My fandom for Dr Who began when I was a young child watching Tom Baker sport his iconic scarf and having a seemingly infinite supply of jelly babies (perhaps the lolly bag was bigger on the inside?). At the time my parents weren’t thrilled by my fandom, feeling that the show was perhaps too scary for me, and wishing that I would return my focus to the 1960s Batman TV series.
But any chance of that had been destroyed when, at the age of 6 years old, my parents decided to take me to the movies for a special treat. Until that time, the only movies I had seen in a cinema were Disney animated features like The Rescuers or The Fox and the Hound. This day, however, I went to see The Empire Strikes Back. My first introduction to science fiction as a genre. I was scared, amazed, and so wide eyed I may have forgotten to blink for extended periods throughout the movie. My love affair with science fiction had begun, and there was no going back.
Soon thereafter, I discovered a regularly screening science fiction show on commercial television called Dr Who. These were repeats for the most part, as Tom Baker was actually nearing the end of his tenure as The Doctor. But he become My Doctor. I stuck with Peter Davidson through his tenure. I have no memory of Colin Baker’s years, but do remember Sylvester McCoy. By this time I was old enough to recognize that the budget and effects supporting Dr Who were not as impressive as they once had seemed, and my interest waned and I moved on to other things.
Many years later, Dr Who was being revived. The reboot phenomenon had already turned into cliché in movies and television, so I obstinately refused to jump on the bandwagon. It was only when David Tennant had announced his intent to leave the show (we didn’t yet know he was handing over to Smith), and a well written article describing how Tennant (with his iconic sandshoes) and Eccleston had relaunched the franchise that made me think, ‘Maybe I should check this out?’
I turned to my sister who had not hesitated to re-engage with the show and asked her advice on where to start with the modern series. She recommended starting at the beginning of season 2, where David Tennant started as The Doctor. In retrospect, I think she fancied Tennant’s Doctor , and she would not have been the only one.
So, I bought the second season on DVD. Less than 48 hours later, I had purchased season 1 with Eccleston, and I was now a fan of the modern Dr Who series. Tennant became my Doctor for the modern series (while Tom Baker will always hold the global title for me). While Matt Smith has his share of fans, I did find him a little goofy for my taste, but stuck with the show nonetheless.
Now, before I go any further, if anyone hasn’t seen the 50th anniversary special or subsequent Christmas special, is planning to, and is sensitive about spoilers, then what are you doing reading a blog by some random waffling on about Dr Who anyway?
2013 always promised to be a momentous year in Dr Who fandom with the 50th anniversary. I watched both the anniversary and Christmas specials within 24 hours of their airing (I do live in Australia and it does air in the UK first after all). Like many hardcore fans, I have some criticisms, but in the whole was pleased with these events and the way Matt Smith’s tenure as The Doctor was wrapped up.
Next, looked forward to Peter Capaldi’s version of The Doctor. I had picked up on the fact that Capaldi had already made an earlier appearance in the Dr Who universe during episode, The Fires of Pompeii, which, coincidentally, was also the first time Karen Gillan appeared in a Dr Who episode. Karen was a stone faced creature, so there was little chance of her being recognised once she returned as her recurring character, Amy Pond. Capaldi’s character was easily recognisable though.
I do enjoy a juicy internet rumour, and was delighted when one of the best sources of juicy goss in the webisphere, GIANT FREAKIN ROBOT, teased that unlike other actors appearing in different roles in the Dr Who continuity (eg: Eva Myles and Freema Agyeman), there could be plans to incorporate those appearances into Capaldi-Doctor continuity.
But the rumour that caught me totally off guard was THIS ONE suggesting that Capaldi could be a one season Doctor? Okay, sources may be questionable on this one. But what if there is some substance to this rumour. Why one season? Capaldi is a well known Dr Who fan in his own right. Ask most Who fans how long they would stay in the role and the general reply would be along the lines of, ‘You can pry my sonic screwdriver from my cold dead fingers!’
The suggestion that Capaldi is a transition Doctor is, to me at least, intriguing. The single season hints that there is already a next Doctor earmarked that had a scheduling conflict with the current season. Then add in the suggestion that Capaldi will pave the way for an even more radical and potentially controversial Doctor…
Well, that has all the ingredients for a juicy internet rumour. Who cares if it is based on nothing more than an overheard conversation between a pair of stoned hardcore Whovian’s commuting on a tram to the comic shop! Sometimes, speculation like this can be fun!
So, my completely speculative predictions for the Capaldi single season Doctor and what follows…
When time energy passed from Gallifrey to give Matt Smith-Doctor an extra regeneration, it was not a natural regeneration process. No secrets there since no other regeneration came with Dalek destroying temporal beams of glowyness. Also, our the first words from our Capaldi-Doctor suggest that he has forgotten how to fly the TARDIS. The unnatural nature of the regeneration has essentially caused Capaldi to come out half-baked. I am hoping that the, ‘I forget how to fly the TARDIS’ teaser isn’t followed up with a, JUST PULLING YOUR LEG – HAHA IM THE JOKEY DOCTOR! The indications that Capaldi is a darker Doctor than Smith make this unlikely, I think. So Capaldi is a bit scattered. So the overarching story for his single season as the Doctor will be understanding the nature of what Gallifrey gave him and coming to terms with it. For you see, The Time of the Doctor saw our protagonist go from being, in the eyes of Gallifreyans, the greatest genocidal monster of all time, to the greatest hero of all time. In return, every single Gallifreyan (save those already tapped out I presume), gave The Doctor one of their regenerations. Okay, he spent a few of those making Dalek soup, but what Capaldi-Doctor is essentially dealing with is the after effects of integrating thousands if not millions of potential lifetimes in to his own persona.
If that’s not enough to scramble your eggs, then what is? The appearance of Capaldi-Doctor back in ancient Pompeii is demonstration of a symptom and a time when Capaldi-Doctor, while coming to grips with the potential lives he has absorbed, goes through an identity crisis and genuinely believes himself to be another person. Tennant-Doctor did not recognise him as a Time Lord, even though Time-Lords always seem to be able to do so, because the method they use to recognise each other is a form of passive empathy. And when you touch the mind of someone that thinks like a Time Lord, you know it. But if the person doesn’t think like a Time Lord, because their brain has gone into the equivalent of Time Lord catatonia (making them more or less human), you sense nothing.
Thank you again GIANT FREAKIN ROBOT for pointing out the Capaldi Torchwood appearance. I had forgotten about that one. But the same principle applies. During his season, Capaldi-Doctor’s brain, not coping with the gift from Gallifrey, goes off the reservation and spends a couple of lifetimes hiding in different human identities. For completeness, even throw in a teaser of a catatonic Capaldi-Doctor interacting with a future regeneration of The Doctor, that we have yet to see. Also paving the way for future Capaldi appearances even after his tenure as The Doctor concludes.
So, if the overarching story arc is Capaldi-Doctor getting trying to get his brain right, the obvious climax is resolving this through a regeneration. So then what?
Ever since The Doctor’s Wife episode established that a Time Lord can regenerate to a different gender (thank you Neil Gaiman – me lub joo), the idea has been that we are eventually going to get a female Doctor. Different ethnicities have also been suggested as possibilities . I personally felt the female Doctor option to be more likely. I would rather like to think that The Doctor has been a pasty faced white-boy for all his regenerations to date because the rules of his alien physiology give him no other option. Not because he identifies himself as white. That leaves a bad taste.
So I started thinking about who the likely suspect would be to fill the role of the next Doctor. To have Capaldi earmarked as a one season transitional Doctor, there must be a specific individual already in mind whose schedule excluded them from consideration after Smith-Doctor.
I pause now once again to give those with spoiler sensitivities opportunity to jump ship. Not that I am going to give away any Dr Who spoilers here – having no insight in to that topic. I am, however, going to talk a little about the first place that comes to mind to recruit talented, British accented actors being A Game of Thrones. Well, Sherlock may have also come to mind but Cumberbatch is such a busy boy these days.
I haven’t read the books through. I tried. Really I did. I started after having watched season 1 and season 2 having just started and managed to struggle my way through the first book and part way in to the second before giving it away. The books were so similar to the show that, having already seen the television adaptation, I was getting nothing from reading the books. I had heard of others who, once they got ahead of the show, ripped through the rest of the books in the series in less time that it took to get through the first book alone. The decision I made was to stick with the show. I enjoyed the TV series throughout seasons 1 and 2 and wasn’t enjoying the books. So I chose to follow the TV series alone. When season 2 reached its brutal climax, after picking my jaw up off the floor, I felt comfortable with that decision. There is always plenty of other reading out there in the realms of Sci-Fi and Fantasy.
The very indirect point I was trying to make that I don’t know who will die in Season 3, or potentially early in Season 4 of GoT, that would make actors available for a tenure as The Doctor. I started considering the different female actors in my mind. Nobody seemed an obvious female choice.
Then I came across a report linking none other than Peter Dinklage starring in a pilot on a new show, that would (allegedly) air after his Game of Throne’s commitments. Okay, the suggestion is that this show would air in 2016, but of course, filming for a series happens well before that series airs. So, completely ignoring the link to the new show and focusing on the suggestion that there just might be an outside chance he is available… Could it be…. The Dinklage-Doctor!
Tyrion is easily one of my favourite characters in GoT. And not just because he is one of the few surviving characters you don’t want to just punch in the face while the bastards keep on coming out on top. Peter Dinklage is a skilled actor and I would be immediately excited about any project he was involved in.
The immediate question that comes up with positing this farfetched theory with friends is, how would he reach the TARDIS console. Redesigning the TARDIS with each new Doctor has almost become thematic. So the real question is, could Dinklage manage the role of The Doctor? OF COURSE HE CAN. HE CAN BLOODY DO ANYTHING. HE’S PETER FRIKKIN DINKLAGE! DINKLAGE IS BRILLIANT!
In conclusion, the bow I have drawn here is incredibly long. Longer than I ever imagined when I began speculating. But what if…. Just, what if……..
Apologies for any links that wont work or stop working. You can only please some of the people some of the time. The rest reserve the right to bitch about it.