Doctor Who: reports from afar

Hot on the heels of the news of Steven Moffat leaving after 2017, with Chris Chibnall to take over Doctor Who, there are now reports that Peter Capaldi could depart as well. Some are calling it a fresh start with a new producer in Chibnall,  and it might be.

Scully: You're not gonna tell me you think it's that Mexican goat sucker thing. Mulder: El Chupacabra? No, they got four fangs, not two, and they suck goats, hence the name.

Chart of my surprise that there is still stuff to write about re Doctor Who.

The thing is, if I were taking over a story as complex and with such a long history, and with such (ahem) enthusiastic fans as Who, I would keep some old hands around. I would do this for reassurance, inspiration, and some smattering of continuity. Writing, and overseeing the writing of others, is difficult at any time, let alone with the added pressure of  settling into a new office, trying to please BBC bean counters, and the public with a new Time Lord, new look, and possible new everything else.

Sometimes, a clean slate is freedom, but other times it’s the terror of the blank page. A scary yawning pit of nothing from which a writer needs to pull something magic. Without Capaldi and possibly the new companion, it will be a big blank page/pit/slate. You get the idea.

Also, just because David Tennant left when Russell T Davies departed, doesn’t mean ipso facto that Capaldi must leave with Moffat. It’s not a thing. Actors are not the possessions of producers or script writers. It smacks of change for change’s sake when *story* should be the impetus of change. Or personal choice. It’s also possible that Chibnall could audition a dozen potentials and still select Capaldi as The Doctor. It might be a choice he may not be prepared to make as a newbie.

Timey Whimey Inflection Points

Insert first plot point at O, add new characters along dotted lines (in both directions), and churn out stories. 

I’m not against change, and this program explores it ad infinitum, but it feels like Capaldi is just warming up. He’s given some great performances over this most recent series. His iteration of The Doctor  struggled a bit to find his way, but the mojo is working now, and one more season doesn’t quite seem enough, (also given it is also a long way off, time wise).  I get that this may change in another 14 episodes though. So ok, give the new producer a choice, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he sticks with someone familiar.

3 thoughts on “Doctor Who: reports from afar

    • I don’t have a favourite, but I might have to think on that. But in Capaldi’s best episodes he’s got this gravitas and a kind of diffident vulnerability. Particularly during difficult conversations when he doesn’t make eye contact (usually with Clara), it’s in those moments when he’s drawing with a stick or searching for a way out, you can see the child in the barn, as well as the persona he developed and all the history in between. I just wish Capaldi was (and will be) given more great episodes and writing to work with rather than the dross typified by Kill the Moon.

      • That’s a fair point. I don’t think there’s been enough for him to properly chew on in his first two seasons. It has slowly improved over time but I expect more from his third year as the Doctor. Hopefully the writers will give him that chance to truly shine.

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