Aug 4 2013 4:45pm

3 Implications We Can Make Now That Peter Capaldi is the Next Doctor

Peter Capaldi Doctor Who new Doctor

The BBC and BBC America have announced during a live broadcast that 55-year old actor Peter Capaldi will play the Doctor following Matt Smith’s regeneration this Christmas. This marks a departure from the fresh-faced, energetic years of David Tennant and Matt Smith.

Now that the face of the next Doctor is known, here are three implications for what this means for the future of the show and the future of the character himself.


1.) The Doctor won’t be a woman as long as showrunner Steven Moffat is around.

Capaldi’s announcement settles, not for the first or last time, the possibility that the Doctor will be played by a female actor. Doctor Who as a show is no stranger to this notion. Calls for a female Doctor can be found in articles all the way back to Fifth Doctor Peter Davison’s days, and probably further, and the question has come up fairly regularly since the show was revived in 2005.

Current show runner Steven Moffat has wrestled with the question (and Matt Smith has out and out said that a female Doctor would be fine) but he made a very telling remark while introducing the next Doctor. When taking into consideration the possibility of a female Doctor, Moffat said, “That would be like casting the role of the Queen with a man.”

The comparison to the British monarchy is telling. Moffat’s position seems to be one derived not on the merits of the possibility but on considerations of how deeply embedded Doctor Who has become in the firmament of British cultural identity. After 50 years, the show has become an institution, and Moffat seems keenly aware that he has to preside over a momentous anniversary for something that came before him and which will also possibly outlive him. 

There is plenty to say about the pros and cons of such an approach, but aside from that it seems very clear that as long as Steven Moffat creates Doctor Who, the Doctor will be male.


2.) Peter Capaldi is the most interesting choice the show could have made. And we could be in for a Christopher Eccleston reprise.

I’ve been following the news about the frontrunners for the part in the weeks leading up to the announcement and this weekend the possibilities came down to three names: Peter Capaldi, Daniel Rigby, and Aneurin Barnard.

Rigby and Barnard, although talented and charismatic, evoke the Matt Smith mold of the Doctor pretty closely. Capaldi, however, was by far the most interesting choice.

An established actor, Capaldi is perhaps best known—and celebrated!—for playing the foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker in The Thick Of It and In The Loop. In fact, why don’t we take a NSFW break for a second and watch him say fuck word after fuck word:

Heh. “Fuckity bye.”

Doctor Who viewers know him as the dad from the “Fires of Pompeii” episode (which also featured Karen Gillan’s first appearance on the show), where he plays a highly energetic Roman merchant and patriarch to an upwardly mobile family.

Intensely devoted Who fans also know him as John Frobisher from Torchwood: Children of Earth, where he essentially sells 10% of the Earth’s children to aliens in order to save the rest of humanity. The day is eventually saved, but there are no happy endings for anyone, and the fate of Frobisher and his family is one of the bleakest moments ever televised.

This man is the Doctor? The same one who told us not to blink, thought bow ties were cool, and sacrificed himself for us over and over again?

It certainly appears that way! And actually, if the next Doctor must be in the same racial and gender mold as the others, then Capaldi is at least the most interesting choice. This is a Doctor who can be pleasant, but carries Tennant’s authoritativeness and Eccleston’s dark edge. This is a Doctor you can imagine flying off the handle. This is a Doctor that worries you, and while Moffat, Capaldi and co. may not choose to go that route the possibility will be there, and that’s exciting.


3.) This could be the last Doctor.

Matt Smith’s regeneration into Peter Capaldi is coming this Christmas, only one month after we’ll have seen the Tenth and Eleven Doctors face off against John Hurt’s mysterious Doctor.

Hurt was introduced as a “lost” Doctor, and fans suspected that either he was the very first: the Doctor before he took up the name, or a hidden Doctor that came between the Eighth and the Ninth. The 50th anniversary episode footage screened at this year’s San Diego Comic Con pretty much confirmed that the latter is the case, that John Hurt is playing the Doctor who fought in the Time War.

The show established in its initial run that Time Lords get 12 regenerations total, resulting in 13 incarnations. John Hurt’s presence now makes Matt Smith the Twelfth Doctor, and Peter Capaldi the Thirteenth and final Doctor incarnation. It seems we’ve reached the beginning of the end for the Doctor’s adventures.

Or have we? Doctor Who is a British institution, as I’ve noted, and it employs thousands of people and provides momentum and visibility for a good chunk of the BBC’s television programming. The likelihood of the BBC sacrificing all of that in order to remain faithful to a decades-old line of dialogue is pretty much nil. Unless the show tanks again, there will be Doctors after Capaldi.

But it will be interesting to see if the show addresses this or if it dismisses it with an offhand joke (the way Russell T. Davies did in Sarah Jane Adventures ep “The Death of the Doctor”). Grappling with it as a plot point could have its appeal. What if the Doctor believes this is his last life? How would that change the way he approaches problems and adventures? If you take away the Doctor’s reckless abandon, is he even the Doctor anymore?

And what if he eventually sacrificed himself, came to his journey’s end, and his utter surprise...regenerated anyway?

It doesn’t have to unfold quite like that, of course. This is just a way of demonstrating that what seems like a fault of the show could actually become a virtue that illuminates new aspects of the Doctor’s character. And an actor like Peter Capaldi, who can swing from filthy, to dark, to sweet in the space of an instant, could pull this kind of drama off with aplomb.


In the end, while Peter Capaldi is not the choice I personally would have gone for as the next Doctor, he at least promises to be interesting. Will they bring back the Master to test this Doctor? How will he get along with Clara? How epic will his speeches be? Here’s hoping season eight follows closely after Christmas!

Watch the reveal of Capaldi here:

Chris Lough is the production manager of and just between you and me is really tired of the BBC announcing exciting new things over the weekend.

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1. RobinM
Capaldi could be the last Doctor, but I go back and forth with this idea from the comments various show runners and suits have made over the years . Capaldi will be intersting just from what I've seen of his Torchwood and Dr. Who characters. All is also right with the universe again because the actor playing the Doctor is again older than I am. I used to tell co-workers it was a sign of the Apocolypse that the Doctor was younger than me. Not that I didn't enjoy Matt Smith and have a blast watching him, but I can't wait to see what the guy brings to the table.
April Moore
2. aprildmoore
I'm really surprised to see that so far, none of the articles I've read have mentioned that he was the angel Islington in BBC's Neverwhere (a classic if you've never seen it and written by Neil Gaiman). I didn't realize it was the same guy until I saw the video above, but his face is unmistakable. Wow - an interesting Doctor, indeed.
3. CraigRanapia
The show established in its initial run that Time Lords get 12
regenerations total, resulting in 13 incarnations. John Hurt’s presence
now makes Matt Smith the Twelfth Doctor, and Peter Capaldi the
Thirteenth and final Doctor incarnation. It seems we’ve reached the
beginning of the end for the Doctor’s adventures.
Except, not really. even in show. The Master's cunning plan in The Deadly Assassin was all about securing him a new cycle of regenerations (shame about destroying Gallifrey and half the galaxy in the process, but there you go). When that went tits up, he stole the body of Tremas of Traken (The Keeper of Traken), was promised a new life cycle by the Time Lords for his help in The Five Doctors, and finally resurrected to fight in the Time War (The Sound of Drums).
Alan Brown
4. AlanBrown
Mr. Capaldi is definitely a safer choice than going with a woman, and closer to the classical mold of doctors before Tennant and Smith skewed the role in a younger direction. I was rooting for a woman in the role, while at the same time dreading a woman character written by Moffat, who I don't think handles the female viewpoint too well.
I have not seen much of Mr. Capaldi's work, but he is a fine actor, and his love of the show and the role shone through the kind of cheesy spectacle of the live introduction show.
It will be interesting to see what he does with the role.
5. KF
"The comparison to the British monarchy is telling."

As much as I dislike Moffat's statement (which ticked me off when I read it), I think he's being more specific than that, and referring to Helen Mirren's various portrayals of Queen Elizabeth II. She'd previously been quoted as saying she'd like to see a female Doctor when asked about it.

The actual quote was, I think, "I like that Helen Mirren has been saying the next doctor should be a woman. I would like to go on record and say that the Queen should be played by a man."

Either way, it was a crappy thing to say, especially in the reveal special.
6. Hatgirl
When taking into consideration the possibility of a female Doctor, Moffat said, “That would be like casting the role of the Queen with a man.”
Uh. Moffat is aware that's going to happen at some point, right? That's pretty much what Charles is for.
7. CraigRanapia
Either way, it was a crappy thing to say, especially in the reveal special.
Meh... I think he's got a point there, just not the one he thinks he's making. It's not as if cross-dressing is alien to British film, theatre or television -- one of the biggest shows on British television right now is Mrs Brown's Boys, where Brendan O'Carroll plays in drag a comic character very loosely based on his mother. But, of course, that's comedy. There was nothing to stop a man being cast as the lead in The Audience instead of Mirren. Just as there have been plenty of all-male productions of Shakespeare, even though the Elizabethan prohibition on women actors is long gone.
Anthony Asbury
8. yetanothergeek
He will not be the Doctor as long as the show is popular. Indeed, at one point the BBC was considdering having a different actor every year. The 13 body limit is a non-issue that the current run has been careful not to mention.

The original series established very little. Contituity was never a priority, In one it is stated that Time Lords are potentially immortal. Later, the Doctor is thousands of years old. Later still the Doctor has had numerous bodies prior to the Hartnel one. Next comes the 12 regeneration limit. Stories after that revolve around this limit being extended or re-started.
Bernadette Durbin
9. dexlives
"And what if he eventually sacrificed himself, came to his journey’s end, and his utter surprise...regenerated anyway?"

I've long thought this would be the best way to handle it. Especially as it would be so worth it to have a Doctor come out of regeneration with total bewilderment that he's still alive.

P.S. In regards to the theory that the Doctor's incarnations reflect his prior feelings and emotions, what do you say to the possibility that John Hurt *is* the Eighth Doctor, but because of the flux around the Time War, his appearance changed without a full regeneration? I can totally buy the idea that he's so old because that's how he felt when he got caught in whatever it was that changed his appearance...
10. Athreeren
There are two theories that pretend that the Doctor can already go further than thirteen incarnations. The first is that in Let's Kill Hitler, River Song saved him by giving him all of her lives (10, if she had the usual number - which is not certain). The other theory is that during the Time War, the Lord President was Rassilon, who knew the secret of eternal life, which he could have shared with the other Time Lords in order to win the war (one time lady talks about time lords being continuously resurrected to find new ways of dying over and over and over again). According to this theory, the Doctor could have an unlimited number of incarnations, has long as he doesn't suffer a permanent death.

But it would be much more interesting to have a Doctor who knows the end is near, especially if it leads to the Valeyard. But if we do get the Valeyard, then it's a good thing that we have another white man as the Doctor: I'd rather have a different Doctor after the evil one.

In fact, I hope the Doctor won't be a woman until we have companions that are not necessarily love interests.
11. Staar84
"The show established in its initial run that Time Lords get 12
regenerations total, resulting in 13 incarnations. John Hurt’s presence
now makes Matt Smith the Twelfth Doctor, and Peter Capaldi the
Thirteenth and final Doctor incarnation. It seems we’ve reached the
beginning of the end for the Doctor’s adventures."

Yes, BUT in "Let's Kill Hitler" River sacrifices her remaining regenerations (in an all or nothing scenario) to save the Doctor. Theoretically, he should have her remaining 11 regenerations left after this last one. If I was Moffat, I would wait until the next regeneration to make the Doctor a woman, because that's when River's regenerations will start being used.

As for Moffat's Queen joke, he didn't say "When taking into consideration the possibility of a female Doctor,
Moffat said, “That would be like casting the role of the Queen with a
man.” He said "NEXT up will the casting of the queen as a man" which has a very different implication.
David Goldfarb
12. David_Goldfarb
Other people have already noted that Peter Capaldi was in World War Z, playing the role of "W.H.O. Doctor".
13. T. Surber
It's been implied in the show, and blatantly said in the RPG base book and several other sources that the 12 regenerations thing was a cultural rule and not a biological imperative.
14. davicoo
Congratulations to Peter Capaldi, I'm really overjoyed that he will be the next incarnation of the Doctor. As for the P.C. (Cultural Marxisim) brigade presently out there nashing their teeth...The character of the Doctor is a Man...Come to peace with it.
15. Dr. Cox
I remember Peter Capaldi from "The Fires of Pompeii," but I first saw him playing the drag queen known as Vera in an early episode of "Prime Suspect." And he was also in the "Songs of Praise" and "The Christmas Lunch Incident" episodes of "The Vicar of Dibley" (and "The Christmas Lunch Incident" also featured a hysterical "Doctor Who"-themed knock-knock joke).
16. Maac
@ 7, 8, etc -- the thing is, if the Doctor were cast as a woman, it would not BE drag. It would be him/her, in her new body. Human queens do not regenerate into a new form -- they die and get replaced by an entirely differfent human -- the Doctor is an entity who has to re-figure out life and a new physicality every time he dies.
17. Edward Brennan
The problem with Moffat's statement on the Queen is that her role- that of monarch- will be probably filled by either Princes Charles, William, or George, or, even if all those people die before the Queen- Harry. The role of the Monarch will be recast, and not in the too distant future.

If one looks at the history of Dr Who, before Eccleston, it becomes clear that Capaldi isn't anything more than the most traditional choice possible. Not a bad choice, just traditional. The earliest Doctors were more like Capaldi

I don't think this casting was any more momentous than an older english male actor taking up the part of Lear. It doesn't use casting to expand the idea of the character, and for that reason, the reveal itself is quite meh. It doesn't mean that you can't get great versions, just that the announcement is of the sort that is to be expected.

Capaldi is a capable actor. I hope he makes the character his own.
Shelly wb
18. shellywb
@11, that's what I heard too, and I took it to mean that the Doctor being played by a woman is inevitable, because the Queen will be played by a man so to speak when Charles takes over. I remember Capaldi from Local Hero, one of my favorite movies in the 80s. I'm looking forward to his turn.
Ron Hogan
19. RonHogan
Another Local Hero fan here!

To add to the variations of What Moffat Said, I'm pretty sure I heard, "I'd like to see a man play the Queen," which in context sounded extremely condescending, if not outright snide.

As I saw various people point out on Twitter today, though, you aren't going to get a radically different Doctor by replacing the Doctor, but by replacing Moffat.
20. TimJ
The limit of 12 regenerations is gone. When Matt Smith appeared on "The Sarah Jane Adventures", he was asked how many times he could regenerate and the response was that there was no limit.
Mani A
21. sn0wcrash
While I'm glad they've reveresd the trend of ever-younger looking actors playing the Doctor, it's nothing but disappointing, when the British monarchy is more progressive than the mind-set of the show-runner
Steve Taylor
22. teapot7
Nice to see an older Doctor - I'd been afraid the Doctor would end up prebubescent the way things have been going. Though I wouldn't half mind Judy Dench instead (so there @14)

I'd be happy if this was Steven Moffat's last regeneration though - the modern incarantion of Doctor Who takes itself too seriously. Nothing would make me happier than an episode where the Doctor helps someone find their lost car keys, or bake some scones.
Mike Conley
25. NomadUK
By the way, they're inferences that you're making, not implications. Capaldi's selection implies, from which you infer.
Thomas Thatcher
26. StrongDreams
The autoplay on the BBC vid is quite annoying, by the way.
Thomas Thatcher
27. StrongDreams
The Doctor can go swanning around the universe meeting and saving one-off characters all he likes, and it doesn't really matter what kind of Doctor he is. The problem is that all his old continuing enemies know he is an old softy who abhors violence. The Daleks knew he wasn't holding a Tardis self-destruct, the only reason they didn't shoot him is that the plot required it. In order for the ultimate bluff to work, the Doctor (any character, really, and any person in real life for that matter) has to be willing to carry out the ultimate threat, and needs to be seen doing it at least once in a while. Otherwise he's not a credible threat. I'd like to see a Doctor who gets dangerous once in a while.
Erik Amundsen
28. Bigerich
Malcolm Tuscker IS Doctor Who:
Keith DeCandido
29. krad
"3.) This could be the last Doctor."

No, really, it can't, and the fact that people are twisting themselves into a pretzel over this really amuses me. Doctor Who is the BBC's cash cow and their most valuable property, making them money hand over fist for the past eight years. Do you really think that they're going to end it and stop making all that money because they feel the need to be beholden to a line of dialogue from an episode of the show that aired before many of the people currently watching it were born? Seriously?

That cash cow thing is also why there was basically no chance that the 12th Doctor was going to be anything other than a white male. Shows celebrating an anniversary ending in zero at the height of their popularity aren't going to rock the boat.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Christopher Bennett
30. ChristopherLBennett
I think Capaldi's a great choice. He was absolutely brilliant in Torchwood: Children of Earth, totally stealing the show with a richly moving, dark, morally ambiguous character whom you felt great sympathy for even as he made truly horrific decisions. He could bring a lot of depth and intensity to the Doctor.

I also love it because I feel the past few Doctors have been too similar to one another. In the original series, each new Doctor was pretty much the diametric opposite of the last one, a huge departure. They went out of their way to differentiate each new Doctor from his predecessor and make him unique. But while Eccleston, Tennant, and Smith have had their distinctive qualities, it's been more a matter of degree and emphasis, different actors bringing their own personalities to essentially the same character. Eccleston was dark and brooding and angry with a funny side, Tennant was funny with a dark and brooding and angry side, Smith is goofy with a perhaps slightly less dark and brooding and often significantly more angry side. And they've all been similar in age and all been somewhat romantic figures, a trait they share with Paul McGann. Not that an older man can't be a romantic figure too, but I'm hoping Capaldi's casting means we'll get a Doctor who's more a father figure to the companion(s) like the first three were. I want a real departure like in the old days.

I've realized that Capaldi is the first canonical Doctor to share a first name with a predecessor. He's the second Peter to play the Doctor -- the third if you count Cushing. He's also, I believe, the third Scot to play the role (canonically, at least). I wonder if he'll use his real accent as McCoy did or adopt an English one as Tennant did.

I think he has a Doctorish face too. There's a Troughtonesque quality to his eyes.
Adam Whitehead
31. Werthead
It's been implied in the show, and blatantly said in the RPG base book and several other sources that the 12 regenerations thing was a cultural rule and not a biological imperative.
The RPG also says that the Master and the Monk are the same person (they are not) and implies the Doctor and the Master are brothers (they are not). As an American product line written with zero consultation with the BBC thirty years ago, the RPG is even less canon than most of the other spin-offs and merchandise (which is not at all).

The show itself says specifically and very clearly that if you're on your thirteenth life and you regenerate, you either die or turn into a withered, crippled husk (like the Master in 'Deadly Assassin' and 'Keeper of Traken') and then die. It is a biological limitation, not a cultural one.
The limit of 12 regenerations is gone. When Matt Smith appeared on "The Sarah Jane Adventures", he was asked how many times he could regenerate and the response was that there was no limit.
Actually he joked about it and said he could regenerate 507 times. Clearly he was taking the mickey.
No, really, it can't, and the fact that people are twisting themselves into a pretzel over this really amuses me.
You are missing the point here. No-one believes that the BBC will cancel Doctor Who just because they hit the regeneration limit, not when there are multiple canonical explanations available for how to circumvent or avoid it, and even some already-existing set-up for it (the River Song transfer thing, for starters).

What is in question is whether the show will acknowledge it. Russel T. Davies acknowledged when he was in charge that the limit is a big thing in the mythology and it should be addressed, but he never raised it because he knew he wouldn't be showrunner when they reached that point and he didn't want to limit what they could and couldn't do. That might also be Moffat's view, though of course with the John Hurt Doctor, this makes Capaldi #13 (technically) and it is possible that Capaldi might only be in the role for a year or two, so Moffat may end up dealing with it after all.

Dismissing it as an old bit of minor continuity would be a mistake, I think. It basically governed the Master's entire story arc from The Deadly Assassin in 1976 to Survival in 1989; it was heavily mentioned in the 1996 TV movie and played a role in the Trial of a Time Lord arc. There's no reason for them not to make a virtue of it and use it to drive an interesting story arc about the issue.
Christopher Bennett
32. ChristopherLBennett
I'm just wondering if they'll do anything with the Valeyard...

My pet idea that I've had for ages was that the Thirteenth Doctor would acquire a Time Lady companion in his final season -- maybe a regenerated Romana or, better yet, Susan -- and then in his dying moment, he'd give her the TARDIS key and/or the sonic screwdriver and say "You are the Doctor now." And then we'd have eleven or twelve female Doctors in a row. Although the whole "last of the Time Lords" bit would make that harder to pull off now.
Adam Whitehead
33. Werthead
I think it's more likely that the Doctor will be expecting to die and will then regenerate into a female form, thanks to River Song's transferred regenerations. A combination of questions - why is the Doctor female and how has he/she survived his/her 'last' regeneration - could make this an idea worth pursuing from a story angle rather it just being a "Why not?" situation.
34. Pedant One
You can't "make" implicatons. You can perceive implications or make inferences.
Christopher Bennett
35. ChristopherLBennett
@33: "The Doctor's Wife" established that another Time Lord, the Corsair, had been female in at least one incarnation and male in others. The Doctor didn't treat this as in any way unusual. And at other times, in Davies-scripted stories, he's said he could regenerate into "anything," even implying that he wasn't limited to a humanoid form. So it may be uncommon for a Gallifreyan to change sex, but it's not unprecedented, and the Doctor wouldn't see it as a mystery she (formerly he) needed to solve.
36. autoq
are we sure that he is not David Tenant in disguise.. ?
37. Jeff R.
We know that the Doctor is really bad at controlling his own regenerations, and we know that he come out as male 13 times running (counting Capaldi, Hurt, and the Valeyard here). This should probably count as strong evidence that he's strongly gendered and it's not a coin-flip that's happened to land the same way every time. (Timelords who are better at controling regeneration probably could make the switch, but the Doctor isn't good enough at it to even try. He can't even manage to come out Ginger.)

And there's absolutely nothing in new Who to support doubting that the 507 number isn't the real post-Time War/Eye of Harmony in the Tardis limit.
38. JimB
Is this the first Doctor that has previously appeared in the WHOverse in different roles? My daughter and I both have problems with the choice from that perspective. She was thinking that maybe Moffit was trolling everyone and was quite disappointed. I will keep seeing Frobisher for quite a while because he was so brilliant in that role that I absolutely HATED him.

Time will tell how it works out, I'm sure that he will come to grow on us and I am willing to give him a chance.
Christopher Andrews
39. DrBlack
@38 No, Colin Baker had a not insignificant role as Commander Maxil during Peter Davidson's time (Arc of Infinity).

There are more of these double appearances for companions. Karen Gillian was even in the Fires of Pompeii with Peter before her time as Amy. Freema also had a little bit part in Army of Ghosts before becoming Martha.

Lalla Ward is a really obvious one, going from playing Lady Astra in one story to Romana in the next (though they acknowledged that she explicitly, uh, borrowed her look). Peter Purves was a yokel on the top of the Empire States building before turning up several episodes later as Steven. There is Nicholas Courtney who played Brett Vyon in The Dalek Master Plan and later came back as the Brig. Jean Marsh was also in TDMP as Sara Kingdom, and reversed the process by starting as a companion and coming back as Morgana in Battlefield. Jacqueline Hill also made this transition, coming back many years after playing Barabara to play a preistess in Meglos.

There may be others, but none occur to me off the top of my head. The short version is that it is not unprecedented. Jarring, perhaps, but not unprecedented. The question is whether they will acknowledge the similarity in features (like Romana) or not (like the sixth).
Christopher Bennett
40. ChristopherLBennett
@39: Before she was Sara Kingdom, Jean Marsh played King Richard I's sister in "The Crusade." So she was also a guest star before she was a (very short-lived) companion.

Capaldi is notable as the first Doctor to have played two different Who-universe roles onscreen before becoming the Doctor -- although David Tennant played six different characters in Big Finish audios (including a Time Lord) before he became the Doctor.
Alan Brown
41. AlanBrown
Eve Myles, who was Gwen Cooper in Torchwood, had previously played a domestic in the Doctor Who episode, "The Unquiet Dead." I think later there was some mention of that character being an ancestor of Gwen...But the coolest Doctor Who 'paradox,' as mentioned by Peter Davidson in the 'reveal' special, has to be Georgia Moffett, the Fifth Doctor's daughter in real life, who played "The Doctor's Daughter" on the screen, and then became the Doctor's wife by marrying David Tennant in real life.
Like JimB, that turn as Frobisher in Children of Earth will be hard to erase from my memory, as Capaldi did such a fine and memorable job with a complex and unsympathetic character.
42. JamesH
Could the Rani ever be played by a man? As "Rani" is Hindi for "Queen"?
43. jonathan inge
I just don't want any more Doctor speeches (monologues). One of the best things about the show was that many writers breathed life into the character so he never felt the same. This time around, each incarnation gets weighed down with more words. I'm not against good dialogue; just incessant rambling that fills time.
lake sidey
44. lakesidey
I think "The Brain of Morbius" has a scene where Morbius draws forth memories of earlier Doctors in a mental duel...and goes beyond Hartnell. So canonical Who also has some more Doctors we know nothing of....?

(I could be mistaken though)

alastair chadwin
45. a-j
That's right, but fandom subsequently decided that those faces were Morbius' previous incarnations in order to retcon the apparant paradox caused by the subsequent 12 limit which was first mentioned in the later 'Deadly Assassin' story and again in Peter Davison's 'Mawdryn Undead'.

Anyway, never mind the '12 incarnations' continuity problem, what about the 'Doctor is half-human' one which is specifically established in the Paul McGann TV movie?
46. JimB
Thanks @38-41

I knew most of those previous roles of different companions. There have been more then a couple of actors that have appeared more than once in the Whoverse in different roles. It was the role of the Dr that I was focusing on though. And since I'm not as familiar with the older episodes (netflix selection sucks) I had missed the Colin Baker appearances. Too bad the BBC doesn't replay the older episodes during the season downtimes. There are a lot of older episodes I'd love to see.

My daughter and I talked about the announcement more last night and with a bit of pouting she agreed we don't really have a choice but to give Capaldi a fair chance.

The wife would have really liked to see Helen Mirram as the new Dr.
Christopher Bennett
47. ChristopherLBennett
@45: Actually Hartnell had already been established as the Doctor's first incarnation as far back as "The Three Doctors," so "Morbius" was contradicting what had already been established years earlier as well as what came later.
alastair chadwin
48. a-j
Good point.

However, is it specifically stated in 'The Three Doctors' that Hartnell is Doctor One? Been a while since I've seen it, so can't remember.
Christopher Bennett
49. ChristopherLBennett
@48: Yes, that's what I just said. To be exact, the President of the Time Lords referred to Hartnell's incarnation as "the earliest Doctor."
50. GeekyAmy1981
It's probably already been said in the comments, but the 13 incarnations thing was just a rule set by the Time Lords. With the Time Lords gone, the Doctor can theoretically regenarate as many times as he wants. That's why the line about it in The Sarah Jane episode wasn't exactly a joke. It could really happen. Too bad we won't be here to see that ;-)
Neil Gaiman recently commented on this:
Christopher Bennett
51. ChristopherLBennett
@50: The thing about the regeneration limit being an artificial rule is not canon, just speculation from some offscreen sources. It may be what Gaiman believes, but nothing in the show itself has ever confirmed it. On the contrary, it was explicitly stated in "The Deadly Assassin" that after the twelfth regeneration, nothing could prevent death -- short of some cataclysmic intervention that would destroy Gallifrey and half the universe. True, the Master was offered a new regeneration cycle in "The Five Doctors," but that was presumably an exceptional circumstance. The clear implication in the original series was that death after the twelfth regeneration was the natural life cycle for a Time Lord and that any prolongation beyond that would be a radical departure from the norm. So this idea that 13 lives is merely an artificial limit has no support in prior canon. Of course, Doctor Who retcons itself all the time, so there's no reason the rules couldn't be changed to fit this interpretation, but as of this writing it's not (yet) canonical.
52. Woz000
Don't have a problem with an Actor playing different roles over the life of a long running show like this.

The key word there is Actor... it's not the same character.

If you have no problem with an alien flying round the universe and time in an old police box, saving his pet humans... oh and he keeps turning into a new one when he karks it...

But some have problems with an ACTOR playing a character, because they have seen that actor play another character.
53. AlanHK
I find it interesting that the new Doctor is 55, the same age as Hartnell when he took the role. Hartnell was also a well established character actor, he'd done a bunch of tough army sergeant roles.

In "The Name of the Doctor" we had prominent appearances by Hartnell's Doctor, so while I don't think Moffatt picked him for his resemblance to Hartnell, I'm sure that now he's chosen Moffatt will be looking for ways to recall #1's character.

Though I doubt he will be mixing up his companions' names or braining anyone with a rock.

Also I recently saw "The Crow Road", the 1996 TV series based on Iain Banks' novel. In that Capaldi had a major role. Also "Neverwhere" the 1996 series written by Neil Gaiman, in which Capaldi is the (evil) Angel Islington. Capaldi was remarkably good looking back then....
Christopher Bennett
54. ChristopherLBennett
@53: Yup, Capaldi is only months younger than Hartnell was when he took on the role. He'll be only the second actor to star as the Doctor (not counting return guest appearances) at age 55 or over (Pertwee was still 54 when his term ended) and only the third to star as the Doctor in his 50s. And if he stays longer than three years, he'll become the oldest starring Doctor ever. Although he seems to be in significantly better shape than Hartnell was at that age.

It's interesting that they're going from the youngest Doctor to the second-oldest, but I don't think it's safe to assume that Capaldi's Doctor will be like Hartnell's. For one thing, Hartnell seemed older than he was, not just because of his poor health but because he wore the long white wig and was playing a more elderly character. For another, each actor makes the Doctor his own, and just because Capaldi's around the same age Hartnell was then, that doesn't mean they have much else in common.
55. Lezlie
Capaldi..? Of Traffic fame? ( A bit long in the tooth, don't you think?
Punk rocker? Really....? (Does Winwood know about this?)
Christopher Bennett
56. ChristopherLBennett
^@55: As I said, he's about the same age as the original Doctor, William Hartnell, was when he first took on the role, and a bit older than the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, was at the end of his tenure. He's one of the oldest Doctors, yes, but within the existing range of variation.
57. Felicity Pilchard
Mawdryn Undead has been mentioned above in this thread as a source of the "12 lives" myth, but recall how Peter Davison got to avoid being the final doctor - when asked whether he still has regenerations, he pointedly does not say how many, just that he is "still a time lord". Extra lives were injected at that point... even in River hadn't done it again, there's no need to kill the franchise for a long time yet, if it's making money.
Rich Bennett
58. Neuralnet
I may be in the minority, but I think I like their casting choice... fingers crossed he will be good. Unfortunately, a woman doctor may have to wait for a spin off series of some sort. At this point I bet the networks are forcing the show to make the conservative decision to keep the Doctor a white male (cant risk alienating that 50 year audience base)
59. Lynn11111
I like Peter Capaldi. I had forgotten about him. Loved him in Chandler & Co!!! And love his curly hair in "The Crow Road".
60. BethH
I would love to see peter capaldi in a situation with doctor ten and cap jack.
10: didnt I save you in pompeii?
jack: didnt you sacrifice 10% of the children of earth and go batshit crazy?
12: erm...

how the hell moffat is beating his way out of that continuity mess, I have no idea. probably like every other plothole of his, he'll ignore it. peter capaldi is a brilliant actor, but its not like with the companions, where you can stick them in spinoffs and episodes as other characters and noone will care. they should never have cast him. moffat has made one mistake too many with this.
Christopher Bennett
61. ChristopherLBennett
@60: It's not a plot hole to cast an actor in a different part, because the plot of a story and real life are two separate things. Colin Baker played a Gallifreyan lawman in "Arc of Infinity" before he was cast as the Sixth Doctor. Jean Marsh, Peter Purves, Nicholas Courtney, Lalla Ward, Freema Agyeman, and Karen Gillan all played other characters before becoming companions/recurring allies of the Doctor. Elsewhere, Armin Shimerman played two other Ferengi before he was cast as Quark on Deep Space Nine, and Voyager's Tim Russ, Robert Duncan MacNeil, and Ethan Phillips had all played other Star Trek roles before getting cast as regulars.
62. espy
While it is possible Peter Capaldi could be the last Doctor, the odds are heavily stacked against it. And while the average Time Lord is only given 12 regenerations it would be wrong to ignore the precedence of the Master who was gifted additional regenerations by the Time Lords. So to say that this will be the last regeneration is presumptuous especially with the precedent set by The Master.
Christopher Bennett
63. ChristopherLBennett
I gather that Moffat was recently asked if he would acknowledge the 12-regeneration limit, and he said, simply, "Yes." So it will be addressed, at least. But he did not say he would be bound by it. Of course they won't end the show when Capaldi leaves, not as long as the ratings are still good. They'll find some way around it, but apparently they won't just ignore it.
64. Davidlb
If you recal the initial introduction in who River truly is, one will remember that she gave up her regenerations to the Doctor. This could be the argument made that the doctor now can have more than 13 regenerations because he now has the regenerations of 2 Time Lords. It could also explain how at one regeneration he can turn into a girl.
65. MDM
I was pretty sure I read somewhere or other that the 12 regens was a limitation instituted by the Time Lords and no other Time Lords no one to limit him.
Christopher Bennett
66. ChristopherLBennett
@65: I keep hearing that "limitation imposed by the Time Lords" claim online, but it's inaccurate at best. "The Deadly Assassin," the serial that established the regeneration limit, explicitly stated that nothing could prevent death after the twelfth regeneration -- and when the Master tried to get around that, he nearly destroyed Gallifrey and the bulk of the universe in the attempt. True, later episodes indicated that there was a way to give the Master a new set of lives, but that was the exception (maybe something they discovered how to do after "The Deadly Assassin"); to all indications, the normal state of affairs was that the 13th life was irrevocably the final one.

There's an audio drama called Zagreus that claims Rassilon created the regeneration cycle and imposed a 12-life limit to prevent some kind of cumulative biological decay. But that's an interpretation after the fact. And even if you accept that it's true, it doesn't mean that Time Lords can intrinsically regenerate indefinitely and are just forced to die Logan's Run-style at a certain point, or whatever this rumor is meant to imply. It means that the limitation is built into their genes and bodies. "Mawdryn Undead" established that a Time Lord's body has a finite number of "packets" of regeneration energy, one for each regeneration. So the default for a Time Lord, biologically speaking, is death after the 13th life.

So the rumor is getting it backward. It's not that the 13-life limit magically disappeared once the Time Lords weren't around to enforce it; I don't know where that idea came from. Rather, that limit is something only the Time Lords had the means to undo, and without any more Time Lords, there's no evident way to prolong the Doctor's life beyond his 13th incarnation. Of course he will find some way of doing it, but it won't happen automatically.
67. Paul Jacobs
Of course I know that the show will find a way to extend the number of regenerations. But, I haven't seen anyone make mention of the episode with Colin Baker where he fought an evil 13th doctor. I don't remember the name of the episode. But, that should be canon, and has the final doctor as evil.
68. Thisisunique
"The Doctor won’t be a woman as long as showrunner Steven Moffat is around"
Dumbest. Comment. Ever.
Yes, it has been SUGGESTED that a timelord can change their sex, race, genotype, etc. BUT the Doctor is a) connected to Humans in a way that is as-yet to be explored, b) involved romantically with a woman on her last generation before she dies, c) so far for 11 generations a man.

Just like a man with testicles and a brain can't play Enda Kenny, the Doctor is a white male.
Christopher Bennett
69. ChristopherLBennett
@67: You're thinking of the Valeyard from "The Trial of a Time Lord." He wasn't exactly a future incarnation of the Doctor, but some kind of offshoot said to have arisen between the Doctor's "twelfth and final" incarnations.

Which, given that we now know Matt Smith is actually the twelfth incarnation (with John Hurt being the actual ninth), means that we may see the origins of the Valeyard in the Christmas special next month. The fact that the Valeyard got a name drop in "The Name of the Doctor" supports this.

@68: Women can be romantically involved with women. And given that the Doctor has had multiple different eye colors and hair colors (except ginger), there's no reason he couldn't have different skin colors too. In The Sarah Jane Adventures: "Death of the Doctor," when Clyde Langer asked the Doctor if he could be black, the Doctor replied, "I can be anything."

And so far, out of twelve incarnations (counting Hurt), he's had only one that had a Scottish accent and only one that had a Northern accent. Only one of his incarnations has been overweight. So there's no reason one Doctor can't have attributes the rest lack.

In real-world terms, the Doctor is always the best actor they can find for the role. If the best actor happened to be non-white, they'd be stupid to reject him for that reason alone.
70. Samual Wolf
As the Fourth Doctor once said "It is the end...But the moment has been prepared for..." I think they already planned this out when River Song saves the Doctor's life by giving up all here regenerations to save him. Doesnt that stand to reason he gets all her unused lives?
Christopher Bennett
71. ChristopherLBennett
@70: That's a popular fan theory, but we won't know until we know. Regeneration is a fantasy and they make up the rules as they go to suit the wishes and needs of the storytellers. There's no real "truth" to it that would compel the writers to follow a certain set of rules. So whether River's sacrifice gave the Doctor new regenerations depends entirely on whether Moffat wanted it to.

Personally, I think his intention there was merely to explain why Alex Kingston was River's last incarnation, why she was human rather than Time Lord for most of the time we knew her. As I saw what happened in "Let's Kill Hitler," the Doctor was already dead and River needed to use all her regeneration energy to restore him to life. I think that energy was expended for that purpose -- essentially discharging it all at once to jump-start him back to life -- so I don't think there would be any left in reserve for future regenerations.

Anyway, the Xmas special is only 19 days away, so we may not have to wonder for long.
72. william Dorsett
I am almost certain they just rebooted the dr.s regernerations last night..... meaning he has 12 more regens.. or at least that is what I got from the last few lines matt smith gives...
73. Max Xinzou
OMG, really!, such a geezer dude with all those neck wrinkles who was playing Cardinal Richelieu when he was notified. Certainly a good actor, but really, I don't see the direction after hipsters Tennant and Smith. My initial reaction is, well, what else can I watch. Certainly, he does seem the Tory's choice, hardly a young person's choice. OMG! Really, the best you could come up with. You have cut off your legs at the knee and set the bar so high. Really? I will give you the benefit of the doubt for a few episodes, but can you really see this geezer dude at Comic Con? Sorry, but I do feel that you have shot your self in the foot with this one!
Christopher Bennett
74. ChristopherLBennett
@72: Yes, that's exactly right. He's been given a whole new regeneration cycle, presumably 12 more lives with Capaldi as the first of the set. (This would be one less than the original cycle, because the Doctor had to be born first, so he got one full life before the first regeneration kicked in. Adding a second cycle wouldn't be 13+13, but 1+12+12.)

@73: Good grief, "geezer?" What are you, twelve? Capaldi is a robust 55. That was about William Hartnell's age when he started in 1963, but that was a time when people smoked and drank to excess and aged much faster as a result. A 55-year-old today is typically in much better shape, barely past the prime of life.

And what's wrong with the direction changing? In the original series, each Doctor was essentially the diametric opposite of his predecessor. The past three -- four, if you count Paul McGann -- have been far too similar to one another. It's high time we got something different.

As for Comic-Con, they go wild for Sir Patrick Stewart (age 73) and Sir Ian McKellen (age 74), not to mention Robert Downey, Jr. (48) and Clark Gregg (51). So you need to rethink your assumptions.
75. John Paul Iraheta
During the Christmans Special we were reminded that David Tennant (10th Doctor) regenerated and kept the same face which would make Matt Smith (11th Doctor) the 12th Doctor, but don't forget about John Hurt the Doctor who fought in the Time War. In reality the Doctor shouldn't have been able to regenerate again, but the Time Lords were calling him for a different universe through the crack in the wall. That was until Clara convinced the Time Lords to help the Doctor which they did. This allowed Matt Smith (13th Doctor) to regenerate into Peter Capaldi. So how Doctor Who as a show progresses all depends on the minds of the people who write the scripts. All we know for sure as fans is that the show can have 12 other Doctors or it can all end with Peter Capaldi since the Doctor started a whole new regeneration cycle.
76. John Paul Iraheta
Please ignore my previous post I didn't notice when this was posted.
77. Andrew J. Timm
@31, it wasn't just the RPG. Articoes in early DWW/M's, the Target Books, interviews with the cast etc. and even an edition of Mastermind all confirmed that the Monk and the Master were one and the same. And 98% of fans were able to work this out anyway. Sadly one member of the 2% was Paul Cornell who wrote the awful 'No Future', which can't keep its facts straight from one page to the next. Thankfully, RTD ognored that nonsense and had the Master call himself 'Harold Saxon', wear a hood, and have Martha realise the Master is a Time Lord by seeing his anachronistic watch.

There are also rumours that Capalid may be a one-year or two-year Doctor, and then Moffat will make a controversial casting decision when it comes to the Doctor...

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