What Lies Ahead For Peter Capaldi After Series 10?

Connor Johnston ponders over the future of the Twelfth Doctor post Series 10.


Change, renewal and transition… the forefront of Doctor Who’s continued success for over half a century. By now, one would think we’d have grown more accustomed to the temporary nature of the show’s titular character. However every time the possibility of an actor leaving the role of the Doctor is brought into the spotlight, it becomes more and more difficult to digest. Today, as speculation continues to run rampant over the Twelfth Doctor’s future, I’ve chosen to take a closer look at both the suggestions that Series 10 will see Capaldi’s regeneration – and the reasons why he should stay.

The Troughton Rule

troughton-and-smithI hate Patrick Troughton. I mean, I LOVE Patrick Troughton – the incarnation, the actor, the man everything about him – but sometimes… I swear! For those unacquainted with “The Troughton Rule”, it’s more or less a colloquial term referring to advice given by the Second Doctor to future actors in the role stating that remaining in the role for more than 3 series will result in being typecast and suppressive to an actor’s future career. As yet only William Hartnell, Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker’s reigns have exceeded the standard 3 series era. Narrowing our view to the revival alone and the track record is far less promising, with neither David Tennant nor Matt Smith lasting to a fourth series, and of course Christopher Eccleston only lasting one. While tradition suggests that Peter Capaldi era could also fall victim to the Troughton rule, personally I’m not sure that the conditions of the advice truly apply in this case – given the experienced career Capaldi has had prior to his role on the show. Now this isn’t to say that Peter’s career has had its day – far from it – just that there really isn’t a dependency on experimenting with alternative roles in the future to prove his worth when it’s it’s already been proven by a career that’s showcased his ability and versatility.

From The Man Himself

peter-capaldi-series-8-colemanOne of the major factors fuelling recent speculation on Peter’s future with the show are his own words from a recent interview in the Telegraph that read:

“This could be my final year – it’s terrifying. I love Doctor Who but it can be quite an insular world and I do want to do other things. There will come a time when this is over. But I knew that when I started. I was thinking about my regeneration scene from the outset. That’s my terrible melancholic nature. When you accept the job you know there’ll come a day, inevitably, when you’ll be saying goodbye.”

Personally, I think it’s totally easy to see how such a comment could simultaneously cause distress and/or be taken completely out of context. On one hand, it does seem awfully suggestive that discussions over Twelve’s regeneration have entered the thought processes of both Capaldi and the team behind the show. However it does remain quite vague regarding the certainty of when said regeneration would occur. In addition to this, it seems far more like an understanding of the temporary nature of the role rather than a prediction of his future on the show. This is why personally; this quote alone doesn’t leave me convinced on his fate.

A Change For Chibnall

chibnall-capaldi-sunglassesAnother highly prominent factor in today’s discussion is the news that Steven Moffat will resign as Doctor Who showrunner after Series 10 in 2017, before Chris Chibnall takes the lead with Series 11 in 2018. For many, the knee-jerk reaction of fear this news sparked was based on how Capaldi would work with the transition of showrunners. Unlike the other suggestions in today’s article that I’ve had to investigate – for me this seems an argument that can be easily used to endorse both the extension or conclusion of Capaldi’s era. On one hand it is slightly logical to see why such an assumption would be made given it’s what’s been done in the past. The last time we saw a changeover in showrunners with RTD to Moffat it was accompanied by a regeneration of the Doctor and a totally clean slate it terms of personalities both on and off the screen. On the other hand, it would also be equally appropriate for Capaldi to act as a bridge and a point of familiarity to oversee and ease the transition for fans. Especially when we consider the fact that Moffat had, by his own words, convinced David Tennant ¾ of the way to remain in the role for another series – it becomes clear that history has a very small role in offering any certainty or insight to current events.

Distorted Mirror, Or Crystal Ball?

Capaldi-MirrorGiven that each of these possibilities have been discussed in length by many in recent times, it’s no surprise that tabloid powerhouse “The Mirror” have jumped onboard the bandwagon claiming to have broken the exclusive ‘news’ Capaldi is leaving after Series 10 – branding speculation and likelihoods as fact. Now it’s no secret how little respect I have for most of the ‘journalism’ that pours out of the Mirror, and even less for their methods and manipulations regarding Doctor Who news. But it’s also no secret how many times (especially in the last 2 years) I’ve had to digest a hearty meal of my own hat as their track record has slowly improved.

Now of course there is a lot of reasons why the aforementioned report regarding Capaldi’s future may seem likely and ‘make sense’, however what cannot be ignored is that beyond the layer of logic there are some laughable claims combatting its validity. Firstly, the fact that the report never seeks to brand any of their claims as definite is somewhat of a welcomed change from their usual ‘exclusives’, and does gracefully mean that the basis of the report is speculation. Secondly, the fact that the report awards the responsibility of a casting decision and Capaldi’s future to the BBC Bosses is highly irregular given history has suggested that the actor himself has the most influential choice (of course ignoring the horrific treatment of the show prior to the revival). Finally, if the drawn out discussion of Jenna Coleman’s exit from the show across a 2-year period showed us everything; it’s that while discussions and negotiations may be occurring constantly over an actor’s future on the show, it’s by no means a confirmation of their immediate departure.

Why Capaldi Should Stay

Capaldi-glassesIt’s no overstatement to say that in just 2 series, Peter Capaldi has totally revitalized the show and embedded his own charm, wit and personality into the legacy of Doctor Who as we know it. From the offset, Capaldi’s era has been recognized for it’s boldness, maturity and innovation – and despite how much I personally loved Series 8, it’s no secret how much more popular his second series has been, labelled by the majority of both fans and critics alike as one of the strongest runs of Doctor Who to date. Despite these achievements it’s very telling that the vast majority of fans believe Peter Capaldi has so much more to give to the role.

Ultimately, at the end of the day, none of us can truly have an informed opinion on Capaldi’s future past Series 10. However it’s no secret at all that many are calling for his reign to continue throughout Chibnall’s era. If the surprise departure of Matt Smith in 2013 taught us anything, it was that we can never really trust anything bar an official announcement to confirm or deny our suspicions. What is certain however, is that regardless of what the future holds, the Capaldi Era is far from over. With Series 10 facing the daunting task of living up to Series 8’s passion and Series 9’s innovations and quality – one can only imagine the shocks, surprises and joys to come in the next few years with Capaldi at the helm.

And long may he stay.