Hello again, my fellow Fridge Nukers! Bradfield here, reporting from deep within the bowels of the Dalek Asylum!
After months of secrecy , and countless miles of column space devoted to speculation, BBC announced that veteran character actor (and erstwhile bandmate of Craig Ferguson), Peter Capaldi, will take over for Matt Smith as the 12th actor to play the role of The Doctor in BBC’s now 50 year old classic television show, Doctor Who. He will make his first appearance in this year’s annual Christmas Special. According to controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, Ben Stephenson:
[Peter Capaldi is] an extraordinarily talented actor who can seemingly turn his hand to anything.
We can’t wait to premiere his unique take on the Doctor on Christmas Day and we are sure he’s going to become one of the all-time classic Doctors.
Though Capaldi is a staple of Brit TV (including the “pond crossing” BBC hit, The Hour) and motion pictures, he may be most familiar to American audiences playing a doctor with the World Health Organization in this summer’s World War Z. So in other words…
A Little Who-Story [or “Information Whovians Can Skip”]
Here in the states, Doctor Who is still a relatively recent “hit,” despite five decades — on and off — of wild popularity in the UK. The current series has been running for eight years, revived, and currently helmed, by writer/producer, Steven Moffat. To date, there have been three actors to play the role under Moffat’s watch: Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and Matt Smith – the current, and perhaps most popular Doctor. [The preceding statement may draw the ire of “Whovians,” (a term for Doctor Who fans) but please take into account that I said “perhaps,” and “most popular.” I am not about to open the “Who is the ‘best’ Doctor,” can of worms. For the record, I pretty much like them all.]
This is because the character of The Doctor (he’s not generally referred to as “Doctor Who”) regenerates – meaning that periodically, he changes his outward form. So there will inevitably be those who jump on board with Capaldi, and a couple years down the road, give or take, they will be crushed when he departs for other horizons.
This, as I mentioned above, is the source of much debate in the Doctor Who fan community – Who is the best Doctor? Hardline fans are pretty serious about their picks – some prefer the classics, having watched Doctor Who when it used to appear on PBS and the like, where others prefer the more accessible, contemporary version. I can’t speak from the point of view of a seasoned fan, having been into the show for about two years now.
Frankly, I like it all. At the suggestion of a friend, I started with the current series, Matt Smith’s first episode. Not so much because he was the “best” Doctor (it’s a conversation I won’t indulge), but because it best demonstrates the week-to-week action, energy and general “shtick” of the show, in pretty much any incarnation. From there, it’s easy to skip around. Like Star Trek, the pre-Moffat ones are, well, cheesy, but fun scifi and well written. The modern version, though Who-purists might disagree, works well for contemporary audiences, both across the pond, and here in the States.
That said, come Christmas Day, all will be revealed as Who fans world wide (as Chritmas traditions go, Doctor Who is bigger than any football game – except here) get their first taste of the 12th Doctor. However, Netflix has a huge selection of Doctor Who goodness – including the most up to date episodes of the current series, and plenty of the classics.
The Doctor is dea… uh… The Doctor is regenerated! Long live the new Doctor!