New face of “Doctor Who” causes conflict among viewers

Amber Lee Carnahan, Managing/Health & Tech Editor

DOCTOR WHO *embargoed 19th March*By Managing Editor: Amber Lee Carnahan

Doctor Who, the British Sci-Fi television show that follows the adventures of an alien known as the Doctor and his various companions, is approaching its 50th Anniversary. The show began in 1963 and was later rejuvenated in 2005. The technique the writers used to be able to keep the story alive was introducing the idea of regenerations, which is what the Doctor’s body goes through when he is close to dying, and he basically becomes an entirely new person. This allowed for younger and healthier Doctors to start continuing the role, which led to the younger generation of fans to become accustomed to the young, handsome Doctor. The most recent 11th Doctor was the youngest yet, but now he is preparing to retire the role to a new man. After BBC announced that the new Doctor was to be fifty-five-year -old Peter Capaldi, the fans of Doctor Who quickly shouted blasphemy and split into two factions. The one faction screamed bloody murder and demanded a cute Doctor they could crush on, while the other accepted Capaldi and firmly believed he’d fit the role quite nicely.

The switch to an older Doctor was abrupt, I admit. Capaldi, on record, will be the second oldest Doctor in the history of Doctor Who. This causes a wrinkle in the pattern that had been developing with each regeneration, the Doctor appears to get younger. This pattern had even been stated at some points in the series by the Doctor himself, as he’d see his new regeneration and be surprised at his age. However, logically, if the series kept to that pattern, we could soon have a child-sized Doctor trying to save the universe. While it would be an interesting episode to watch, I’m sure that it would cause a significant drop in viewership. Capaldi’s age might be shocking to newer viewers who had fallen in love with David Tennant and Matt Smith’s younger Doctors, but the 12th Doctor would actually be reverting back to the ways of the original series, in which the majority of Doctors were older gentlemen.

While I haven’t seen Capaldi act, I can tell he’s going to be a charming Doctor. He’s a highly renowned Scottish actor, best known for his role in the political comedy The Thick of It. According to the magazine Vulture’s website, Capaldi is a very versatile actor who is able to throw himself into any role. This is a perfect match for the Doctor, because it’s the development of a new personality quirk that brings the new regeneration to life. Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor created a childish and loveable personality that kept the series going.

Viewers tend to get attached to the version of the Doctor that they had been watching for so long that it makes it difficult to adjust to a new face. When I first was introduced to Doctor Who, my Doctor was David Tennant’s 10th Doctor. In my eyes, he was the only version of the Doctor that could possibly exist, and I was nearly head-over-heels in love. When I saw Tennant’s last moments, as he heartbreakingly whispered to the screen, I don’t want to go, I felt my heart break with his. When Matt Smith stepped up to take the role, I felt betrayed. I refused to watch any of the 11th Doctor, fruitlessly believing that with my rebellion, Tennant would be brought back and all would be right with the world. I eventually realized it wasn’t all about me, and I got over myself enough to actually give Smith a chance. It was then I knew it wasn’t the regeneration that mattered, it was the Doctor’s story. No matter who was chosen to continue the legacy fifty years in the making, I could take stock in that it would continue to live on through the hearts of all Doctor Who fans.

Age shouldn’t be a factor in determining whether the new Doctor will be ‘good’ or not. What makes the series special isn’t whether the Doctor is attractive, it’s the character of the Doctor, the ever-present sense of heroism and his want to save the underdog. While his face and personality might change throughout the series, he is still the same Doctor, regardless of whether he’s fifty-five or thirty-five.