Monday, August 5, 2013

Blogtor on Peter Capaldi

When big old Petey C (as he is now dubbed) tooled out from behind the figurative curtain last night (on Doctor Who Live - The Next Doctor), I have to say my heart lept with trouser~tightening delight when his name was announced. Despite not featuring on any of my actors' lists for the part, his choice is inspired, exciting and utterly brilliant.

As a boy, which is a long, long time ago now, I loved the film Local Hero (1982) which starred the much younger future Time Lord and it was over a decade later when he popped up on my radar again, as it were, with the lovely comedy Soft Top, Hard Shoulder (which he also wrote). Capaldi had always been an actor whose presence was welcome but it wasn't really until his rather sweary role in the BBC sitcom The Thick Of It that Capaldi really came back into my own film and telly loving conscience.

Of course, he topped that by a wonderfully touching role in The Fires of Pompeii (read my thoughts on it and him HERE) and the outstanding, not to mention criminally BAFTA neglected role, in Torchwood: Children of Earth that sealed his status as "total ledge" (I referred to his performance as "bottom~huggingly essential" in my review for the third episode). Two very different roles, and both testament to the man's likability (in the former) and more nastier side (the latter).

But now he's The Doctor. The Twelfth Doctor. And just how flippin' exicting is that?

The Silver Fox is sure to bring a massively different dynamic to the show which has had to "suffer" younger, pretty boys for eight years. Steven Moffat and his gang are to be congratulated in a very real and meaningful way for their bravery and foresight in Peter's casting, and very interesting to learn that he was their first choice. How very different things could have been had he been cast back in 2009.
  
Courtesy of Matthew Kilburn
But I'm sure we got the better deal. Four "years" with Matt and then an actor who was twice his age when Smith was cast and also now the same age as William Hartnell when he was cast. Brave stuff from the BBC and one hopes this "gamble" will pay off. I'm sure it will as there's just too much talent on display to go wrong.

Speaking of talent, Capaldi is not averse to writing and directing and Blogtor wonders if Petey C will get a chance to tell his own story or get behind the camera on another? Hhmm...?

So there we go, another fan as The Doctor (check out his fanzine piece from 1976 on the title sequence on the right for his credentials) with a fan in charge - the perfect combination. As a fan, I think we're incredibly lucky to get such another great actor in the role, and Capaldi has all the skills and ability to surpass his immediate predecessors such as Smith, Tennant and Eccleston. Frustratingly, though, it's another year before we really get to see this exciting duo in action - but I'm sure it'll be more than worth the wait. The Hartnell-esque fingering of his lapel and eccentric hand gestures on Sunday already suggest that Capaldi's Time Lord will light up Saturday nights like no other.

Also, he's Scottish. And Scottish people are the best... *


Many thanks to Matthew Kilburn for the scan from DWIFC Magazine, Issue 2, May 1976, published by the Doctor Who International Fan Club.

This opinion was brought to you by Cameron K. McEwan
 




* Aren't they?

16 comments:

liminalD said...

Nice. And that magazine scan is a hoot.

I was a little disappointed when they showed the brief shot of Mr Capaldi's hand as he waited offstage - in that moment I knew we weren't getting a non-white Doctor (Matt Smith had already crushed the hope of a female Doctor in his interview). And I knew that Peter Capaldi was a fantastic actor and that he was rumoured in advance to have got the role, and was pleased that if it had to be another white guy, it was him, but I confess to feeling disappointed all the same.

But then he stepped out onstage, and the crowd went wild, and he did that funny little thing with his fingers on his lapels, and his smile just completely won me over. Over the next five minutes of his interview I was just so impressed... he may not have been the Doctor I was hoping for but I know he'll be absolutely amazing, I already like him better than Tennant and Smith :)

And who knows? There's always next time...

markneilyoungfan said...

Agree 100 per cent.

Ozzy Baxter said...

Peter Capaldi will rock this show. I cannot WAIT!!

And I have to ask: Other than being able to check a PC-sensitivity box, what does a non-white, non-male Doctor automatically bring to the role, except for the marketing gimmick of saying "Hey look how progressive we are!!" All this talk about a female Doctor is, at once, fan-nonsense. Like Moff said, when the Queen is played by a man, then the Doctor can be a woman. And as far as the ethnicity of the actor, I can't see how that would be relevant to the role on any level whatsoever. So, unless the aim is to somehow "improve" the show with these changes, then they are changes for the sake of conformity and cultural homogenization, alone.

So, here's the 12th Doctor Peter Capaldi and to all the ones who come after him... :)

heatherfeather said...

The more I read about Mr. Capaldi, the more I love that he's just as big or more of a DW geek as DT but seems to counteract that with a charm and a low-key attitude.

He did charm me in that 5 min interview and I hope they let him use his own accent as it adds to the charm and isn't as thick as DT, IMHO. I don't know how he'll play the Doctor but I think it's a real coupe that he signed on.

William Hanifan said...

I have to 100% agree with the post Local Hero my favourite film the fact that he was a Pertwee fan (my Doctor his also I guess). I look forward to much of Pertwee to return as Troughton was drawn on inspiration for Smith and Davison to Tennant. I think he will be a dark Doctor with an element of John Hurt Many more classic monsters Axos the Master Draconians. I am very excited a fan but doubling excited to see some of my Doctor
Maybe Terrance Dicks can write an episode or Sgt Benton can come back as A Brigadier. The mind boggles

liminalD said...

Ozzy: I really don't want to go back into this because I've had this conversation roughly a hundred times since Matt Smith announced he was leaving. But I'll give it a quick go.

Re: The Queen being played by a man. NOT THE SAME THING AT ALL. The Queen is a real, historical person. The Doctor is imaginary. Unlike the Doctor, the Queen is not the savior of the universe. By repeatedly casting a white man in the role of the Doctor, the message that white men are the saviors and everyone else is there to be saved is reinforced. Doctor Who did not invent this silly idea, but it's a high-profile entertainment property that has reinforced that out-of-date offensive idea for 50 years. If the Doctor CAN be any colour, why is he always white? Whether you like it or not, the ethnic make-up of Britain and the Western World is changing, there are a lot more brown faces out there watching shows like Doctor Who, and they deserve to have the same chance of seeing someone they can relate to in a leading role on telly... making the Doctor Indian, or Black, or Chinese or anything other than white is not 'pandering', it's a statement of equality. Leading men and women of colour are few and far between on TV and in the movies, they are UNDER-represented, and with a show like Doctor Who in particular it starts to look really bad. If the Doctor CAN be any colour, but NEVER is, it starts to look like racism. As for what it could bring to the show, story-wise, racism is, unfortunately, still a very real issue in the world. Concievably, the Doctor as a non-white man (or woman) could experience that, which might educate potential and actual racists out there that It's Not Okay. The racism of other characters throughout history could be an obstacle to him (or her) saving the day - it makes his achievements greater is he's not just battling the alien of the week, but also human ignorance as people disbelieve him (or her) on the basis of something as stupid as what colour his (or her) skin is. Of course, it shouldn't even be necessary, but the fact is there's a lot of racism out there, and Doctor Who could be a powerful tool for challenging that, as one of the most popular programmes on telly.

The same sort of arguments apply to the Doctor as a woman - women are still ignored and treated as less than equal, and that's simply not acceptable. There is also an unfortunate gender dynamic in the MAN always saving the WOMAN, it sends little girls the message that they are supporting characters in life, that they should expect men to save them and that they can't look after themselves. A female Doctor would be a wonderful role model, and as females make up roughly 50% of the audience, they deserve an equal chance to be the hero.

Anonymous said...

This Liminal character is either a troll or way too politically correct. Maybe both. Reading his drivel gives me a headache.

liminalD said...

Way to go, brave Anonymous! I reject the term 'PC' but I'll happily admit I'm a pinko commie queer. As someone who IS a member of a minority, as a member of the LGBT community, I am expressing solidarity with other marginalized people. I happen to be a white male, and that gives me a degree of social privilege. I feel it's my responsibility to acknowledge that and try and be an ally to other marginal, LIMINAL people where I can. Look the word up if it worries you that you don't know it.

Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

As a 30-something Doctor Who NUT and Matt Smith fangirl/middle aged woman, I am left to wonder, who decided a 55 yr old man can't be sexy?

Everything I read about Capaldi screams "finally, a Doctor the companion won't fall for" and "we'd had enough of the young actors coming in and being physically attractive".

What is more attractive than a man who's old enough to know what he's doing, young enough to do it properly, confident enought NOT to reach for the haircolor and botox, will go to the ends of the Earth to keep you safe and oh, by the way, has a magic box that can take his date ANYWHERE/WHEN SHE'D LIKE?

Doctor Who may be the sexiest thing a man can take on as an actor and I can't wait to see what Moffatt does with him.

Niki said...

Being COMPANION doesnt make you a SUPPORTING ROLE all the time. How many times has Clara saved the Doctor? Amy saved the day quite a few times. River saved an entire planet her first time out. I think people confuse TITLE with IMPORTANCE. The women of DW are not lesser characters or less important than the Doctor himself and if you'd watch without the critical "equality" glasses on, you'll see more than you're currently ready to believe.

Paul Lane said...

Malcolm Tucker is the Master.

Ozzy Baxter said...

I just find it interesting that there is a contingent of fans who insist that women and minorities aren't equal until they are represented by a Corporate Icon. I'm pretty sure the Companions would disagree. And I personally find it's always the same argument repeated like a mantra. "As a minority or woman, you do not count until you are cast as the LEAD in the show! Sorry Noel Clarke! Sorry Freema! You simply aren't good enough!" LOL! Nonsense.

{{"Whether you like it or not"}}

Whether I like it or not is irrelevant to the reason you insist it must happen.

{{"the ethnic make-up of Britain and the Western World is changing, there are a lot more brown faces out there watching shows like Doctor Who, and they deserve to have the same chance of seeing someone they can relate to in a leading role on telly... making the Doctor Indian, or Black, or Chinese or anything other than white is not 'pandering', it's a statement of equality."}}

And yeah, why not right? I mean, they don't deserve to make their own heroes or create their own idols from their own culture we can all appreciate as equal to The Doctor. No, it's "not good enough" until they replace The Doctor. THEN they count, right? LOL! Again, nonsense.

This mentality is, to me, the most pervasive and problematic reason why it shouldn't happen. Women and non-whites are just as equal as men and the anglo-saxon culture. So, by insisting they must be spotlighted as something special is the definition of segregation. Equality is equality, and no one stands above or below it. Fact.

But, you're welcome to keep crusading, and the world is welcome to keep ignoring this type of sexism from you.

Now, you all want to see a trans-racial regeneration? River Song beat you to it. You all want to see a transgender regeneration? Sounds good. Let's make River a man. :) I mean, that IS the point, right? As long as we see a transgender regeneration, that's your point right? It can't be just "a man has to turn into a woman". That would be oddly sexist, strangely specific, and not anywhere NEAR "equal". So, make sure you're not just saying "Women count more!" Because that doesn't help your point at all... :)

liminalD said...

God, where do I even start with this.
>Ozzy Baxter said...
I just find it interesting that there is a contingent of fans who insist that women and minorities aren't equal until they are represented by a Corporate Icon.
I'm pretty sure the Companions would disagree. And I personally find it's always the same argument repeated like a mantra. "As a minority or woman, you do not count until you are cast as the LEAD in the show! Sorry Noel Clarke! Sorry Freema! You simply aren't good enough!" LOL! Nonsense.

>>Way to misrepresent what I said. I believe women and ethnic/racial/sexual/religious minorities ARE equal in innate worth and DESERVING of equal treatment and status, but that is not the same as saying they HAVE equal treatment and status... society still has a long way to go on that front. The fact is, companions AREN’T equal to the Doctor, there’s a definite power imbalance there, he’s a practically immortal figure with vast knowledge and experience, who runs around saving everyone all the time, telling them what’s right and wrong - he’s the central figure in DW, the most important, powerful person in the universe. He’s been there since the start of the show, the show is freakin’ NAMED after him. And he’s a white man. By asserting that non-white and/or female actors are ineligible for this status you are relegating them to a LESSER position (one that is paid less, incidentally). This is not an argument about whether they’re given equal treatment relative to other COMPANIONS - certainly Mickey and Martha are just as important as Rory, Amy, Donna and the rest, they’re treated as equal, which is great (except that non-white actors are vastly underrepresented on the show - one Asian companion and two Black companions in 50 years, sounds REALLY equal. Better since 2005, but still not as inclusive as it could be). No, this is about marking off the lead role in one of the world’s most popular TV shows as something female and non-white actors cannot aspire to... THAT’S the very definition of inequality.

(TBC...)

liminalD said...

(continued...)

>{{"Whether you like it or not"}}
Whether I like it or not is irrelevant to the reason you insist it must happen.
{{"the ethnic make-up of Britain and the Western World is changing, there are a lot more brown faces out there watching shows like Doctor Who, and they deserve to have the same chance of seeing someone they can relate to in a leading role on telly... making the Doctor Indian, or Black, or Chinese or anything other than white is not 'pandering', it's a statement of equality."}}
>And yeah, why not right? I mean, they don't deserve to make their own heroes or create their own idols from their own culture we can all appreciate as equal to The Doctor. No, it's "not good enough" until they replace The Doctor. THEN they count, right? LOL! Again, nonsense.

>>Ugh. Do you live on Mars by any chance? Maybe you haven’t noticed that the people in charge of television, radio, magazines, newspapers, films etc are overwhelmingly white men, who employ other white men to produce content about white men? I’m all in favour of women and minorities creating their own heroes and icons, I totally support that, but the problem is getting those characters and narratives out there to be seen. How many women have been given a chance to write for Doctor Who lately? There are plenty of female sci-fi and fantasy writers out there, but they just don’t get given a chance, because the white men in charge just employ other white men as writers. It’s far more difficult for women and minorities to break into these industries. Are you suggesting they should have to build their own TV studios and so on as well?

(TBC...)

liminalD said...

(continued...)

>This mentality is, to me, the most pervasive and problematic reason why it shouldn't happen. Women and non-whites are just as equal as men and the anglo-saxon culture. So, by insisting they must be spotlighted as something special is the definition of segregation. Equality is equality, and no one stands above or below it. Fact.

>>We’re not trying to get SPECIAL treatment for women and minorities, we’re trying to get EQUAL treatment, the SAME opportunities. You’re the one advocating segregation here. Women and people of racial/ethnic/sexual and religious minorities are still discriminated against daily, in every area of public life. Go educate yourself.

>But, you're welcome to keep crusading, and the world is welcome to keep ignoring this type of sexism from you.

>>So, supporting women getting the opportunity to have the same representation in entertainment as men, with the same remuneration, is sexist?

>Now, you all want to see a trans-racial regeneration? River Song beat you to it.

>>Yeah, she was Black for all of ten minutes, and was a bad girl. Then she becomes White woman, and starts down the road to becoming good and super-powerful and worthy of the Doctor’s love. That’s not racist AT ALL.

>You all want to see a transgender regeneration? Sounds good. Let's make River a man. :) I mean, that IS the point, right? As long as we see a transgender regeneration, that's your point right? It can't be just "a man has to turn into a woman". That would be oddly sexist, strangely specific, and not anywhere NEAR "equal". So, make sure you're not just saying "Women count more!" Because that doesn't help your point at all... :)

>>This has nothing to do with male-to-female transgenderism. The Doctor becoming a woman would in no way be representative of the experience of a trans-woman, unless you’re suggesting the Doctor has always felt distress because he was born into a wrongly-sexed body. Sure, some trans-women might appreciate having a character on TV who is at least superficially and briefly going through a similar experience, but nobody is seriously suggesting the Doctor becoming a woman is analogous to what trans-women go through. His period of adjustment would be very brief, and wouldn't come with any of the social, psychological and financial costs of actual transition and sex-reassignment.

Have a lovely day.

Ozzy Baxter said...

So, what you're saying is, the show has dealt with the issues you want, but not in the way you want it? Sounds quite entitled to me.

Meanwhile, Doctor Who doesn't "owe" anyone anything. It's not "required" to be a barometer of social change. The character isn't required to ideally represent every single man, woman, and child watching. It's a TV show. Nothing more. The only goal DW ever has, or SHOULD ever have, is to entertain. If you're not entertained, you're watching the wrong show.

Thus, my point stands. It's sexist and slightly prejudice to demand a change-for-change-sake, in an effort to pat yourself on the back over personally perceived moral superiority. The Doctor is a man. Fact. What ethnicity represents him on screen is up for grabs. But, there's never been a doubt in 50 years of the show that the Doctor is a man. That's a fact of the show that I doubt will ever change, no matter how badly the overly-entitled zeitgeist vocal minority screams. If you don't like it, I suggest watching or making a different show that will appeal to your checklist of demands.

No one requires Tonto to be anglo-saxon, Mary Poppins to be male, or Bugs Bunny to be anything but a rabbit.

The Doctor is a man. Fact. I'm sorry that's troubling for you, but I imagine the problem lies deeper than this television show.

Take care. :)