DOCTOR WHO - Could Peter Capaldi be the new definitive Doctor? - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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DOCTOR WHO - Could Peter Capaldi be the new definitive Doctor?

With a little over 24 hours until the era of the Twelfth Doctor properly begins, Dominic Fellows wonders if Peter Capaldi could become the new definitive Doctor?

It’s a position long held by Tom Baker. But could he have finally met his match? We all have high hopes but could Capaldi surpass those hopes and become definitive?

It’s around Christmas time 2012. It has now become traditional in our house for me to be given some obscure TV show I remember from my youth amongst the multiple Doctor Who DVDs and action figures, despite being in my thirties. This year I peel off the glossy Christmas wrapping to reveal a copy of ‘Neverwhere’ that unusual Neil Gaiman penned series from 1996. Like Doctor Who, the production values have dated badly but the story remains as gripping as ever. I remember thinking at the time it was broadcast ‘wouldn’t Patterson Joseph make a marvelous Doctor.’ Followed by ‘I’d forgotten Peter Capaldi was in it.’ Then I have a light bulb moment. Wouldn’t Peter Capaldi be an amazing Doctor?’ Which I then get all cynical about and scornfully dismiss with a disdainful ‘Never happen. They’d probably say he’s too old! The fools.’

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last twelve months, I don’t need to explain how this story pans out but needless to say, on that day when his casting was announced I didn’t so much as punch the air as give it a sound beating. In all my years as a fan, no casting choice had ever excited me this much.

So what is it about that performance in ‘Neverwhere’ that made me say; ‘that’s the guy!’ He plays a villain for starters. Most actors are either intense or whimsical. There are very few who can be both and be convincing. Although there are many facets to The Doctor, for me the ability to mix just the right level of intensity so that there is a sense of jeopardy with exactly the right level of whimsy so that the audience is entertained and the children aren’t too frightened is at the very root of what makes a great Doctor. I shan’t get hung up on which Doctors I thought had it and which didn’t but I will say that I KNOW Capaldi has it, because I’ve already seen it used to chilling effect one moment and then somewhat amusing the next while being true to the character he is portraying.

If I wasn’t already convinced, then the interview he gave on ‘Doctor Who Live’ certainly would have. He enters the stage with a relaxed, self-assured confidence. He seems happy to talk about it, but gives away very little and when he starts to talk of the effect Doctor Who has had on his own life and say ‘Doctor Who is for everyone’ there is just a great moment of ‘yes! This guy gets it. That’s The Doctor!’

As far as modern Doctors are concerned, Capaldi brings the whole package. He has the experience, presence and dramatic weight that Christopher Eccleston brought to the role. He has the fanboy enthusiasm and passion that served David Tennant so well. He is a stark contrast to Matt Smith but as his immediate successor I feel that’s a good thing.

As we all know, the whole ‘too old’ thing reared its ugly head. It baffles me that anyone can get hung up on this. Why is maturity a dirty thing all of a sudden? Yes, Peter Capaldi is an older actor, this makes him a more experienced actor and (dare I say it) probably a better actor. I say this not to do a disservice to any of his predecessors but merely stating a biological fact that leads me to a logical conclusion. There is a lot of expectation for Capaldi because he has already had a long and distinguished career. We already know how good he is. People have speculated that if he is older does that mean a shorter run? Hugh Laurie is not much younger and he did ‘House’ for eight years, which has twice the yearly episode count of Doctor Who and a much tighter schedule. It’s not as if Capaldi has anything to prove. He’s not just starting out, he doesn’t have to establish himself and then run off to ‘make it big in Hollywood.’

So from what I can see, there is so much going for him and nothing against. I pity the poor actor that will one day have to follow him.

Dominic Fellows is an actor and writer from Birmingham in the UK. He is also producer of the group Stripped Down Theatre (find them on Facebook). His shows have had more than one or two ‘geeky gags’ in them.

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