It’s hard to believe that it has been only a short while since the twelfth doctor was announced, and even though we have yet to see him on screen, Peter Capaldi feels like ‘The Current Doctor’ now, with Matt Smith biding his time until the change – how nice it would be if the casting could be a secret until the regeneration.
What did I want from the twelfth doctor? I wanted an older doctor – with Tennant/Smith the pendulum had swung too far in the ‘young’ direction. Yes, Smith was great at playing the "old man in a young man’s body", but that wasn’t a game to keep playing. I also wanted there to be a step away from the ‘romance in a box’ that the new series keeps reverting to – and I’m pleased to see that with Capaldi.
I’m not going to get into the arguments of ‘should the Doctor be female/black/ginger…?’ As regards the twelfth, the die is cast. What do I want to see with the twelfth incarnation?
First and foremost, I want a solid, full season of ‘Who’, I want Capaldi to have time to ‘bed in’. Then I want another series after that, and after that… and so on. These split seasons are just ghastly for, what is by any stretch, the flagship production of the BBC and the show with the greatest international recognition. I want Capaldi to have a decent run, with the split seasons it does feel like Smith has only just arrived and is leaving about a season too early. I want a generation to be able to look to Capaldi and say ‘he was my Doctor’.
I want Capaldi to meet River, just the once, I want to see that dynamic (though I still don’t understand how eleven suddenly went from gallavanting with River to mourning her loss, with no obvious on screen event to mark the divide).
I want to see any Moffat loose ends tidied up, and I’d like to see an acknowledgement that the production team are thinking ahead to, what under classic lore, is the doctors final regeneration (or death, if John Hurt counts as a regeneration) – after all, there can only be thirteen Doctors. I can think of several ways to address this, either with a throwaway line (‘Now the time lords are gone, I don’t think there is a limit…’) or something large (Resurrecting Gallifrey, somehow resetting the clock). I’d hate to see them just ignore the issue, or leave it so late that the hand was forced.
I hate to say it, but I think it could well be time for a new show-runner. We owe a lot to Moffat, not least is that under his tenure the show has really grown on the international market (a road started upon by RTD). The first and second seasons of Matt Smith’s doctor was fantastic (though the crack thing was a bit odd). The ‘split season 7’, though it had great bits within it, fell a bit flat. With Capaldi bedded into the role, I want to see a show-runner who can devote himself to the job, it seems that Moffat’s time is divided between several roles (not least of which is ‘Sherlock’).
Mostly, I want Capaldi to be one of the great doctors, to be the modern day Tom Baker.