree with him about Capaldi being perfect.
So to sum up, I agree with you, Colin. Please mention me in your next interview!
What about you, fellow Kasterborites? Are you happy about Peter Capaldi’s casting? Is the actor’s age an issue when it comes to Doctor Who? Was Matt Smith too young? Let us know your thoughts.
I must now retire to my tent, at the bottom of Colin’s driveway. Until next time faithful readers!