8 hopes for the 12th Doctor (Part 1)

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Guest contributor Mark Spurdle lists the things he wants to see with Capaldi’s Doctor.

Sunday 4th August saw the announcement of Peter Capaldi as the next Doctor. Delight, shock, and excitement hit me and many others simultaneously as the 55-year-old was given the keys to the TARDIS. In this article I shall be giving my first 4 hopes for our next Doctor. The final four will follow tomorrow.

Less use of the Sonic Screwdriver

sonic-screwdriver-tv-remote-2012I, and many others, have got to the disappointing stage where we’re calling for the end of the Doctor’s magic wand. Countless complaints have been  aimed towards the Doctor’s trusted tool for over usage  Many have stated that the Sonic is just a way for the writers to worm their way out of a difficult situation regarding: “How will the Doctor save the day? How do I write that?” I, to my great sadness, have to agree.

However, due to the high merchandise demand for children, and other fans of the show, it is inevitable that Capaldi’s Doctor will get his hands on a fresh Sonic Screwdriver. With this thought in mind, I came to the conclusion that it would benefit the show to have the Doctor simply use the screwdriver for opening doors, akin to Classic Who.

Why would it benefit the show? Simply, it would allow the writers to pen the Doctor in a more creative manner. It would allow the audience to see the Doctor use wit, knowledge, and instinct to get out of situations. A big plus for the Pertwee era was seeing the Doctor use his knowledge of science in a hands-on manner. This meant he worked on his science using his knowledge and intellect, instead of relying on the Sonic.

I also refer you to Matt Smith’s debut The Eleventh Hour. The Doctor is stumped. Aliens are preparing to incinerate the Earth, and there’s another shape-changing alien on the loose. No TARDIS, no technical hotspots, and no Sonic. What can he do? What does he have available that can serve to him as a tool or a weapon again the enemy? He simply had his knowledge and wit.  

It must be said, the lack of the latter benefited the episode tenfold. Why? Due to Eleven having to use his wit and knowledge to stop Prisoner Zero. At first, by attracting the Atraxi’s attention (by casting the number zero across the world), and uploading all of Zero’s human forms to the Atraxi; then, when Zero assumes a new form, he uses Zero’s shape-changing abilities against it, thus emerging triumphant.

It was a delight to see this occur, which only added to the disappointment of seeing the Eleventh, during the later stages of his life, using the Sonic to help blow up a spaceship (The Doctor The Widow and the Wardrobe), or save the day in a minute (The Power of Three), by pointing the Sonic at a screen.

It would be brilliant to see Capaldi’s Doctor go a series without his beloved toy. Failing that, have his Doctor use it sparingly.

No more flirting with Clara

the-snowmen-clara-kiss-aI’m going to be blunt here: seeing Matt’s Doctor flirt with Clara made me cringe – so very much. I don’t see why the Doctor has to flirt, and engage in any sort of conversation on that basis. It’s incredible that Matt’s Doctor went from being oblivious about women (A Christmas Carol: the Kazran kissing scene with Abigail), to questioning Clara as to whenever she’ll judge the TARDIS for being the (sigh) “snog box”. I’m sorry Moffat. The flirting is cringe-worthy. It is a pile of cow droppings.

I’d love to see Capaldi’s Doctor share a mentor-student dynamic with Clara. Someone who can teach and guide her and show her the wonders of the universe, yet remain wise and approachable, like an elder brother or grandfather. I don’t recall the Doctor flirting with his companions during the Classic era. In fact, I’d be keen to see the Doctor return to acting like a mentor to his companions, much like Classic Who. This way, I, and many others, can continue to enjoy the show without the dreaded cringe.

A darker costume and character

capaldi-beardWhile Matt’s tweed and fez brightened up my television, seeing Eleven don the top hat, shirt and waistcoat with pocket watch, tie, trousers, and black shoes, thus giving his Doctor that Victorian look, really showed his dark side. His neglect of everything around him was clearly reflected in his outfit. This gave our beloved Time Lord a menacing yet older look which really suited his character.

My dream outfit for Capaldi’s Doctor? A dark suit, perhaps Victorian, with a large black/dark-brown trench coat. A large scarf, and possibly a hat as well.

Why you ask? I feel it would show how dark our favourite Time Lord is; how haunted and scarred he feels due to past horrors. It would also presage his mentor-like, no-nonsense personality that I crave to see.

Imagine seeing Capaldi in that array of clothing. This is a man who radiates darkness. He is intimidating and commanding. Additionally, facial hair would be a good choice. A beard, topped off with the above mentioned clothing, would stamp down his authority as a dark, yet kind, mentor-like character. This latter trait would be especially conveyed in his relationship with loved ones.

This costume change would underscore a transition within the show: from a slightly light-hearted era under Matt, into a darker, sinister, and (in my opinion) better era of Doctor Who.

Manipulation and no mercy

peter-capaldi-leonardo-2013This could be the crux of the Twelfth Doctor’s true character: his dark manner of defeating those who stand in his way.

I’m going to come out and say it: I’ve never really seen McCoy properly. However, from what I’ve gathered, it seems his Doctor had a manner of dark manipulation: tricking foes, bending them; in favour of himself, and the pursuit of truth and justice.

I would simply adore for this to happen with Capaldi’s Doctor. To really bend the ways of right to restore balance to the universe. Similar to the character of Luther: a man who bends what others believe to be right, in order to restore true balance to life, to bend the rules to gain what he desires for life.

Imagine seeing Capaldi’s Doctor ruthlessly manipulate Clara: to make her do something, anything, to allow him gain an advantage over the enemy. I don’t know how that would work. I’m not doing a fan-fiction article (but I’m sure there are capable writers who can pull off such a treat!).

Finally, mercy. This is a trait, a notion, that is somewhat oblivious to Capaldi’s Doctor. Tennant’s Doctor was well known for giving out second chances, to anyone (even Davros!). But with Capaldi’s Doctor, this is something I don’t wish to happen. Imagine if the 12th Doctor ever encountered the Weeping Angels again. How would he react? I’d love it if he simply, utterly, destroyed them – to prevent any chance of them coming back. This would show his lack of mercy and humanity tenfold. It would certainly make Dalek stories more interesting and gripping, not knowing how far he’ll go to destroy them (although swearing may be a tad too far!)

Concludes tomorrow.