Well, that didn’t take long. A scant two months after announcing that Matt Smith would vacate the role of the Doctor, the BBC has announced that Peter Capaldi will be the next inhabitant of the TARDIS.
Unlike, well, all the new Who actors to play the Doctor, I actually knew of Capaldi’s work prior to the announcement, though solely from his turns on Torchwood and, interestingly, Doctor Who (in “The Fires of Pompeii”). I’m heartened by the fact that an actor with some considerable experience has taken on the role, particularly after the relative neophyte Matt Smith. Though hard to imagine, Capaldi is roughly the same age as William Hartnell when he took on the role of the First Doctor in 1963; and, like Hartnell, Capaldi brings both a dramatic and comedic background to the role.
I don’t find it difficult to see a sharper Doctor in Capaldi, one with a harder edge than Smith or Tennant, closer, indeed to Hartnell, but with some of the impishness of Troughton. I can’t imagine this Doctor being gravitas-deficient.
Time will only tell if showrunner Steven Moffat allows Capaldi to shape the character in an uniquely personal way or if he’ll simply ask Capaldi to parrot some catch-phrase (“Bow ties are allons-y!”) while the younger companion(s) run around chasing some MacGuffin that promises to tie up a season’s worth of loose ends in an utterly unsatisfying and frankly insulting manner.