Peter Capaldi: 12 Months as the Twelfth Doctor

Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman in 'Doctor Who' (Pic: BBC)

Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman in ‘Doctor Who’ (Pic: BBC)

On August 4, 2013, Peter Capaldi was announced as the new Doctor, and for Doctor Who fans, giddy on the excitement of the imminent 50th anniversary of their favorite show and desperate to find out who would fill the beautifully tailored shoes of Matt Smith, it has been quite a year since then:

In that time, we have been treated to a number of astonishing returns.

The first being the Eighth Doctor, as played by Paul McGann. He made his transition into the newly christened War Doctor (John Hurt), in “The Night of the Doctor”:

The War Doctor then teamed up with Ten and Eleven to sort out the end of the Time War once and for all, during which time we also the first glimpse of Peter’s incarnation of the Doctor—who we will continue to call the Twelfth because that is what makes the most sense—in this thrilling snapshot from “The Day of the Doctor”:

Peter Capaldi's eyes - "The Day of the Doctor"

Just the eyes, and he’s already palpably Gallifreyan.

We also got to see someone who looked remarkably like the Fourth Doctor at the end, claiming to be a future incarnation, revisiting his own favorite faces of the past and offering tips as to what the Doctor will need to do next:

Then there was the small matter of the Eleventh Doctor’s final days, protecting Trenzalore from attack from all manner of space rotters, and being given a fresh batch of regenerations for his trouble. Here’s where we finally get to see Peter in action, and his heartwarming welcome to Clara: “KIDNEYS!”

Officially, that’s all we know, that’s where the story has rested since Christmas. But, of course, there have been many fresh revelations in the meantime, not least the Twelfth Doctor’s suited-and-booted costume.

Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor. (Photo: BBC AMERICA)

Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor. (Photo: BBC AMERICA)

And a list of guest stars for Season Eight, including Foxes, Frank Skinner, Hermione Norris, Ben Miller, Tom Riley, Michelle Gomez (and the Cybermen), Keeley Hawes and Samuel Anderson.

But the real heart of the last year lies in Peter’s ability to become an ambassador for Doctor Who, because the fans know he’s a fan too, and yet he’s able to take authority as the Doctor despite having yet to appear on screen for more than a few seconds.

Here’s his message to the Glasgow art students who lost their final projects when the Mackintosh Building at the Glasgow School of Art was damaged by fire, earlier this year:

And then there are the fan videos showing him interacting beautifully with star-struck children. Like this one:

And this one:

“I might be a bit noisy at first” is also a fantastic clue at the trouble ahead, as further illustrated by the recent series of teaser trailers, which hint that the TARDIS is going to take some fixing…

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…hinting at an uneasy relationship between the Doctor and Clara…

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…hinting at a return of the Daleks…

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…and confirmation that there will be no more bow-ties for the time being:

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Not to mention this moment of Zen from last week…

…and these images from the Season 8 premiere courtesy of BBC AMERICA’s Doctor Who website.

And the sum total of all of this information? The things we can definitely be sure of after a year? We know Peter Capaldi is the Doctor, and we know things are going to be different from now on. That’s it. Everything else hangs brilliantly in the balance.

See more:
‘Doctor Who’ Back on the Cover of EW
Who Is Peter Capaldi? A Look Back at the ‘Doctor Who’ Star’s Roles
Dreamboys: A Punk Band with Peter Capaldi and Craig Ferguson
Brit Binge Watching: Five Peter Capaldi (The New Doctor) Performances Available Online
Five British Sweet Things The Twelfth Doctor Could Carry In His Pocket

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

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