Now The Doctor Is Roman

The next Doctor is not ginger, nor a woman, but a Roman.
on Aug 5, 2013 · 3 comments
12th Doctor and The Fires of Pompeii guest star) Peter Capaldi

12th Doctor and The Fires of Pompeii guest star) Peter Capaldi

Realm Makers 2013 wrapped up just in time for more big news: onetime Doctor Who fourth-season guest star Peter Capaldi is the 12th Doctor.

No, he’s not a woman, but is Roman. And he’s presumbly not rude, and not ginger.

"SOON …"

“SOON …”

The 55-year-old Glasgow-born star will be the 12th actor to play the Doctor, replacing out-going lead Matt Smith.

Capaldi is best known for his role as foul-mouthed spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker in the BBC series The Thick of It.

“It’s so wonderful not to keep this secret any longer, but it’s been so fantastic,” he said after the news was revealed on a live BBC One show.1

Many of my family and friends reacted with cheers — as did I. First, Capaldi was excellent alongside the Tenth Doctor in Doctor Who‘s fourth-season episode The Fires of Pompeii. Fans have also been saying things like: Yes! We loved Eccleston, Tennant, and Smith, but isn’t it time for an older Doctor? Maybe one who’s a little more mad-professor-with-tenure rather than mad TA?

Some seem disappointed with the announcement. This I don’t get, and it seems to be based on taking silly casting speculation seriously.

Why can’t the Doctor be a woman?

doctorwho_firesofpompeii_petercapaldiBecause you can’t just flip a huge franchise fanbase like that.

Sure, thanks to press (and political correctness?) the BBC wouldn’t rule out “A female Doctor? Oooooo”-style speculation. But Doctor Who‘s fans are accustomed to the Doctor being a man, the companions (mostly) being women, and all the story and sex dynamics that accompany that. Chalk this up to sexism or Just How God Made Things, but either way, men and women will appreciate a male hero more often than men and women will appreciate a female hero. That’s simply the dynamic of Doctor Who. Its makers have no need to break the unbroken franchise with stunt casting.

Why not [name of A-list film actor such as Rupert “Ron Weasley” Grint]?

I’m still not sure why folks keep seriously suggesting A-list film stars to play the Doctor. Helen Mirren, for example, has been in Oscar-winning films (and admittedly, also the fine action-adventure masterpiece National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets alongside Nicolas Cage). Rupert Grint, no matter how ginger, is also too expensive to be the Doctor. Plus, no one actor can’t play two British icons.

E. Stephen Burnett explores fantastical stories for God’s glory as publisher of and its weekly Fantastical Truth podcast. He coauthored The Pop Culture Parent and creates other resources for fans and families, serving with his wife, Lacy, in their central Texas church. Stephen's first novel, a science-fiction adventure, launches in 2025 from Enclave Publishing.
  1. notleia says:

    I, for one, don’t really see a reason why the Doctor can’t be female. I do get why it won’t happen, but if you factor out the risk of fanbase alienation, it could work. People generally prefer male protagonists over female because of cultural junk that leads to male protagonists being written more interestingly than female ones. It’s outdated marketeering hoo-wah that mandates that dude-oriented stuff is about adventure and beating stuff up and chick-oriented stuff is about romance and friendship. (See also “The Smurfette Principle”) I would like that dichotomy to die in a fire, but while I’m at that, I’d also like financial independence and a Missouri Fox Trotter (no Shetland pony for me, thank you). If you still wanted the male/female dynamic, the companions can be male, but Donna is my favorite companion because I was tired of the angsty romantic stuff with Rose and Martha and whatever that was with Amy before she got married to Rory (Rory is probably second favorite, but he took awhile to grow on me).

  2. rmstrong1980 says:

    Will miss Matt as much as Chris and David. But the Doctor did have two ginger companions back to back. I hated how he lost Donna, and (as much as you can) loved how he lost Amy–when offered all of time and space, she still chose to be with the man she truly loved.

    But, as for Peter…. I guess all that thanking of the household gods finally worked for him. 🙂

What say you?