Peter Capaldi recently confirmed to RadioTimes.com that the BBC had asked him to continue on as the current incarnation of long-running fantasy/sci-fi institution Doctor Who.
Much speculation has been given to the prospect that the 57 year-old actor would take his leave of the role when current showrunner Steven Moffat hangs up his writing pen after the 2017 series. Moffat hired Capaldi to replace Matt Smith in 2013, and the thought was that after 3 full seasons, Capaldi would exit with Moffat – giving incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall the chance to start with a clean slate in much the same manner Moffat did when he took over from Russel T Davies in 2005.
“I’ve been asked to stay on” said Capaldi, “but it’s such a long time before I have to make that decision.”
In December, Capaldi spoke to UK newspaper The Telegraph and stated:
“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.”
With an extra-long break between series 9 and 10, Capaldi is free to engage in other projects, or perhaps, simply recuperate from ‘Doctor Who’s grueling schedule. The typical run for an actor in the role of Doctor Who is about 3 seasons, so Capaldi would certainly be in the norm should he decide to bow out after the 2017 series.
His comments to RadioTimes.com continue in a slightly ambiguous vein: “I don’t know where the show’s gonna go then. I don’t know. I have to make up my mind, and I haven’t yet.”
Mind you, back in the day, it was completely normal for show runners to come and go and have the current star carry through multiple regime changes. It would be nice to see the ‘New Who’ have a similar streak for once. I’m sure Chibnall has his own ideas about what to do with ‘Who’, but I can’t imagine wanting to get rid of Capaldi just for the sake of change by rote. He’s simply too good an actor.
Personally, I’d be thrilled to have Capaldi continue on in the role for at least another 2 seasons. Not only has he been perfect in the part onscreen, he’s been an exemplary offscreen advocate for the show – as when he sent this video to a young autistic fan who was having a rough time after the death of their caretaker.
It’s remarkable, as Capaldi clearly isn’t reading a script or being coached. He doesn’t try to be cool or clever, he’s just being genuine.
But then, Capaldi’s been a fan of the show since he was a kid himself. There’s an amazing/mortifying moment on Graham Norton’s show from 2014 which shows him reacting to a fan letter he sent to the ‘Doctor Who Fan Club’ in 1972…
Sorry. Have I mentioned how bloody wonderful Peter Capaldi is?
In the meantime, we definitely have at least one more series with the 12th Doctor. In Moffat’s final run we will see a new companion enter the TARDIS. There are mutterings that Rhakee Thakrar is a strong contender for the as-yet unnamed role. Thakrar is known in the UK for playing the role of Shabnam Masood on the venerable night-time soap opera EastEnders. If cast, Thakrar would be a welcome change up from the standard 20-something ingenue typically associated with ‘Who’ companions. At 32, she’s hardly “ancient”, but it would be refreshing to see someone on the TARDIS with a bit more life experience under their belt.
In fact, Capaldi himself has been making a case for more variety in the world of Doctor Who. In an interview with Radio Times shortly after Jenna Coleman’s departure was announced he said, “I’ve always loved what Russell did with Billie Piper,” (who played the first ‘New Who’ companion, Rose Tyler) “because you hadn’t really had in Doctor Who a very clear, working-class voice. And I liked how Billie was very clearly someone who lived on an estate, and was a normal person.”
And further to that, Capaldi also recently stated “I think it’s a good idea that the programme should reflect Britain. It’d be good if the show was more… that we saw more of how Britain is now in the show.”
All in all, I’m just happy to hear that the BBC have given Capaldi a public vote of confidence. He had the unenviable task of following two of the most charismatic and – let’s be honest – “dishy” actors ever seen in the role. With his scowling demeanor and “attack eyebrows”, Capaldi must have been unnerving to fans who were introduced to Doctor Who via the charms of Matt Smith and David Tennant.
And I’m happy to hear he’s at least thinking about staying on for another season after Moffat’s gone. Whether he decides to commit…? Well, Time will tell. It always does.