The 12th Doctor Revealed!

So there we have it; the 12th Doctor is Peter Capaldi!

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Capaldi in (I believe) his first and only promo shot as the 12th Doctor

Best known for his role as foul-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in ‘The Thick of It’, Capaldi has had a successful and varied career over the last 30 years.

As of this minute, its not completely clear when we are going to see the 12th Doctor in full form, most sources say the regeneration will happen in the christmas special, however a few doubt this and feel he will appear in the 50th Anniversary Special on November 23rd. All I can say is as much as I have enjoyed Matt Smith’s incarnation, I am very interested in seeing where the show takes this new incarnation. At 55 years old he is only a few months younger than William Hartnell was when he took the role as the 1st Doctor making him the second oldest actor to portray The Doctor (or he is at the moment anyway – we’ll have to see where John Hurt comes into that equation later).

I think that one of the great things about this choice for the 12th Doctor is his clear love of the show. I mean, just watch the clip – how can anyone not see that this guy is a true fan of the show!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Zim8zL3Q5k

Capaldi

Doctor Who is now such a large earner for the BBC that they even felt to announce Capaldi as the 12th Doctor with a special 30 minute long episode on prime-time Sunday TV (despite him being the bookies favourite for some time). The show featured testimony from characters old and new as well as fans of the show (And I couldn’t help but feel very sorry for Rufus Hound mucking up pretty much every time he spoke – in front of an audience, camera’s and Bernard Cribbins!). However, while Capaldi’s introduction in the special BBC program answered who was portraying the 12 Doctor, it revealed nothing as to what his personality or mannerisms may be. Will he speak with his Scottish accent (unlike David Tennant)? Will the TARDIS change? Will it be a return to the bad-tempered nature of the 1st Doctor? (The picture below certainly seems to suggest so!).

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I know that there has been a fallout to the choice though. As when Matt Smith was chosen, there have been their naysayers. For instance, I read an article the other day of the opinion that an actor aged 55 is too old for the role. I say poppycock – if anything, it could add a whole new perspective to the show allowing the writers to create a character unlike what we have seen since the 2005 revival. There are also mutterings about the fact Capaldi has been in the ‘Whoniverse’ before (he portrayed Lucius Caecilius Iucundus in “The Fires of Pompeii” and John Frobisher in Torchwood’s Children of Earth story line) must not have seen Arc of Infinity (featuring Colin Baker prior to becoming the 6th Doctor) or Doomsday (with Freema Agyeman before she was cast as Martha Jones); all of these roles were explained away and ignored – because they matter very little in the grand scheme of things!Another complaint has been made from those, generally of a younger generation (which I’m slightly ashamed to say I belong to, but disagree with inherently), is that he doesn’t look ‘right’ (meaning too old) and they will stop watching the show because he doesn’t have the ‘physical appeal’ of either Tennant or Smith. Personally, I say good-riddance to these people!

Overall, I am more than happy with this choice. Of course, thats with very very little to go on – no clips, no personality, no anything. We know absolutely nothing about what Capaldi is going to do with the character, although if his love of the show is anything to go by, I daresay its going to be good.

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News Flash: Matt Smith is leaving Doctor Who!

So there we have it. It’s official: Matt Smith is to leave Doctor Who.

The BBC announced the other day that Matt Smith is to leave Doctor Who after four years. Matt first stepped into the TARDIS in 2010 and will leave the role at the end of this year after starring in the 50th Anniversary in November. As well as enabling the show to hit new heights and become a world-wide phenomenon, he is also the first actor to be nominated for a BAFTA in the role. The Eleventh Doctor’s final episode will be this December’s Christmas Special, during which his character will regenerate into the actor’s as-yet-unnamed successor.

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Smith, in the role as The Doctor, as he appeared in Series 5 and 6

Steven Moffat, current showrunner for the show, and Smith himself have profusely denied any rumour that Smith would be leaving in the foreseeable future since rumours started. Now the news is finally out, here’s what Smith had to say on his departure:

“Doctor Who has been the most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke, and that largely is down to the cast, crew and fans of the show.  I’m incredibly grateful to all the cast and crew who work tirelessly every day, to realise all the elements of the show and deliver Doctor Who to the audience.  Many of them have become good friends and I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the last four years.

Having Steven Moffat as show runner write such varied, funny, mind bending and brilliant scripts has been one of the greatest and most rewarding challenges of my career.  It’s been a privilege and a treat to work with Steven, he’s a good friend and will continue to shape a brilliant world for the Doctor.

The fans of Doctor Who around the world are unlike any other; they dress up, shout louder, know more about the history of the show (and speculate more about the future of the show) in a way that I’ve never seen before, your dedication is truly remarkable.  Thank you so very much for supporting my incarnation of  the Time Lord, number Eleven, who I might add is not done yet, I’m back for the 50th anniversary and the Christmas special!

It’s been an honour to play this part, to follow the legacy of brilliant actors, and helm the TARDIS for a spell with ‘the ginger, the nose and the impossible one’. But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go and Trenzalore calls. Thank you guys.  Matt.”

Matt Smith has proved himself to be an extremely talented and varied actor over the last four years; an actor who achieved what looked like the impossible by following David Tennant’s well-loved incarnation. However with the new generations of fans who have been introduced to the show, Smith with be firmly lodged in their minds as ‘Their Doctor’.

Steven Moffat accompanied Smith’s farewell words with the following:

“Every day, on every episode, in every set of rushes, Matt Smith surprised me: the way he’d turn a line, or spin on his heels, or make something funny, or out of nowhere make me cry, I just never knew what was coming next. The Doctor can be clown and hero, often at the same time, and Matt rose to both challenges magnificently. And even better than that, given the pressures of this extraordinary show, he is one of the nicest and hardest-working people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Whatever we threw at him – sometimes literally – his behaviour was always worthy of the Doctor.

But great actors always know when it’s time for the curtain call, so this Christmas prepare for your hearts to break, as we say goodbye to number Eleven. Thank you Matt – bow ties were never cooler.

Of course, this isn’t the end of the story, because now the search begins. Somewhere out there right now – all unknowing, just going about their business – is someone who’s about to become the Doctor. A life is going to change, and Doctor Who will be born all over again! After 50 years, that’s still so exciting!”

Matt has starred alongside three different companions: Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) (who both left the TARDIS half way through Series 7) and most recently Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman). His tenure has also as developed the backstory of River Song than we could have expected while he fought Daleks and Cybermen, Silurian’s and The Dream Lord, as well as Weeping Angels in New York. Regularly heard shouting ‘run’ and ‘Geronimo’, Matt’s Doctor has introduced us to a new culinary combination – fish fingers and custard!

Matt’s spectacular exit is yet to be revealed and will be kept tightly under wraps. He will return to BBC One screens in the unmissable 50th anniversary episode on Saturday 23rd November 2013 which I personally can’t wait to see.

We will miss the madman in a box, but as the saying goes, the show must go on!

Should the Doctor’s Name Be Revealed?

Will Moffat really divulge the Doctor’s name and should he?
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With the title of the Series 7 finale being entitled ‘The Name of the Doctor’, everyone is either on one of two sides:
1) Fantastic! We’ve been waiting 50 years to find out what his name is!
or
2) NO! It will ruin the show!

I, for one, am on the second side of this argument. I don’t feel that “The Name of the Doctor” should be revealed.

Since its start in 1963, the Doctor’s identity has been a secret from everyone. Including the viewer. One of the first lines in the show was even a question about his identity. However, he’s kept it a mystery to everyone, and for good reason.

“But how would that ruin the show?” You may well ask.
Because, it will destroy the air of mystery surrounding the show!

Why do most people travel with the Doctor? Because they know almost nothing about him. I mean, the Doctor already tells his companions almost everything about himself right from the start too. “Here’s my TARDIS. I travel in time and space. I’m an alien and I’m 1000 years old.” But his name is what keeps them wondering who the mysterious wanderer really is, and what his past has involved. What drives a person to talking the title of ‘Healer’ with such distinction?

Do I think ‘the Moff’ will divulge the Doctor’s true identity? No, of course not. Knowing him, since it’s the episode title, he’ll do anything BUT give us his real name.

Sadly, I’m not writing the show (I’d be making more money writing episodes than writing these), and it’s not up to me over what is or isn’t revealed. I know Moffat will try to do his best to keep up the mystery; he is a classic fan at heart after all. Although recent times may have shaken my trust in his leadership and storytelling, I trust in Moffat’s undying love for Doctor Who.

Post Script:
I just noticed that Alex Kingston is labeled as one of the main actors in the episode. Now, I’m not a fan of River Song so again this worries me. The romance that has developed between River and 11 is not Doctor Who in my opinion. It’s utter claptrap.

Doctor Who S7 EP7 – The Bells of Saint John Review

Doctor Who – Series 7 – Episode 7
The Bells of Saint John Review – Beware Spoilers!

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Writer: Stephen Moffat
Director: Colm McCarthy

“I’m ever so fond of Alexi, but my conscious tells me we should kill him”
“I’ll inform HR”
“Actually, he’s about to go on holiday. Do it when he gets back. Let’s not be unreasonable.”

And so the Clara plot thickens! At least we get to see her actually starting to travel with the Doctor rather than dying at the end of the episode (although there were a couple of close saves).

The Story
I thought the story was a reasonable idea. The linking of the story to the modern day, with fears over the extent of technology, was an inspired choice. But this episode was written by Stephen Moffat – his episodes should be brilliant ideas. I know I’m not alone in thinking that some of Mr Moffat’s more recent stories have been average at best, particularly last series. However, I don’t think this episode being average was a fault of Moffat – most opening episodes suffer in the same fashion; establishing Clara is more important than establishing an amazing story. Although, the addition of the Great Intelligence, a throwback to the Classic Era is one of the reasons I like Moffat’s leadership. The fact it is regarded as the ‘client’, but ended up controlling Miss Kizlet – I can’t wait to see where they take the GI next.

The Acting
Matt Smith was on top form as usual here – it’s almost as if he’s been doing this for years! The youthful joy which Matt exuberates really does add another dimension to the show. Jenna Louise-Coleman fits perfectly into her role, although I wouldn’t say it was exactly a new role for her by now! I enjoyed her throughout the episode, but I thought her ability to really grow was limited by the fact we had to have yet another episode where her character had to be established. I think the relationship which is developing between The Doctor and Clara is looking good, it’s a little early to call yet though, so I’m not sure on where they are going to go. Personally, there were moments when it was a tad to flirty for me – okay, it’s kind of funny to see Eleven react to people flirting with him, but I think its tired and Doctor Who should lose the Doctor/Companion romance element which has developed post-2005. The only other main acting to discuss is that of Celia Imrie aka Miss Kizlet. I thought she did a brilliant job when it came to pretending to be a child, also her casual indifference to her employees and nonchalant attitude to “hacking” people also came across as a really promising enemy – but I think she was underused in the episode, again, so Clara could be established as a character.

The Enemy
The Spoonheads/Servers didn’t do anything for me to be honest. I found them too similar to the nodes from the series 4 episodes Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead. Overall they didn’t get much screen time, we didn’t find anything out about them and they just seem rather dull. The Great Intelligence on the other hand made a nice cameo appearance – can’t wait to see where it goes from here, they are clearly building up to something, presumably that we are going to have to wait until the finale to find out what it is. I just hope they keep using Richard E. Grant – he was criminally underused in the Christmas Special.

The Ending
It was pretty typical of opening episodes really. Exited companions, Exuberant Doctor, vanquished enemies. It’s all pretty substandard really. I don’t know about you, but I saw the spoonheads being involved. Must say though, the scene with Miss Kizlet when the influence of the Intelligence was gone was really strong – I think it was a snippet of the level of control we have yet to see. Also, something I’ve been wondering about is the recurrence of UNIT since this series began. A sign of things to come perhaps?

Conclusion
Well. It was a nice enough story, but I wouldn’t say it was a brilliant episode. I enjoyed it throughout, but I couldn’t help feel it was a little generic. Then again, it has been for a while with a change in companions. I hope one day we might get an alien companion, or one from the future. Overall, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t particularly memorable either. The first mention of the ‘Snog box’ was funny, but when it came to the second and the “romantic tension” between Clara and the Doctor it irritated me. It’s like River Song Jr.

“Why are we travelling by motorbike?”
“Because I don’t take the TARDIS into battle”
“Why? Because it’s made of wood?”

Episode rating:
Acting: 8/10
Enemy: 5/10 (And its only that high because the Great Intelligence made an appearance)
Storyline: 7/10
Ending: 8/10

Average: 7/10

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Post Script:
Full ratings data for the week ending 31st March 2013 is now available and puts Doctor Who: The Bells of Saint John as the eighth most watched programme in the UK for the week. The episode achieved 8.44 million viewers had 35.8% share of the available Television audience.
On Saturday 30th March, Doctor Who was the highest rated programme getting 120,000 more viewers than Ant and Dec’s Saturday Takeaway, even though the ITV programme had a later start time.

On iPlayer The Bells of Saint John has so far been accessed over 1.4 million times.