Doctor Who: 5 Reasons to be Excited About an Older Doctor

Categories: Doctor Who

twelthdoc1.jpg
Michael Clarke
All day Sunday afternoon the American Whovians were glued to their TVs as we waited the announcement of the actor who would take over for Matt Smith as The Doctor. Vegas odds were that Peter Capaldi was the man of the hour, and Vegas turned out to be right, he strode out onstage to thunderous applause.

Capaldi has twice been involved with Doctor Who before, as Caecilius in "The Fires of Pompeii" and John Frobisher in Torchwood: Children of Earth. There's plenty of precedent for Capaldi's casting. Colin Baker appeared as Commander Maxil in "Arc of Infinity" and David Tennant made his initial debut in a Seventh Doctor audio story.

The most remarkable thing about Capaldi is his age. At 55 he is the oldest modern Doctor by 14 years, and is in fact the same age as William Hartnell when he first assumed the role in 1963. This is a great shake-up. Since the original series ended The Doctor has been young and somewhat romantic. Paul McGann was 36, Christopher Eccleston 41, David Tennant 34, and Matt Smith was the youngest Doctor ever at 26.

I for one am really looking forward to having an older Doctor for the following reasons...

Flashback
Doctor Who: Top 10 Seventh Doctor Stories

5. The Doctor's Sex Life Is Played Out: The Eighth Doctor was the first to kiss a companion romantically, and frankly ever since that moment there has been a great deal of focus on how much his female companions (And Jack) have been head over heels in love with him. Even with platonic relationships like with Donna a possible relationship was still a frequent focus of other characters.

There's no reason to not explore that aspect of The Doctor, but we have literally been doing it since 1996. It's going to be quite a while before another love story on the level of Rose's comes along, and having an older Doctor will help put some distance between the character and constant infatuation.

4. A Father Figure Doctor is Awesome: If you go back to the last couple of Hartnell seasons or the episodes with Seven and Ace you get a really wonderful look at The Doctor as someone that feels at home taking care of others like a father does. The character is capable of such great compassion and strength in that regard, and even though someone like Matt Smith can pull that off very well it has a lot more verve coming from someone whose age shows in his face rather than just in the eyes.

This is a great opportunity for an audience to feel like The Doctor is more than an imaginary friend or an action hero. This is The Doctor that you can believe will make everything all right because that's what a parent does.



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54 comments
karinagw
karinagw

Dear Jef with 1 F, Do go back and read number 5 when you are 55 and feel rightly embarrassed. Regarding number 4, why on earth do you have the notion that the new Doctor will be paternalistic...? Oh, right, because he's old.  Please see my first sentence. Your only truly valid point is number 3...unless he isn't.

wibbly_wobbly
wibbly_wobbly

Nice picture with the article. Too bad you didn't get permission to use it from Michael Clarke before stealing the image (that he created) from his Facebook page.

Bren Ke
Bren Ke

I was unaware that Jenna-Louise Coleman was coming back. I thought her story arc had been pretty much wrapped up.

fish_fingers
fish_fingers

"No matter what people initially tend to distrust them because they were a goofy thug, a grinning idiot with big teeth, and a prat in a bowtie respectively."  SERIOUSLY? Did it not occur to you that perhaps the REASON that all three of them were silly or goofy due to the darker side of himself; that maybe the only way for him to escape the darkness of his past was to be just a little bit goofy or he'd hang himself?  His past is so incredibly dark, he's committed genocide OF HIS OWN PEOPLE (mother, father, children, grandchildren, etc) for crying out loud.  Of course he's going to try to lighten his mood - and he has companions that show as much enthusiasm as possible, because he's already seen it & done it all - he needs fresh new eyes to get himself excited again and not just go sit in a corner & wallow.

e_lettuce
e_lettuce

goofy smile, thug, prat with a bowtie? let's not forget since the reboot of the series the Doctor has been struggling & dealing with PTSD & committing genocide. He hasn't found people who can truly identify with his struggles. He's trying to carry on & put it behind him

Chris Conaton
Chris Conaton

Very happy! They would have been hard-pressed to go even younger than Matt Smith, so they needed to do something different this time. And Jenna-Louise Coleman, will, I assume, be the same age, and any future companions will be however old they want them to be. Doctor Who does not need to rely on a perceived sexual tension to work as a show.

James Lowery
James Lowery

Not really.....so how OLD will his companions be???

Noelle A. Perry
Noelle A. Perry

reserving judgement until i actually see it. i do wonder if they're going to address his character from torchwood [i haven't made it that far in the series so i know nothing about the character, other than that he exists]. it seems kind of silly to use an actor that has already played a returning character in a spin-off series.

ScorpSt
ScorpSt

My complaint about this new casting had nothing to do with his age. My complaint was that is was another white guy. Change one or both of those traits and I'll admit that they're doing something new, but right now, it just feels like more of the same.

C051n3blu3
C051n3blu3

An older Doctor rules! Mine was Tom Baker (on channel 8 before Monty Python at midnight Sat"Would you like a jelly-baby?"  Always wondered why they showed them on TV but I could never find jelly-babys that looked like the ones in his little white bag)  Also watching some Troughton episodes shows how effective an older actor is at making the Doctor appear plausibly threatening to hostile extra-terrestrail aliens. 

TheW1ldcard
TheW1ldcard

I say good riddance to the people who want to quit watching because we have an "old" doctor now, chances are they were silly fan girls that just loved matt smith and in reality they were a detriment to the shows fanbase. I am beyond excited for Capaldi and I have a good feeling he's going to bring something new and old back to the doctor we havent seen in a while. Good points on all fronts.

Mary Urech Stallings
Mary Urech Stallings

Older? He's six years younger than me. But I did watch "Fires of Pompei" today, and I quite like him.

jade.stormcloud
jade.stormcloud

Sorry, but wasn't Jon Pertwee only 50 when he took over as the Doctor? He was born July 7, 1919, and his first episode aired Jan 3, 1970.

conatonc
conatonc

I'm definitely excited for this. After Tennant and Smith, they really needed to do something different with the next Doctor, and Capaldi fits the bill (Although next time around they're gonna be pretty hard-pressed to not try a woman or a black man or an Asian guy, etc., I think). I'm hoping Capaldi will give us some different kinds of stories and adventures. 

And, just as with the new companion, I'm holding out hope that this will be the change Moffat needs to get his own writing back on track. Maybe we'll never get episodes of the same quality level as when he was just a writer while Davies was running the show, but I'd settle for a season-long story arc that doesn't end with The Doctor doing yet another variation on his "wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey" speech to explain it all away.

SpittenKitten
SpittenKitten

For me, the proof of his success as the new Doctor will be in the relationship with River Song. I'm a little worried that Davies, with this choice, is just going to write River away and we're never going to see her again. River has been my favorite Who character, outside of the Doctor himself. To lose her would be a huge loss. 

teresarothaar
teresarothaar

I'm willing to bet that the same people complaining that Capaldi is "too old" claimed that Smith was "too young."

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan topcommenter

Jef, all the naysayers are just typical type of fans who don't like change. Or act like they don't like change, threaten to "never watch" again, flip off the showrunners, etc.  The same kind of exaggerated vitriol that happened when Matt Smith was announced as 11. I wager that a lot of those irritated fans will come back because they will need to find a new target for their ire. Probably the writers. (Disclosure, I can be one of those annoying fans, don't get me started about a particular arc in the Bleach manga. But I know that I have zip control over the whole Doctor Who enterprise and there are people far more talented than I in charge of it all.)

I was not familiar with Mr. Capaldi, but I looked up his IMDB profile and learned that he was in Torchwood: Children of Earth. If my memory is correct, he played the part of a government minister, who, upon learning that he was expected to sacrifice his children, ended up killing his entire family and himself. He was also in the Doctor Who episode "The Fires of Pompeii". Plus, and this is just too funny, he is listed as playing a W.H.O Doctor in "World War Z."

 Personally, I am excited to see how he plays the role of The Doctor. I liked him the moment he sat down for the interview during the live presentation for the 12th.   I will miss Matt Smith though. He is just so adorkable and really grew into the part.

cfein
cfein

Sorry... this is just as silly as the people moaning that Capaldi is "too old." For one thing, the idea that sex and relationships is somehow non-applicable to an actor in his mid-50s is silly. I've seen this silliness repeated in a few places and can't help but wonder what sort of prudes and defiant anti-shippers write this dreck. Capaldi's probably going to be just fine, depending on how the role's written and how he interprets it -- and his success will not be because of OR in spite of his age.

mern721
mern721

Since my first doctor was Tom Baker, older than me at the time, I'm pleased to have a doctor my age now! I've loved all the newer ones (9-11) but like the way this is going!

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@wibbly_wobbly I legitimately thought it was an official image. If you can provide me contact information for Mr. Clarke I would be happy to credit him and link to the site of his choice, or remove the image if that is his wish.

jude_iscariot
jude_iscariot

@ScorpSt Neil Gaiman said a black actor was asked if he wanted the part and he turned it down. So, they tried. Maybe next time.

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@TheW1ldcard I went out of my way not to go the "silly fangirls" route in this. It's way too close to that "fake geek girl" crap that is so hurtful and wrong. I also never said it was just girls on Twitter protesting an older Doctor. 

anon12345
anon12345

@TheW1ldcard Dude, seriously? Silly fan girls who are a detriment to the show's fanbase? Way to be an asshole. People are allowed to like things for whatever reason they want. Its a good thing if a lot of people like the same TV show as you - it makes it less likely to be cancelled. Get the stick out of your ass and let people have fun.

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@jade.stormcloud ...crap. You're right, of course. My brain said '73, not 70, which was Baker, not Pertwee.

e_lettuce
e_lettuce

@conatonc I've been curious & concerned that moffat may unintentionally, or maybe intentionally, taking, Who more toward the seriousness and darker matters reserved for Torchwood. I'd love to see that show back on. I like moffat, he's a genius. I like Davies too...there was a joyful heart in his writing, quite stoic.

conatonc
conatonc

@SpittenKitten  River was amazing in Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, and she has been getting steadily less interesting and more annoying ever since. I sincerely hope her time on the show is over.

bearwhite10
bearwhite10

@SpittenKitten The Doctor said goodbye in Name of the Doctor, I really don't think we're gonna see her again. Her story's over. And Russel T Davies is long gone... Steven Moffet is head writer.

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@SpittenKitten River, Romana, Sarah Jane, The Brig... they've all got to go sometime. It's heartbreaking, but much of her personal arc is at an end. I hate to see her go, thouhg

battousai012
battousai012

@teresarothaar I agree, But look how Smith turned out! He was an amazing Doctor, I think Capaldi will make a fine addition to the long line of amazing actors that played The Doctor

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan topcommenter

I just wonder: If Capaldi will hide his natural Scottish accent in playing the role, like Tennant did, or he will not, like Sylvestor McCoy.

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@Hanabi-chan Smith grew on me, and the more I rewatch his run the more I think it's a really superior product. I was kind of hoping he would try and buck the typical length of tenure, but alas. I think Capaldi will be fantastic. 

bearwhite10
bearwhite10

@cfein I agree. Speaking as a fangirl, he really ain't bad for an older guy. I mean, I'd sleep with him. Although I'm a slut, so that isn't really any great judge of anything. But there are older guys who would definitely rule out any romance or sexuality because you wouldn't want to subject any poor actor to it, and there are guys who could pull off a classier Hugh Hefner. (Sorry, only elderly guy I could think of with any degree of sex appeal. I'm not suggesting in any way turning the TARDIS into a portable Playboy Mansion).

shaunabphillips
shaunabphillips

@cfein I agree. Personally, I didn't believe the whole River Song, Matt Smith thing, bc River looks so much older than he does. With Capaldi, I could believe that.

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@cfein I meant it helps take the focus away from quite so many crushes as you get with a younger actor. 

HoboChunks
HoboChunks

@JefWithOneF @jade.stormcloud 

Baker was '74.

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@Hanabi-chan I like how McCoy would roll his Rs. Always added real gravitas to his speeches. 

cfein
cfein

@JefWithOneF @Hanabi-chan I was just not that taken with Smith at first... the first ep was pretty great, but I got bored as it progressed. NOW I'm finally starting to appreciate him fully, and I'm sure part of that was, well, two-part: I hated losing Tennant, AND I hated losing RTD. FWIW, it took me awhile to warm up to Moffat.

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan topcommenter

I agree.  But he was fairly unknown and I am sure his tenure on the show got him noticed. Striking while the iron is red-hot, can't same I blame him. Especially, as I understand it, British actors don't get residuals like American ones.  I was truly bummed, once I saw his season, that Eccleston didn't stick around. But he set the tone for the modern series and for that, he should be elevated in the fandom.

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan topcommenter

I agree that all the romantic tension, especially during Tennant's tenure, drove me nuts a lot of the time.  This from a die-hard Tennant fangirl. I suspect someone involved in the show saw how many mad (as in head over heels in infatuation) fangirls Tennant had and ran the ball completely out of the stadium.   Not that Capaldi's age  means that he should not have some of that tension. I just hope the writers, if they want to go in that direction, don't go so crazy with the idea.

Speaking of which, even Hartnell got a bit of a crush. Remember the lady in "The Aztecs"?

Got to disagree with you Jef, for me the most handsome of the modern doctors is David Tennant. Yeah..I know.....

cfein
cfein

@JefWithOneF @cfein Y'know, that was a bit harsh of me. Sorry. I had read a couple of basically "thank gawd, it's an OLD Doctor, no more of that annoying sex stuff!" things yesterday, some of them barely literate, and got really annoyed. I may be conflating all that stuff; not fair to you.

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@wibbly_wobbly @JefWithOneF Thank you. Sent him an apology and asked if he wants me to remove or credit. It's funny, you know? I looked at the image and thought, "Is that a fan creation or one of the officials? Well, it has the BBC logo, which most fan creations don't, so that means it's official, right?"

Life's funny like that, sometimes. 

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@Hanabi-chan I remain always saddened by so little Nine, but I think everyone is lying through their teeth and both he and McGann will be back in November. 

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@Hanabi-chan I KNOW I loved that bit. I watched it after Lynda went to bed, and when she woke up I said, "The First Doctor got accidentally engaged within two episodes."

She said, "Man, he was quicker when he was young." ;)

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@cfein @JefWithOneF No worries, we all get caught up in a some of the more... annoying aspects of our fandom. I really didn't mean to imply Capaldi wasn't capable of being sexy. For what it's worth I actually think he's the most handsome of the modern 4 (Second if you could McGann, though) ;)

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