So, the time has come — and the moment was prepared for. Peter Capaldi has been cast as the 12th incarnation of the Time Lord known only as the Doctor.
Soon after the wonderfully talented Capaldi was unveiled, Executive Producer Steven Moffat met with the press and shared some insights into the casting process and his creative decisions for the character. The most interesting fact, to me, was that there never really was any doubt about… who was going to be the next Doctor; Moffat had a list:
“The list went: ‘Peter Capaldi’ — it was a very short list! Honestly, there was only one audition this time… and it wasn’t an ‘audition’ so much as… he came ’round my house and we put him on video to see what he looked like as the Doctor —and, gosh, he was terribly good!”
So why was Peter Capaldi the only name on Moffat’s list?
“I happened to know that he’s a very, very big fan and there’s something rather seductive about an utterly brilliant, arresting-looking leading man — one of the most talented actors in Britain — who you happen to know is a big fan of the show. You do start to think, ‘Maybe we should do something about that!’”
Despite having his eye on Capaldi, Moffat insists there was no conscious plan to deliberately go older with the next Doctor:
“The apparent age of the Doctor makes no narrative sense at all – he’s been anything from his 20s to his 70s. Obviously he doesn’t care; he just sort of picks a face off the rack and goes with it!
“I think it’s good that we’ve got a different age, just because I cannot imagine what somebody in their 20s would do with the Doctor after Matt showed us all how to be a 20s Doctor. I don’t know what you would do after that, because he was so perfect.
“You’d have to be an alternative or a deliberate contradiction – it wouldn’t work, I don’t think. So it makes life easier, I suppose, that Peter is different. But that wasn’t the reason, the reason was… the Doctor was in the room and that’s it. You don’t argue with that!”
So the transition from Matt to Peter should be a smooth one.
“There’s something about Matt’s Doctor that paves the way for Peter’s Doctor, somehow. The important thing to remember about the Doctor is that it is one character, going through his life, played by a succession of different actors, and you have to get to that place each time. I can somehow absolutely believe that the strange old/young Matt Smith will turn into the strange young/old Peter Capaldi.”
However, while scripts are being written for series eight, the characterization of the Doctor seems very much up in the air for the moment. When asked what kind of Doctor Capaldi will be, Moffat replied:
“The truth is we don’t know. I’ve seen him do Doctorish stuff and its worked. I’ve seen him deal with the technobabble. I’ve seen him deal with the nonsense. I wrote scenes that were deliberately impossible just to see ‘can you do the impossible even without gunk poured on you and now were going to pour gunk on you and throw a lizard on you and ask you to say all this stuff and explain the plot’. We don’t know yet. We’re going to work on that and, as with Matt – Matt developed hugely as he approached the first episode. We’ll do the same with Peter.”