Monday, August 12, 2013

Malcolm Tucker vs the Daleks

Bob, Anna and I gathered round the tv in our holiday cottage to watch the Doctor Who special last Sunday. 

I probably owe Zoe Ball an apology after being so critical of her choice as presenter. She did a very good job. In fact, it was Rufus Hound who let the side down, making two factual errors in his comments. First of all he said that Bernard Cribbens' Wilf Mott had knocked 3 times to cause the death of Tennant's Doctor and then that Peter Eccleston was the 9th Doctor. It's like he was trying to give the lie to Ball's claim that nobody in the studio knew who the new Doctor was.

I was still fairly convinced that it was going to be Capaldi - it would have been very stupid of the production team to let that speculation build as it had. By the time of the announcement, everyone had the idea of Capaldi firmly in their head and anyone else would have been a disappointment. He has the versatility, skill and authority as one of our best actors to play the Doctor. We know how well he can do both comedy and drama. If you haven't watched Torchwood: Children of Earth and seen his portrayal of Home Office official John Frobisher, watch it now. 

I had one wobble, though. When Matt Smith was interviewed, he said that the new Doctor had come up to him in the street and congratulated him on his debut performance, saying "Well done, mate." I couldn't really imagine Capaldi saying that. Maybe I had got it wrong after all.

My favourite part of the whole programme was when the new Doctor said he hadn't played the Doctor since he was 9 years old. It's good to have a genuine fan, who knows what it's like to grow up being petrified and enchanted in equal measure. 

It seems that Capaldi was the first choice of the production team and the only person to be seriously considered. I like the fact that we're going to have an older Doctor again, for the first time since the series came back in 2005. Maybe we'll get an older companion, too, particularly an older female in the style of Liz Shaw. That would be a novel departure for the new series. So far we've had companions who had few prospects before the Doctor came along to rescue them, companions who fancied him, companions he fell in love with. I'm not saying we should dispense with Clara, although it will be interesting to see how Jenna Louise Coleman and Peter Capaldi work together, just that I want to see something a bit different.

Capaldi has become so associated with Malcolm Tucker in the minds of those of us who watched The Thick of It and the various gifs of Tucker swearing at daleks and the like have been very amusing. It will take time for us to stop waiting for a sweary outburst, but we'll get there. I will, though, be very disappointed if Tucker's Law doesn't get some sort of oblique reference in the script.

One consequence of Capaldi's appointment is that Anna is very keen to watch The Thick of It. After two nights, we're at the end of the first series and she loves it. She seems to have the idea that this is how Government works, though. That's probably more scary than any dalek.

There are two episodes of Matt Smith's tenure to go, though. I want to enjoy every minute of them before thinking about next year's series, though.

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