How Could Capaldi’s Doctor Develop?

Guest contributor Dan Steadman explores some scenarios.


As the year goes on we are getting ever closer to Peter Capaldi’s debut as the Doctor, and, as I’m sure many fans are, I’m dead excited for it. Why wouldn’t I be? Things such as a new recurring character in Danny Pink, the return of the Paternoster Gang, some tantalizing filming pictures and castings, announcements of some great writers and directors and, of course, a new Doctor all make the wait until Series 8 unbearable. But the thing that I am most excited for is the promise of a darker Doctor, or a “snarling beast” as Steven Moffat put it.

Now, every Doctor has had their darker side and moments – take for example Eleven’s way of punishing Solomon, Ten’s all-powerful Time Lord Victorious, or Seven’s manipulation of Ace in “The Curse of Fenric”. However, in my opinion, we haven’t really had a properly dark Doctor for a while. “What about Christopher Eccleston?” I hear you say. Well, yes and no. Eccleston’s Doctor was a battle-scarred warrior at first, but his dark side was never properly explored in depth other than in “Dalek”. And the trouble was, Rose caused his Doctor to mellow quite considerably. So if we’re due to get a darker Doctor, I would like to see the opposite of what happened with the Ninth Doctor. I would like to see Capaldi’s incarnation become darker over time.

time-of-the-doctor-tv-trailer-(7) smithLet’s say Capaldi remains in the role for three series, just like Matt Smith and David Tennant. Over the course of the three series I would like to see the Doctor’s character really develop, so that there’s a definite difference between series. This sort of development can also be seen in Smith’s Doctor, in a way. When he ate fish fingers and custard with Amelia just over 4 years ago now, he was like an out-of-control puppy, walking into trees and flirting with vampires. He remained like this for the remainder of the series, until, in Series 6, we saw the ancient hero start to emerge (“A Good Man Goes to War” is a fine example of this). Then, in Series 7, we got to see the mysterious traveller and the ancient hero once again, although he was slightly more mature. Take his swansong, “The Time of the Doctor”, for instance. Remaining on Trenzalore for so long just shows how far he’s come, finally settling down. That’s what I mean by “develop”. So what should happen with Capaldi’s Doctor? I have two suggestions:

A Dark Beginning

capaldi-jenna-colemanThis suggestion is that Series 8 sees the Doctor as a darker version of Matt Smith, almost. By this I mean that he is still a mad adventurer, but his darker side is a bit more prominent. I would like to see this side of him more frequently throughout Series 8, building to a very dark Doctor during Series 9. By that I mean a manipulative, almost out-of-control Doctor. Ideally, as much as I love Clara, she would leave at the end of Series 8 so the Doctor has no one to keep him under control. Hey, why not even kill Clara off (yes, I know Moffat actually killing someone permanently is a big ask) and then have the Doctor struggling to cope with it. That would be an interesting situation, in my opinion. Then, in the latter half of the series and in Series 10 I would like to see Capaldi mellow out again, until his regeneration.

A Dark End

My second suggestion is that Twelve follows slightly in Ten’s footsteps, and becomes darker towards the end of his tenure (I am of course referring to the Time Lord Victorious in “The Waters of Mars”). Perhaps an act by the Doctor could inadvertently result in his demise, or the Doctor could do something so drastic that in his final episode he seeks redemption and welcomes regeneration. Of course, neither of these things will probably happen because… Well, I’m not the Moff. In this idea he would be mellow in Series 8 (as in the idea above), and his darker side could start to surface during Series 9. This would also allow for Clara to stay for two more series, meaning that she would then probably become “the companion” of Capaldi’s era in the same way that Jamie McCrimmon is “the companion” of Troughton’s. I wouldn’t mind this actually, although I know that it wouldn’t be popular with everyone!


In conclusion, I would like to see Capaldi’s “snarling beast” develop into something more, into something unique, unpredictable and dangerous. It’s something we’ve only seen briefly in the past, but seeing the Doctor go through a dark or even traumatic phase would be an interesting move. The show needs shaking up a bit and needs to be slightly more adventurous as it heads into its next 50 years, in my opinion, and I believe that Capaldi has the potential to do something groundbreaking with the character. But, of course, these are all just my own ideas. Thank you for reading my mad ramblings, and I look forward to seeing your own opinions. How do you think Twelve will/should develop? Do you think the Doctor should be darker? And how so?