Even though Doctor Who totally snubbed Comic-Con this weekend, there are a couple pieces of publicity to keep you on the edge of your seat while you wait for the Season 8 premiere later this month. The first is a delightful interview with new Doctor Peter Capaldi that ran in London’s Sunday Times (unfortunately behind a paywall), the second is a disappointing new TV spot.
The most important thing we learn in the interview is that the Doctor is being played by a true fan; Capaldi claims that his earliest memory of the show is the Daleks surfacing in 1964’s "The Dalek Invasion of the Earth." He wasn’t bothered by the low production values, either. “Everybody slags it off now, but these programs weren’t made to be viewed over and over again. When you just consumed them in that way, at the time, they were magical.” He also has strong opinions on the Mondasian Cybermen introduced in 1966 (the modern Cybermen are from a parallel universe). “There is a conflict among fans, but I’m trying to get the Mondasians back.” You should note that the interviewer describes his voice as “grave” for that one.
When producers cast Capaldi, they were deliberately moving away from the trend of casting younger and cuter with each regeneration. Capaldi wanted to move away from another trend as well. “There’ll be no flirting, that’s for sure. It’s not what this Doctor’s concerned with. It’s quite a fun relationship, but no, I did call and say, ‘I want no Papa-Nicole* moments.’ I think there was a bit of tension with that at first, but I was absolutely adamant.” That news will please two groups: those who think that Tennant's tenure was sullied by all the endless moping over Rose Tyler, and those who are sick of huge age gaps between leading men and their romantic interests. At 55, Capaldi is tied for oldest Doctor ever, and his companion is played by Jenna Coleman, who is 28, young enough to be his daughter.
When asked about Mark Gatiss’ statement that the new incarnation of the Doctor “has a madness in his eyes,” Capaldi replied, “All that’s true, but he’s also joyful. One thing the show does well is balance the epic and the domestic. You can go from the edge of the universe to a pedestrian precinct. This Doctor loves watching stars being born in Andromeda; he’s also thrilled to see litter blowing across the supermarket car park at dawn.” Capaldi seems to have a bit of that quality himself. “When I was Doctor elect, before it was announced, I used to go to Forbidden Planet [a sci-fi superstore in the West End of London], and just hang around. It would amuse me that people wouldn’t know they were standing next to the next Doctor Who. That’s all past now. I can’t do it any more.”
Capaldi sounds like a delight. I know I’m excited to see him in action. I’m pretty sure the doctor is in good hands.
I am less confident about the hands in charge of the ads for the eighth season, given this extraordinarily lame tv spot. I have no idea what it is supposed to be telling us. Is it supposed to be really kooky that he’s on top of the TARDIS? I don’t know. Boring ads aside, the Doctor returns on August 23, and my DVR is set.
*Note to our American readers, Capaldi seems to be referring to this ad campaign.