Tag Archives: Television

The Twelfth Doctor – Peter Capaldi

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.

River Song

It had been previously assumed that River’s story was the inverse of the Doctor’s. It now seems we have a different shape – that of the umbrella. Imagine an old style umbrella in a stand. The tip of the umbrella is silence in the library and as we move up we have the likes of Flesh and Stone.

Move further up and the ‘tip’ of the umbrella comes alongside. This is ‘Demons Run’. We see the start of Melody Pond along with an older River.

The Timeline of River Song
This graphic tries to show the Timeline of Melody Pond/River Song

Move further up along the handle of the umbrella and we have ‘Let’s kill Hitler’.

This opens the intriguing possibility that we don’t know if we’re on the shaft of the brolly, or the handle on a given occasion in a future episode when River appears. Will we see the newly born River, who only knows Mel and ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’? — who has been researching the doctor in Luna U – and who possibly is still shaking off her programming …. or will it be the older, more experienced, River – who has yet to visit the Doctor at the end of Demon’s Run?

Could we see both at once?

What will happen as we reach the ‘inversion point’ at the top of the umbrella?

Caveat: This picture is somewhat simplified as we know that the doctor revisits ‘The Impossible Astronaut’.

Let’s Kill Hitler

In short, I really enjoyed that episode of Doctor Who. I was concerned that an adventure would be had with Hitler, but he was an incidental character, treated with contempt by all of the cast – and was swiftly dispatched from the script, having been [spoiler]locked in a cupboard[/spoiler]. [spoiler]River’s[/spoiler] line about going [spoiler]to the gay, gypsy Bar Mitzvah for the disabled[/spoiler] was great – wonderfully taunting of the Nazis in front of [spoiler]her as well as emphasising that all of the main characters were against these guys, even whilst they squabbled amongst themselves[/spoiler].

In his article for the Guardian today, David Mitchell says (about Madame Tussauds):

It’s perfectly possible – and important to our understanding of the human condition – to find that amusing, to laugh at the goose-stepping, the shouting and the pomposity, while simultaneously holding in our heads the tragic murderous consequences of Nazi power. That’s what makes the joke bite and also what reminds us that the massive disaster was human.

For me, "Let’s Kill Hitler" was on the right side of this line, and if he’d taken an active part in the story, then there were many places to fall afoul of this – but he wasn’t, the story wasn’t about Hitler. It was set in Germany, but it was the stage for something more akin to ‘The Great Escape’ in tone.

I appreciated that the BBC followed the programme with a documentary about Hans Litten on BBC2. I do hope that a significant fraction of parents allowed their children to watch this in order to underline who this man was for their children.

(Serious spoilers follow)

Continue reading Let’s Kill Hitler

Don’t forget to watch the Comedy Prom on BBC2 tonight (9pm) with Tim Minchin, Sue Perkins, Kit and the Widow, The Boy with tape on his face, Beardyman and others…. and watch out for Monica just after the interval, we think she’ll be behind Tim Minchin, on the left of the screen (if they have sense, I should be a little out of frame).