This is the first season where Doctor Who made sense for me and I have been watching ever since the other Scottish Doctor (David Tennant) was stealing hearts all across the country. I thought Peter Capaldi’s inaugural season as the Doctor was excellent and I every single episode was a knockout.
But I’ll be honest, I’m not an authority on all things who – but my good friend Luke Halsall, aka Dr Batman is and below is what he thought of the past season’s Who.
I have a confession to make, this time last year I was dreading Peter Capaldi as The Doctor. I loved Capaldi as an actor and a director, especially in The Thick of It but I didn’t see him as the kind of Doctor that I would like. Maybe it was because of Malcolm Tucker but I saw an actor who embodied the authoritarian, angry Doctors of Jon Pertwee and Colin Baker who for me were too cold with no twinkle in their eyes to make you really care for them.
Yet when the Fiftieth Anniversary aired and I saw Capaldi as the Doctor for the first time, I knew I was wrong. I thought that I might not like The Twelfth Doctor the best but I would definitely enjoy the up coming season.
Something even more magical happened when the first episode of the new season aired. I fell in love with Capaldi. Yes this Doctor was angry but he was different to Colin Baker and Pertwee. His abrasiveness felt genuinely alien, a refreshing approach that seems to have reinvigorated the head writer Steven Moffat. Capaldi is intense as his performances draws you in, even when he does next to nothing. When Smith’s Eleventh Doctor was so erratic he hardly stopped moving, The Twelfth Doctor is static, and yet his bulging eyes and shock of grey hair is captivating.
Capaldi has said that he wanted his Doctor to be alien, to be user unfriendly and his alien-ness oozes out. He bickers with Clara, and when he even tries to compliment her he seems to insult her. He empowers people in ways that The Eleventh Doctor did not.
He is a darker Doctor. Gone for sure is The Tenth Doctor’s believe that every life is sacred. The Twelfth Doctor appears to not want to lose life but he is a realist; understanding that death is apart of the difficult situations that he puts himself into. The Doctor in the episode Into the Dalek, states that Clara is his carer so that he doesn’t have to care. This is a doctor who, in my opinion, does not lack compassion, he just does not understand it in the way that humanity sees it. This is a doctor where in his first episode, Deep Breath, it was left to interpretation whether The Doctor killed a droid. The fact that the viewer is still unsure whether this Doctor killed the droid, or whether the droid killed himself, or even darker, The Doctor convinced the droid to commit suicide illustrates the layered approach Capaldi has given to his Doctor.
Is this Doctor a good man? We are not sure. Clara is not sure. There is so much grey that shrouds this Doctor. The Doctor is at his best when we as the viewer don’t understand him, when we don’t know a lot about him. The original series suffered near the end because we knew too much about his back story, we knew all about the Doctor. The new series cleverly built in my mystique with the Time War. Yet the new series was starting to suffer because we were, again, starting to know too much about The Doctor. We thought we knew how he would react to certain situations. We no longer have the pleasure.
This gawdy, hawk like man is a joy to watch. Recent other doctors seem to have been modern analogues of previous doctors. David Tennant definitely has aspects of Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor and Matt Smith, Patrick Troughton’s Second Doctor. Yet Capaldi feels new. He doesn’t feel like he is retreading old ground, he doesn’t feel like a modern version of a fan favourite. He is simply playing the Doctor as he has always wanted to play him.
I was wrong about The Twelfth Doctor and Capaldi. He is not just exceptional but he is already one of my top three Doctors. That is something to be awe by.