After a lot of song and dance from the BBC, Doctor #12 was announced yesterday to be veteran actor Peter Capaldi. I was relieved, as it meant I could safely visit fansites or Facebook pages again without seeing speculation from brain dead morons that the new actor would or should be a major celebrity, American, Billie Piper, or some other bit of nonsense. I was also relieved to find that the actor chosen was in fact an adult, reversing a trend set into place by the current show’s producers to make the character appear progressively younger. Capaldi is also a great actor, and likely has a lot to offer the show.
I’m the first to admit that Matt Smith (the youngest to play the part to date) was well-suited for the role, even though I was a tad bitchy about his age when I first heard of him getting the part. I also love the Peter Davison era (Davison–at 29–was the youngest by far to take the role in the classic series). So I am not entirely opposed to a younger Doctor. That being said, it was time for a change. It was time for an older actor to take the part. Any true fan of the show should be able to respect that.
Then I started reading reactions.
Instead of seeing the usual level of mixed reactions, I saw comment after comment about the actor being too old and not attractive enough. The same thing. Over and over and over. I thought to myself, “Why are these assholes watching this show?” Do they have any idea what it is supposed to be about? I thought that maybe they were unaware there were 26 years of previous backstory before 2005 happened. So I felt a compulsion to explain it.
Hey, fangirls? If you can stop putting together that new Rose/Ten fan video (or Edward/Jacob slash fiction) you’ve been working on, I need to talk to you for a second. This show is a lot of things. Hard sci-fi. Fantasy. Adventure. Sometimes mystery. All of that. It’s for children. It’s for adults. It has survived for nearly 50 years through countless permutations of writers, producers, companions, and Doctors. It has seen a million changes. But it has never been a teen romance drama. If you want that, you are welcome to go back to your Twilight fanfic or maybe a marathon viewing of Secret Circle (is that crap even still on?).
The Doctor can be many things. He can be brooding, dark, vulnerable, or humorous. He can be young or old. He can be likeable or he can be creepy. There have even been a few incarnations that could be considered sexy (I’ll leave that up to the reader to decide which). However, never in the history of the show has it been about the Doctor being “hot.” Frankly, if that is the most important part of your decision to abandon the show, I wonder why you ever watched it to begin with.
Do any of these guys do it for you? Is your heart pounding like it did when you read Fifty Shades of Grey? Likely not. Aside from one possible exception (Peter Davison), none of the original actors were conventionally handsome. Other than Davison, they were all over 40. Two of them (Hartnell and Pertwee) were over 50 when they took the role!
I suspect that Davison was likely chosen to break the mold of a character that had always been more of a patriarchal figure. For the first time, you got to see the Doctor be youthful and more vulnerable than his predecessors. You got to see him care for and even argue with his companions as his peers instead of as his children. And why did they feel the need to alter the Doctor’s personality in such a way?
Because the show is about change. Learn to accept that and deal with it, or move on. Since the return of the series, old school fans have had to sit through several years of hunky Doctors and schoolgirl crushes from his companions (something that never happened during the original 26 years). Despite our complaining, we can admit on some level that it was interesting to see the Doctor behave that way. It brought out new aspects of the character, and it was good for the show. I learned to sit through and even enjoy things I didn’t think I would care for, and I’m glad of it.
I suggest you whiners do the same. We sat through David Tennant crying all the time and making out with Rose. We’ve seen the human Doctor who weeps and falls in love and cracks jokes. You can deal with a possible return to a darker, more somber Doctor who will likely bring some gravitas to the role. If old school fans (who know the Doctor was originally referred to as “Grandfather” by his first companion) can deal with a 26 year old in the part, you can deal with a 55 year old. I promise.
It’s time for the tide to turn. We as fans aren’t sure what that turn will entail, but we know it will be different. Whether you have watched the show your whole life and know the difference between Vicky and Victoria, or are new to the 2005 reboot and worship Rose: you have to respect that it’s the change that makes the show good. It’s the change that makes it last.
If you can’t handle that, it’s not for you. Don’t let the doors of the TARDIS hit your ass on the way out.