Sunday, August 4, 2013

The New Who is Who?

With much as much fanfare as possible without sounding like the Queen herself was making an appearance, the producers of Doctor Who today announced that next person to play the Doctor will be......

this guy!

*I'm also thinking of going with "Colonel Sander's evil twin".

OK, let's go with this photo:

Bid welcome to Peter Capaldi, your next Doctor!

Now this is the biggest surprise announcement since I found out Benedict Cumberbatch was playing Kahn in the new Star Trek movie.

In other words, not a surprise.

For several days now, Peter Capaldi's name has appeared at the top of a lot of suspect lists for the next actor to play the Doctor.  Bookies taking bets on the next Doctor shut down betting when the odds on Capaldi were 5 out of 6.

Sure, other names were out there. The one that intrigued me most was Daniel Rigby. His resume in television and film suggested a varied enough background to make him a excellent addition to Doctor Who

One thing working against Rigby was that Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool was really, really sure it was going to be Daniel Rigby. Last time, Johnston was really, really sure it was going to be Paterson Joseph who would be the 11th Doctor. Still, Johnston had a lot of circumstantial evidence that would make Rigby a strong possibility of being one at the top of the list.

(Johnston is also insisting that Capaldi is going to be the 13th Doctor, not the 12th Doctor, owing to whatever shenanigans are being plotted regarding John Hurt in the 50th anniversary special. Let me call 'bull' on that one. My opinion is that whatever is going to be done with John Hurt's "Doctor", the old order of the numbering shall remaineth.)

But no, the man who will play the new Doctor in 2014 turns out to be...the man we were expecting, at least according to various polls and betting pools.

From what I can tell, so far the announcement has been regarded favorably. Capaldi is well enough known from his various roles in comedy and drama and is well regarded in the United Kingdom.

There is one thing that may weird out the newer Whovians who've come aboard with the relaunched series:

Peter Capaldi is OLD!

OK, not ancient old. But here are a couple of odd bits of trivia to consider.

Peter Capaldi is only the 3rd actor in his 50's to be cast as the Doctor. The other two? William Hartnell & Jon Pertwee. In fact, Pertwee was 50 years old when his first episode aired in January 1970; Hartnell was 55 when his first episode aired in November 1963. Peter Capaldi is 55 right now; by the time his first episodes air in 2014, he will be 56. This would make him the oldest actor to play the Doctor on Doctor Who.*

*No, I'm NOT counting John Hurt.

Capaldi is the 5th actor cast as the Doctor to be older than his predecessor's age at the time of their casting.
  • Jon Pertwee in 1970 was older than Patrick Troughton was in 1966.
  • Colin Baker in 1984 was older than Peter Davison was in 1981.
  • Sylvester McCoy in 1987 was older than Colin Baker in 1984.
  • Chris Eccleston in 2005 was older than Paul McGann in 1996.
So the odds are fairly even between a new Doctor being played by a younger actor or by an older actor. Since Hartnell, 11 new Doctors have been cast; six were younger and five were older. Of course, that balance will tilt a bit with the casting of the 13th Doctor as I imagine the odds of that person being older than Capaldi would be slim.

Now all this poking around with numbers regarding Capaldi's age means...what, exactly? Well, nothing really, not to me anyway. I discovered Doctor Who with Tom Baker (age 40 when cast as the Doctor) and the first Doctor Who episodes I saw with someone other than Tom Baker featured Jon Pertwee (age 50 when he began the role). So the idea of the Doctor being played by a more mature actor was the norm for me.

As for the new era, the first time I saw David Tennant (age 34 when he took up the part), I thought HE was too young to play the Doctor. Imagine my reaction when babyfaced Matt Smith (age 27 when he started) was cast as the Doctor. But I found myself captivated by both their interpretations of the Doctor. Matt Smith, as the youngest of the lot, had an extraordinarily strong manner in which he would convey the weight of the Doctor's thousand plus years upon his shoulders. The old man in the young man's body.

So now we'll get the old man in a...not quite as young body.
It's always an adjustment to a new face saying the words, "Hello, I'm the Doctor." But for those who have joined the Whovian ranks with the relaunch of the show, who may have enjoyed the program because they thought the Doctor was "hot" (and I'm talking about my daughter here), this will definitely take some getting used to.

Me? As a man much closer to Peter Capaldi's generation than I was to Matt Smith's, I wish him well. Based on his past work, Capaldi brings a variety and depth of acting experience that I think will serve the character and the show very well.

But Mr. Capaldi, if my teenage daughter decides that you too are "hot" as the Doctor, please forgive this dad if I think that's a bit creepy.

I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

MUSICALS AWAY! Mamma Mia! AND Moulin Rouge!

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