Dawn of the New Doctor
John Hussey prepares for the arrival of the new Doctor with some thoughts.
With Series 8 fast approaching now, under two weeks to be precise, I thought I would share some final thoughts in anticipation of Peter Capaldi’s arrival.
One of the great things about a new Doctor is the excitement of seeing them adapt to the screen and the role. We witness them go through their regenerative trauma and how they battle their first baby-steps within their new body before tackling what kind of a man they have become.
In Capaldi’s case we’re given the impression that he will be dark, impatient, disregarding and extremely alien towards humanity and our traits and ways of thinking. This, in my case, is very exciting indeed. I find the Doctor is at his most interesting when he falls into an area which makes him more alien than usual. His strange quirks and habits mean nothing when it comes to him behaving like his enemy and making decisions that are not only questionable by his companion, but also by us the viewer.
A darker nature brings out interesting character developments not only for the Doctor himself but also to his companion. I think it will be interesting to see how Clara will cope with the Twelfth Doctor after her time spent with the childish and somewhat ridiculous Eleventh Doctor. His nature was more gentle and friendly but could prove to be erratic and questionable in both a good and bad way. With the Twelfth Doctor however he will become a more unapproachable person and may even prove to be somewhat unlikable within his characteristics. The part I find most interesting from clips we’ve seen is the fact that Clara questions him in a worrying way. This is most strange and discomforting to learn especially since, out of all the Doctor’s companions to date, she perhaps knows him the most. She has encountered all of his incarnations, including the War Doctor, and so for her to no longer understand this man is most unusual. It shows that the Twelfth Doctor will bring a lot of change to the characters dynamic in a way that even worries the Impossible Girl.
The Twelfth Doctor’s darker side was expressed in great detail through the clip of Episode 2 showcasing him describing his relationship with Clara. He told the other characters onscreen that she isn’t his assistant (a title given to the majority of companions before Clara) to which Clara answered ‘I’m his carer’. The Twelfth Doctor’s response was somewhat clear about his new character change by announcing her caring meant he didn’t have to. It can be debated that he meant that he didn’t have to care about himself as that was Clara’s job, but I feel it was more general in the meaning. I found it meant that he didn’t have to care about anything around him. This comes back to the claims that Clara would be made to feel more like Sherlock’s John Watson. She would have to pick up the pieces around the Doctor and in turn apologise for his inhuman and disregarding behaviour to those around him, just like with Sherlock Holmes. It serves as a massive contrast to the Doctor we’d come to love and understand throughout Moffat’s first part of his tenure. But at the end of the day this is a good thing. As much as I loved Matt Smith’s portrayal I’m completely in favour of the idea of a darker contrast to his more childish ways.
On to the stories we can expect. The tone of the episodes is down to the kind of Doctor in play. With the Twelfth Doctor being promoted as a darker character it’s fair to say that his stories will share in this change. That too is a blessing as I find the more serious stories to be among my favourites. Darker tones can prove entertaining in my books and allow for some really interesting plots to be devised and give the Doctor and his companion some real challenges and dilemmas.
This has been another promising factor by Steven Moffat in particular. His statements give us the idea that there shall be true consequences for the characters throughout the episodes. This means real danger and perhaps resolutions that will have the Twelfth Doctor make decisions that are questionable. Perhaps they’ll get the job done but to what end. Take the Eleventh Doctor’s solution of killing Solomon. Sure it saved the Ark, the Dinosaurs and his friends from being struck by missiles but it meant he had to commit cold-blooded murder that made him no better than Solomon. It’s that thin line between doing what’s right and what’s necessary. I reckon we can expect to see more Solomon-like incidences throughout Series Eight.
It would seem also we are receiving change within the format. Doctor Who has now been given a guaranteed spot in autumn which I find is the best time to show it. It gets darker and allows for more atmosphere which is good given the promised darkened vibe. There is also the strong possibility the show will draw in more viewers. After a few years of splits we finally now have an uninterrupted 12-episode run. My biggest hope in this move is that the episode lengths will be longer or at least vital episodes will be given extra time like the finale. It’s already apparent that the opener ‘Deep Breath’ will be feature length, given Capaldi a grand opening to his role. The whole cinema idea was a nice addition to promoting Capaldi’s first episode and I for one shall be participating in this special event. To me this shows that the BBC is taking great consideration over their prized possession and giving it the glory it deserves as a new era begins.
Moving on to returning characters we have the Paternoster Gang coming back in ‘Deep Breath’ and Kate Stewart, Osgood and UNIT coming back in the finale. This will help with Capaldi’s first run by allowing him familiar faces to engage with who can help to define him and aid with the reactions of his new persona. Like with Clara, they are extensions of the audience who will ask the questions we want answering and challenge the Doctor in ways we want to do ourselves. Above all, it will bring further elements to the stories and allow their incorporations to the series to unfold further and allow the show itself in expanding its never- ending widening universe.
Last but not least, we have the question of what villains will the new Doctor be put against within his first run. This can help define the new Doctor and help with their growth in character and the way they think and act. With this in mind it’s always important on what approach is made. The best way, which has been demonstrated successfully throughout the course of the show, is pitting the new Doctor against a familiar foe. This usually results in the return of the Daleks. The Daleks are of course the Doctor’s greatest enemy. He despises them above all of the alien races he has encountered. They practically make his blood crawl and his anger to bubble to the surface and erupt in terrible ways. It only seems natural for their presence to be shown early on to make a point of surfacing the Doctor’s new characteristics. It’s also good to see how they’ll react and deal with them.
With the Twelfth Doctor I believe we will receive a sort of ‘Dalek’ approach and feel, with a dash of ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ and ‘Victory of the Daleks’. I expect him to be somewhat subtle and yet very menacing towards them, unleashing bold statements to show his hatred of them. But it is still hard to determine beyond that how he will react and deal with them. From what we’ve seen so far he hasn’t raised his voice. He’s appeared quite calm but at all times strong in his stance, showcasing wisdom and power. Something tells me though through watching his fantastic performance as Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It he’ll certainly have a gob on him when provoked.
Of course we also have the confirmed return of the Cybermen who will appear during the two-part finale written by Steven Moffat. Again I expect a similar treatment when he tackles them. I feel the Twelfth Doctor won’t easily be budged or frightened. He will have a heart of steel and bring a terrifying presence to the role that just might make his enemies think carefully about how they approach him. In conclusion I believe all of these elements will come together to create a brand-spanking new era that will be marvelled upon. I’m certain my expectations will be met and even exceeded. I have continuous trust in Moffat’s capabilities and I believe Peter Capaldi is the right man for the role and will excel in his dream job. Onward to Chapter 2 of the Doctor’s adventures.