The waiting is over at last. A week ago, the BBC took time out if its busy schedule to announce the the identity of the next Doctor. It was that middle-aged white bloke whose name we all heard days before. This isn’t bad news, but it does throw my predictions out. Of course, it wasn’t a total waste of time. We were also treated to half an hour of very minor celebrities making vague remarks about the show as if they’d never seen it before and were desperately trying to up their profile. And Peter Davison was there briefly. If you want to see how this very special programme was made, the BBC have kindly written up a “Making of…” piece here. The magic of Television is alive and well!
A new Doctor is an exciting time. The show’s ability to replace its main star has kept it fresh over the last fifty years, and always draws in an audience. Peter Capaldi seems like a good choice for the role. He is older than ten of the eleven previous actors cast in the role, but still has a sense of kinetic energy about him that suits the role. Some have baulked at the thought of an older Doctor, but Matt Smith is only 30 and all his Doctor seems to do these days is mope, sulk and grumble like an old man anyway. How much worse can it get?
It won’t be a complete regeneration for the show though, because showrunner Steven Moffat is still very much on board. I’ve discussed the unique stamp he’s leaving on the show before, but now the next Doctor has been cast, I’m here to give you my very special 12th Doctor predictions.
The 12th Doctor’s Costume:
The Doctor’s outfit is a pretty important part of the show. Christopher Eccleston might have been one of the best Doctors ever to grace the series, but his understated, practical outfit is not the direction we should be going in. The Doctor’s costume needs to be eye catching, anachronistic and commented upon frequently. Hey, it worked for Colin Baker.
As such an integral part of the show, the Doctor should pick his new clothes in a way that fits Moffat’s storytelling methods. In Series 8, the Doctor will spend a good part of each episode trying to track down an item of clothing belonging to a love interest he hasn’t met yet. Each item of clothing has the name of its owner written in the label, but the handwriting is terrible and the Doctor needs each piece to identify the owner.
The 12th Doctor’s Catchphrase:
Catchphrases are fun. They shot Little Britain to success and who couldn’t use a little more of that fame. They’re also good for knowing which fan letters contain good advice. If the writer signs of with an Allons-y, they’re probably not looking to the future. Geronimo goes straight to the top of the pile. Again, the Doctor should be slightly anachronistic but not so much that it alienates the fans. This probably rules out Simples! and Should’ve gone to Specsavers, but leaves Moffat with a more pacifistic option like Leave ‘im Davros, he’s not worth it.
If Moffat is feeling really original, we might get something like Popped Collars are Nifty!
Challenging Love Interests:
Who didn’t love River Song, eh? Her convoluted time travel plot arc that culminated in a shotgun wedding was just the sort of romance we’ve come to expect from a progressive show like this. That story is pretty much wrapped up now, but there are so many more Time Travel love stories to tell. In Series 8, the Doctor discovers he’s using the TARDIS to secretly date two women at once, neither of which he’s actually met. In a shocking twist, they turn out to be the same person but they’ve forgotten for some reason that isn’t very important.
Finding the Balance between Alien and Human:
Sure, the Doctor looks human, sounds human and spends a lot of time living with humans, but let’s not forget that he’s actually an ancient aliens with ways different to our own. The best way to do this is to periodically write it into the script, but there are subtler ways. Everyone knows that aliens don’t have manners, every so often giving the Doctor something unnecessarily insensitive should do the trick. Still, if the Doctor was totally unsympathetic, there’d be no reason to watch the show. Bring him down to earth by writing in a few of 21st Century Earth’s social prejudices. Every so often the 12th Doctor will sigh and mutter “Women!” under his breath. That’s a feeling we can all get behind, no matter what planet you’re from!
Murder and Genocide, each more casual than the last:
The Eleventh Doctor was a complex figure. On the day he was born, he reminded us that Earth would always be protected. A couple of years later, and he’d retired from protecting the Earth because he’d got another companion stuck somewhere even the TARDIS can’t reach. Sure, he’s been through that a few times before, but after a while it starts to get to you. When he was on the case, The Eleventh Doctor liked to finish things in a big way. The Doctor lives in a dangerous universe, sometimes you need to blow up the entire Cyberman fleet just to get directions, or use subliminal messages to wipe out an entire invasion force, or pilot a homing missile into a spaceship just to kill one sick old man in circumstances that weren’t that urgent.
The 12th Doctor will take this even further, recognising the Doctor’s mistakes of the past and fixing them. Highlights include a return to the events during Genesis of the Daleks. While Tom Baker ponders over the ethics of obliterating the entire Dalek race, the 12th Doctor yanks the wires from his and and blows them to bits. The big series finale sees a crossover with David Tennant and finally corrects events during The Doctor’s Daughter. While Tennant holds a gun to the head of his Daughter’s killer and says “I never would,” Capaldi arrives finishes the job.
That’s all for now, some of these predictions might seem like a stretch, but like Moffat says. Doctor Who is about surprises!