New Doctor for Doctor Who takes over for Smith

Jessica Sieling, Managing Editor

The long-running science fiction television show, Doctor Who, returned for its eighth season on August 23. The premiere marked the start of the Twelfth Doctor’s era and officially presented Peter Capaldi as the new time traveling alien.

The Doctor is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, who travels all over space and time with his different companions. Due to The Doctor’s powers of regeneration, many different actors have played his character over the years since the show began in 1963. So naturally, when Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor, announced his departure from the show in June of 2013, many dedicated fans were curious to find out who would be replacing him.

Capaldi was later introduced as the new lead on August 4 in a live broadcasted special titled Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor. The casting was a bit of a shock to many of the show’s viewers, who noticed that he had previously been featured in the show as Caecilius in “The Fires of Pompeii”, an episode that premiered in the show’s forth season. He also made an appearance as John Frobisher in a Doctor Who spin off series called Torchwood: Children of Earth.

Steven Moffat, the show’s head writer, stated last year that he had plans to explain the multiple appearances into the plot line.

“We are aware that Peter Capaldi’s played a part in Doctor Who before and we’re not going to ignore the fact,” Moffat, in an interview with Nerd Cubed, said.

However, now that the show has officially stated with Capaldi, the change in main characters has been a bit of a journey for some of the long time viewers. Because the last few actors to play The Doctor were fairly young, the change to Capaldi, who is 56 years old, has been hard for some fans to adjust to. Even Jenna Coleman, who plays the current companion of the show, worried over offending Capaldi with some of her lines.

“My lines were like,‘But he’s so old! Why is he gray? Why has he got lines on his face?’” Coleman said. “I didn’t know him at all at this point. In between takes, I was like, ‘Oh, Peter, I’m so sorry. Terribly sorry. You look great.’”

Capaldi, on the other hand, stated his frustration with age difference and why the writer’s seem to be making a big deal of it.

“Sometimes, I get a bit annoyed with it,” he said. “I don’t think I’m old. I’m 56. Maybe people think that’s ancient. I’m not an old man.”

Because Coleman was the companion before Capaldi took over the role, her character Clara started the season having a hard time adjusting to the change, much like the fans of the show. In fact, the first episode of the new season, Deep Breath, was dedicated to Clara’s struggle to accept the new face of her best friend.

“He looks completely different and acts completely differently,” Coleman said. “We’re discovering that it’s much more of a turbulent relationship [between the characters]; he brings out the control freak in Clara because she can’t quite pin him down.”

Despite the changes and differences between the seventh season and the eighth, Capaldi has been very optimistic about the new series and seems to be extremely grateful for his role. In multiple interviews, he has been very clear about his dedication to not only the character but to doing justice to the actors who had the role before him.

“I’ve been influenced by the entire history of Doctor Who and by every actor who’s played Doctor Who, and everybody who’s worked on the show and made those episodes.” Capaldi said. “I wouldn’t be here doing this if it hadn’t been for the twelve actors who brilliantly played the part, often in times when it wasn’t as easy to be Doctor Who or as welcome to be Doctor Who as it is now. So really I stand on their shoulders.”

Capaldi added in another interview his dedication to the show and how it has affected him.

“The big reason that Doctor Who is still with us,” Capaldi said. “Is because of every single viewer who ever turned on to watch this show, at any age, at any time in its history and in their history and who took it into their heart — because Doctor Who belongs to all of us. Everyone made Doctor Who.”