The ultimate winner, in anything where they’ve managed to hype something like this up so much, is the BBC.
When I was growing up, the announcement of the next actor to play Doctor Who might have received a passing mention on Blue Peter along with a little bit about how they did the regeneration sequence F/X. That’s certainly what I remember from the Tom Baker -> Peter Davidson regeneration, anyway. Today, though, with social media pretty much ruling the world, just about anything and everything that could be the subject of the tiniest speculation is put under the microscope and analysed in minute detail.
From the moment Matt Smith was unveiled as The Doctor, the rumour mill has been churning over who will be the next Doctor. It’s almost inevitable in a show like Doctor Who. It kicked into overdrive earlier this year when Matt Smith announced he was to leave at Christmas.
So anyway. Peter Capaldi. The Angel Islington. Malcolm Tucker. 1 part in Dr Who, 1 part in Torchwood. And a massive Dr Who fan, to boot.
Am I disappointed in the result? No. By the end of the first episode he’ll have me convinced that he’s the Doctor and how could they possibly have anyone else in this story. It’ll change the tone of the show, the stories will have a different beat, but then that’s happened every time a new actor has taken on the role. The Tom Baker stories had a very different feel to the Jon Pertwee ones, Sylvester McCoy’s tales felt different to Colin Baker’s and so on. We can’t really compare against Paul McGann as he only got 1 shot on TV. And it gives Idris Elba a few years to clear his diary ready to take over. Or Sue Perkins. Or Richard Coyle.
What would be interesting in this 50th anniversary year – for a certain definition of “interesting” – would be to have one story, 1 adventure, shown as encountered by all 12 Doctors and their companions. Take, say, “Dalek” from the 9th Doctor. If you ran that story with Patrick Troughton as the Doctor the story would be broadly the same but would have a completely different feel. Run it with Sylvester McCoy and Ace would’ve taken the Dalek down before it had a chance to do anything. And she would’ve identified the hairdryer before the Doctor. With the Doctor Who RPG on the shelf, that’s quite a tempting idea…
But we’ve got a new Doctor to look forward to and, as with everyone who has gone before, how could it possibly have been anyone else?