When Matt Smith became The Doctor way back in 2009, there really wasn’t a whole lot of fanfare. This was made more abundantly clear on my side of the big pond as the show had yet to hit the current levels of promotion that it achieves over here. As I recall, some promo images were snapped and Matt recorded a short video interview and that was that. This time around, the BBC has gone all out with a live TV program simulcast around the world. With the nature of Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor pretty much existing to introduce us to the new actor, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot of substance. And that my friends is what we got here: some fluff with a cool interview at the end. I decided to write up a brief synopsis for those unable to watch the show, and despite the fact that everyone suddenly knows who Peter Capaldi is, his relationship to the show may be foggy for some fans.
Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor was presented as a sort of late night talk show in a similar vein to either the Graham Norton Show or the old BBC Jonathan Ross Show. The presenter for the evening was Zoe Ball, someone that I’m unfamiliar with. A quick trip to Wikipedia land reveals that she hosts things like dancing shows over in the UK, a fact that means I will immediately forget who she is after typing this. Ball did her best job of hyping the crowd up and keeping everyone relatively excited as she and the audience watched video clips with selected celebrity guests. These guests included Peter Davison, Liza Tarbuck, Bernard Cribbins, Rufus Hound, and Daniel Roche. We also got to see brief glimpses of video recordings of Steven Moffat and Bonnie Langford as well as other cast members from the past, too bad these clips were short and were similar to VH1 “I Love the 80’s” shows.
The audience was basically silent for this whole thing until the very end, forcing guests to go for cheap pops in order to make the audience cheer. Rufus Hound went as far as to mention England to get a cheap audience reaction, the same thing rock musicians do at a concert to get the crowd going. I’m not saying this was bad or anything, but aside from Bernard Cribbins and peter Davison, I have no idea why some of these guests were chosen. One decent bit from the whole video clips montage was a Matt Smith interview where he talks about his departure from the show, and gives some kind advice to the new guy.
There was a tense moment where we saw the new actor’s hand as he waited for the cue to go onstage, and then the tension was relieved as Peter Capaldi walked out. Capaldi discussed his love for the show, and trying to win over the audience. They reminded fans that he has been on both Doctor Who and Torchwood at different times, and that he once wrote a letter to a newspaper about the show as a teenager. Look’s like we’re in good hands, folks Capaldi is awesome.
To be honest this show was sort of unnecessary and seemed sort of thrown together. It is cool seeing a show I love getting this much attention though, as it was a mere 4-5 years ago that I had to defend it’s existence to a co-worker that insisted nobody had heard of it, and there was no way more people watched it than Lost, his contender for “greatest sci-fi show ever”. Last time I checked, Lost didn’t have vapid talk shows discussing casting choices did it? I claim the win!
If you guys want to check a part of this out, here it is:
- Peter Capaldi is the new Doctor Who: BBC reveal The Thick of It star as Twelfth Doctor (mirror.co.uk)
- Doctor Who stars Peter Davison and Bernard Cribbins to appear on live show (metro.co.uk)
- Live: Peter Capaldi is new Doctor Who BBC announce (mirror.co.uk)
- Peter Capaldi Revealed as Twelfth Doctor Who (magnate.co)
- Doctor Who: 12th Time Lord announcement as it happened (telegraph.co.uk)
- ‘Doctor Who’: Peter Davison, Bernard Cribbins to appear on live show (digitalspy.co.uk)
- ‘Doctor Who’: Peter Davison, Bernard Cribbins to appear on live show (alternativenewsalert.com)
- ‘Doctor Who’: Peter Capaldi is the 12th Doctor – As it happened (digitalspy.co.uk)
- New Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi is revealed as the twelfth Time Lord (dailymail.co.uk)
Great review. Yes it was all showbiz, yes there were a lot of soundbites from a lot of people connected (even vaguely) to the show, but the BBC has been playing the long game and it’s good to see it’s paying off.
When Matt Smith was launched as the 11th Doctor, the BBC took the decision to do this as part of a TV show, and cleared 30 minutes from their schedule on a Saturday evening in January 2010. Matt was pretty unknown then, but such is the iconic nature of Doctor Who that they felt a ‘launch’ was warranted.
Turn the clock back to this year, the definitive year, and, with only a split series, a one-off 50th Anniversary special and a Christmas episode on the cards, other things needed to be put in place. Matt’s ‘resignation’, the Dr Who Prom, information about the 50th, An Adventure In Space and Time and now the big 12th Doctor reveal have all been drip-fed to us over the last eight months, and, in doing so, it is doing the trick of keeping Who in people’s minds as the expectation increases…
Oddly, I’ve just watched The Fires of Pompeii again, and to see two lead actors coming out of it strikes me as impressive.
Oh, and what do I think of Capaldi’s casting? I believe it is exactly the right thing to do, at the right time. An older man, less chance of a potential love interest for the companion, and a very Whovian character actor to boot. The 51st year – and 8th series – bodes very well in my eyes!
I’m really not familiar with Peter Capaldi’s work. But looking at his Wikipedia bio, though, it seems he’s been very busy for the past few decades. Based on his strong performances on Doctor Who and Torchwood, he does seem to be a very capable actor. I’m looking forward to seeing what he brings to the role of the Doctor.
By the way, I cannot believe how young Peter Davison still looks! It’s hard to believe he’s 62 years old, seven years older than William Hartnell was when he first took on the part of the Doctor.