And The Dozenth Doctor Is...

Peter Capaldi, most famous for his role as the foul mouthed Malcolm Tucker on The Thick of It. Capaldi's casting as the 12th Doctor, starting from the Christmas Special this coming December, was announced Sunday on a live special, broadcast on the BBC. When asked in said special to use three words to describe Capaldi's 12, series writer Steven Moffat said, "different from Matt."

This is not, as is often the case, Capaldi's first involvement with Doctor Who. He appeared alongside 10 in 2008's The Fires of Pompeii. But it was the far meatier role of tortured and optionless government official John Frobisher in 2009's Torchwood: Children of Earth that attracted far more attention and accolades. And not just because it was distinctly the opposite of the permanently put upon and constantly cussing Tucker in Armando Iannucci's twenty first century answer to Yes, Minister. Capaldi's geek cred is given further weight by his originating the role of the Angel Islington in Neil Gaiman's original BBC miniseries version of Neverwhere. Most recently, he'll have been noticed by international (read: American) audiences as the third act participant in World War Z, playing with just the perfect amount of serendipity, a WHO doctor.

After the jump, you can find my reaction, and what this means for the series going forward.

I am all kinds on in favour of Capaldi's casting. I feel he is a brilliant choice, a safe choice in a certain way, but that isn't to mean a bad or somehow lesser choice. If I had been running the programme, I would have went with Stephen Mangan, but I don't run the show. I bitch about it on the intenet, so my opinion carries about as much weight as a sieve carries water. But rumours of Capaldi's casting were many last week, and in a remarkable change from the usual, turned out to be true. And I feel Moffat and the BBC have made a brilliant choice. If Moffat is to be believed, unlike last time when casting was an extensive process (and cooperated not only with casting Who, but also Sherlock), this time around Capaldi was Moffat's first and one of few choices. According to Capaldi, in his auditions, he had the chance to works with some scenes Moffat has already written, cutting his teeth on the new incarnation. Now, the next mystery to stew over is the costume. I can't picture Capaldi in any particular style of dress, and cannot wait to see what wonders the wardrobe holds for the Dozenth. 

I say his casting is a safe one, and in many respects it is. It is safe because, there is very little about Capaldi's casting that can be complained about. He raises none of the heated ire that comes from special interest groups, and none of the disgusting hatred that would have inevitably been part and parcel with the casting of a woman, or a minority, or an American (the worst of all possible worlds, that). His CV is extensive and well respected. Capaldi has proven himself adept at comedy, drama, action, pretty much anything that is asked of him, and he has many awards and much respect from audiences to back him up.

He is, going somewhat against the grain for the non stunt casting moments of Who history, an established actor, instead of a newbie who can make his career on the back of his tenure. He is also, bucking the trend, an older actor, currently 55, which ties him with being the oldest actor to ever take the role with the original, William Hartnell back in 1963 (Third Doctor Jon Pertwee comes next, at 51 when he was cast). This, wonderfully, upends the notion that the increased popularity of the show in America would demand the casting of another young, "sexy" Doctor. Though I'm certain there are many out there who will find Capaldi alluring enough.

So what does this mean for the series? Well, as far as I'm concerned, only good things. Capaldi's age suggests to me that they might be looking more at the wisened professor type of Doctor again, my personal favourite, and coming off of two manic Doctors who were very similar in personality and disposition, I feel this is the best change of course. Capaldi's well known, thanks to Malcolm, for his reservoirs of rage, so it isn't beyond possibility that we might see another asshole Doctor, in the vein of Six and Nine. What Capaldi's casting really shows us is a distinct change in course for the show. The past few seasons have been marred by a passive acceptance, an old-hat-ish-ness, if you would. Change is needed, and Capaldi cannot be yet another 10 and 11. Change has been forced. I believe that he will excel in the role, no matter what personality Moffat gifts with with, but I do hope he keeps his native Scottish accent.

Speaking of which, I feel it is of the utmost importance to report that when he was a student, Capaldi was lead singer in a punk band, whose drummer was Craig Ferguson. If this does not open up the perfect oppurtunity to get Whovian Ferguson on the show, I don't know what is.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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