As a boy, my first ever Doctor Who was John Pertwee, the third Doctor, after William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton. He wasn’t on my TV set for too long before he regenerated as Tom Baker and he, as far as I am concerned, is the quintessential Doctor Who of my generation (X).
Then we had Peter Davidson, husband of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s Trillion (Sandra Dickinson), followed swiftly by Colin Baker and Silvester McCoy, by which time, as a late teen, I’d already started to lose interest in the show. The BBC did enlist the charms of Nichola Bryant to lure me back to the screen, but I was more preoccupied with real world girls by then.
And so, after more than 25 years in our mainstream conscience, Doctor Who slipped away…
Until that much anticipated but quickly forgotten 1996 Paul McGann film – it didn’t do it for me. And, after another hiatus, neither did Christopher Ecclestone. Nor even the ladies’ favourite, David Tennant. And as for Matt Smith, a very young Doctor? Oh no!
But then, in 2013, the sweary Scot, Peter Capaldi, was announced as our new timelord. By the autumn of 2014 he was ready to grace our Saturday evening viewing. I was interested. Why? Well, for me, I think it’s an age thing – The twelfth Doctor had some years about him, some wisdom, some of that maturity that, relative to the viewpoint of very young boy, I saw in Pertwee and Baker. I also think that the scifi convention I attended in Portsmouth in the summer sparked a renewed interest. It was great to take photos of my family in front of the TARDIS or to see us all trembling in the presence of the Project Ironside WWII Dalek.
For the first time in a great many years, I was hooked on Doctor Who again. I watched every single episode of the new series 8 and, whilst not being totally sold on all the stories, it was compelling viewing. I completed the series and was left thinking that this had been a most fulfilling use of all my family’s Saturday nights.
However, my youngest daughter was left wanting more, and we started watching all the old DVDs from back in the 1970s and 1980s. We then progressed to see all the shows from 2005 to 2009 and I realised that I must have seen more of these episodes than I care to remember.
All the “new Doctors” have been good, each in their own quirky ways. That is what makes Doctor Who such a brilliant character – he’s always different yet always the same, an enigma, a constant variable, the true essence of life itself and everything that mirrors it. Peter Capaldi is no exception. The man has had big boots to fill, so he will always have his detractors, as has every Doctor Who since time (and relative dimensions) began.
Here, the twelfth Doctor, has a loyal supporter and I hope he has at least two more series in which to develop his character further. There is intelligence, wisdom, dark wit and unexpected zaniness in Mr Capaldi’s portrayal, and I look forward to seeing BBC Wales come up with some spectacular and challenging new ideas, set and story lines.
So, who’s your favourite Doctor and why? What did you think of Peter Capaldi? Let me know in the comments below.