Thursday, 28 August 2014

Peter Capaldi and his new Doctor Who

AS Peter Capaldi, the new Doctor Who puts it himself: “Well, here we go again.” Indeed. This is the fourth new Time Lord since the “reboot” and we have gone from the youngest Doctor, Matt Smith, to one as old as the first incarnation, William Hartnell. He is also, arguably, the most Scottish, teamed with writer Steven Moffat, a compatriot. There is a reference to the upcoming referendum. On learning he is Scottish, Capaldi says: “That’s good. I can complain about things!” Did Alex Salmond have a hand in this script? Capaldi plays the tartan time traveller as a serious thinker, an almost troubled being, with a burden. An independent soul, he is not ending his way in the world – he has already been there. The new Doctor is one of us; older, kindly, grumpy at times, and with regrets In short, the new Doctor is one of us; older, kindly, grumpy at times, and with regrets. “I’ve made mistakes,” he says solemnly. In some respects, the person who has the most issues with him is his assistant, Clara. “He looks old,” she says, sounding like a prodigal daughter back from a gap year. This also opens up the potential for comedy, which will lighten the load of centuries past that Capaldi is carrying around. Once he gets over his post-traumatic regeneration disorder, this worldly Doctor could become a classic but do not expect the scarf to make a return. He may be an avuncular Doctor in a frock coat but he will not be reaching for the pipe and slippers. He has already fallen through a tree, ridden a horse, hung from a service lift and jumped from a bridge. If we are also to get a new Doctor’s assistant, I hope she, or he, has a first aid certificate.