Is Peter Capaldi working for me? Well, I once dreamed I ran a school and he waited in a cupboard for me, for whenever I ‘needed’ him. So maybe. As The Doctor, he certainly is. There’s creases that need ironing but they’re not of his making.
Capaldi’s such a stark contrast to Matt Smith, there was always going to be teething issues. I should confess I’m a relatively recent convert to Whovianism. I only got embroiled in a committed way during the 2005 Eccleston revival. I wasn’t that fussed with the ninth Doctor, but I fell for the beautiful ideas. I thought Tennant was nearly perfect and Smith became wonderful, after a rocky start doing a gangly impression of his predecessor.
You certainly couldn’t ever accuse Capaldi’s Doctor of being like anything that’s gone before. He’s a prick. I like it.
Colin Baker was a bit nasty for his first series but not like this. This Doctor is about cold, indifferent distain and after three incarnations with endearingly hapless cheekbones it comes as a welcome change. It’s both ‘grown up’ and exactly what the show needed.
I’m not saying he’s an unbearable tool. His Doctor specialises in strings of insults to Clara, which are often funny. Then comes a twist with an enormous gesture of forgiveness and empathy. He’s exactly the sort of man you fancy the kecks off until you’re about 27.
And he looks amazing. Suave. I’m not sure about his holey jumper, that’s a step too Urban Outfitters/Dad-trying-too-hard. But the usual get-up, the white shirts and dapper long tails are great. As much as I like to dress like a time-starved cretin, he’s a Lord of the stuff, so I like it that he’s elegant. We haven’t had a chic Doctor since Paul McGann in one episode and, before that, the 70s.
I’ve heard talk that the Doctor Who team hasn’t really learned to write for Capaldi yet and I half agree. There’s still the odd line which sounds like it’s for someone else. There’s no doubting his capacity as an actor, it’s just about finding the right voice for him. I have every confidence.
Equally, so as not to rude any writers, there have been some real doozies already this series. I have laughed. A lot. I have loved so many things. Especially *spoiler alert* the tree-awesomeness in In the Forest of the Night. I couldn’t be more over the moon about our magnificent new, female, nose-tip-kissing, Master.
For other (considered and feminist) angles, I recommend following @ellardent on Twitter. He makes some especially excellent points about Danny, who starts off as irritating, bossy and bland, then starts filling traditional female roles in the show. He’s the one who needs saving, he even holds the Doctor’s hand in the last episode.
I think Capaldi is excellent and will become increasingly so. And, well, 12’s a lucky number, isn’t it?