Monday 5 August 2013

Spin Doctor: Peter Capaldi is the Timelord we need

There is always a degree of anxiety when the BBC are set to announce a new Doctor. Matt Smith was a curveball with acting stints outside of the mainstream realm and was most noted for his role in The History Boys. Now the baby-faced human jaw is moving on, leaving a new Timelord to wield the sonic screwdriver. There were some big names in the running, from the apocalypse-cancelling Idris Elba to the ginger Homeland heart-throb Damien Lewis. We now know that as of this year's Christmas special this will be perennial actor and self-proclaimed Whovian Peter Capaldi.

The 55-year-old Scotsman has a plethora of television and film roles under his proverbial belt, most notably playing the razor-lipped government communications psycho Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It and In the Loop. But he's certainly not a stranger to Doctor Who, having played Caecilius in The Fires of Pompeii and John Frobisher in acclaimed Torchwood mini-series Children of Earth.

Ageing the Doctor may seem like a strange idea for some; after all, Capaldi is only a whisker shy of the age William Hartnell was when he originally took up the mantle of time-traveller in 1963. After a stint of younger actors, it appeared that the role of the Timelord had become a young man's game, but Capaldi could well end up as one of the best we've had.

He's obviously already accomplished as an actor, so it's fair to rule out that he will botch the role. It's easy to imagine that he can bring a gravity to the role that probably hasn't been felt for a long time, playing the wise, if odd, father figure. As Black Books creator Graham Linehan put it, "Well done to Peter Capaldi. He will make scary things scarier and funny things funnier". But that's not all: Capaldi is a Who fan, "Even though I am a lifelong Doctor Who fan I've not played him since I was nine. I downloaded old scripts and practised those in front of the mirror," he proclaimed in the announcement on BBC One.

This is a guy who knows the Doctor - what makes him tick and how to play on his eccentricities. It remains to be seen exactly how Capaldi will cover the role, but I, for one, am excited to find out.

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