Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi & The Eccleston Quandry

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Nine + Twelve = Who? Christopher Morley does the math.


Could Series Nine of Doctor Who be Peter Capaldi's final bow as the Twelfth Doctor? He has recently been reported as saying
"I sort of enjoy this position I am in with a kind of deep Scottish melancholy because I know it has to end one day. I will cross that bridge when we come to it, which may be sooner rather than later."
Of course if he does hand over the key to the TARDIS, he will have lasted just one series longer than Christopher Eccleston, whose Ninth Doctor appeared in just the thirteen episodes of Series One of the revived Doctor Who.

That brave new era and return from BBC-imposed exile was subsequently referenced by Mark Gatiss, who has written for both Nine & Twelve, following Capaldi's casting:
"He has that sort of Tom Baker, Jon Pertwee and even Christopher Eccleston style actually: it’s someone who’s not immediately going to be your best friend and can be quite abrupt and rude."
Indeed both Doctors have shown a certain contempt for humans, the Ninth calling them "stupid apes" on more than one occasion while the Twelfth settles on calling Earth the "planet of the pudding brains".

Lest we forget that both also nearly abandoned our planet in times of greatest need! Aliens Of London had the Doctor very nearly leaving London to it in the midst of the Slitheen's arrival:
"So maybe this is it. First contact. The day mankind officially comes into contact with an alien race. I'm not interfering because you've got to handle this on your own. That's when the human race finally grows up. Just this morning you were all tiny and small and made of clay. Now you can expand. You don't need me. Go and celebrate history. Spend some time with your mum."
But he just can't resist the chance to explore!
DOCTOR: All right, so I lied. I went and had a look. But the whole crash landing's a fake. I thought so. Just too perfect. I mean, hitting Big Ben. Come on, so I thought let's go and have a look.



Four selves later, the Moon is at the centre of things. And the Doctor once more attempts to leave us humans to sort out our own business.
DOCTOR: Sorry. Well, actually, no, I'm not sorry. It's time to take the stabilisers off your bike. It's your moon, womankind. It's your choice.
He returns just in time, and luckily for him, humanity made the right choice
LUNDVIK: So what happens now, then? Tell me what happens now.
DOCTOR: In the mid-twenty first century humankind starts creeping off into the stars, spreads its way through the galaxy to the very edges of the universe. And it endures till the end of time.And it does all that because one day in the year 2049, when it had stopped thinking about going to the stars, something occurred that made it look up, not down. It looked out there into the blackness and it saw something beautiful, something wonderful, that for once it didn't want to destroy. And in that one moment, the whole course of history was changed. Not bad for a girl from Coal Hill School, and her teacher.
COURTNEY: Oh, my gosh. It laid a new egg. It's beautiful. Doctor, it's beautiful.
DOCTOR: That's what we call a new moon.

The parallels run deep between the two Doctors. Although Capaldi has hinted that Series Nine will see his Doctor lighten up a little, it could be argued that both Twelve and Nine are no-frills Doctors, getting down to business Doctors, with no need for a Fez or an "Allons-y". Both harbour a degree of guilt, the Ninth carrying the heavy weight of what he believed he had done in the Time War, the Twelfth living with the consequences of what actually happened to Gallifrey.

Both have also had up close and personal encounters with an individual Dalek:



The Twelfth venturing Into The Dalek, and showing us that the he retained at least some of the Ninth's contempt for them.



As for Eccleston and Capaldi themselves - of course all the actors who have portrayed the Doctor since 2005 (and before that) have been splendid chaps, but amongst the new-Who Doctors it's fair to say that only those two could be considered 'household names' prior to their casting, and neither needed Doctor Who to further their respective careers. Maybe dipping in for a short period of time, achieving what they both wanted to achieve in the role, and making a sizable impression whilst doing so, is ultimately more important than longevity.

If Series Nine does give us a parting of the ways between Peter Capaldi & Doctor Who we can feel safe in the knowledge that the show will go on.

But with Who?
"It's a bit dodgy, this process. You never know what you're going to end up with"............

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