I heard a rumor online that Doctor Who will be going through another change soon. The current Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, may be ending his reign as soon as series 10 ends. If it holds up with the last few Doctors, it’ll probably happen Christmas 2017.
Part of me isn’t surprised. As soon as I heard that showrunner Steven Moffat was stepping down from his writing position, I suspected that the 12th Doctor would follow. Something similar happened when the baton was passed from Russel T. Davies to Steven Moffat back in 2010, when David Tennant (the 10th Doctor) regenerated into Matt Smith (the 11th Doctor).
If this is true, I’m excited. Moffat is being replaced by Chris Chibnall, another BBC writer who has written Doctor Who scripts before. Chibnall is better known for his tremendous writing on Broadchurch. But, that being said, if Peter Capaldi is leaving, I’ll be super sad.
I’ve spoken to a number of Doctor Who fans, and Capaldi’s 12th Doctor isn’t their favorite. Many of them skew more toward Matt Smith’s awkward, clumsy 11th Doctor. Others much prefer David Tennant’s bouncy 10th Doctor. Some are even fans of Christopher Eccleston’s fierce 9th Doctor. But you know what? I love 12.
When Capaldi first replaced Smith, I wasn’t sure what to think. Matt Smith was my first Doctor, so there will always be a tender spot in my heart for him. But Capaldi grew on me very quickly. And I don’t think he gets enough love.
So I wanted to share 13 reasons why I love the 12th Doctor (and if you’re a Whovian, you know why there are 13 reasons instead of 12):
13. He’s musical.
I’m sure that there are examples over the past 50+ years of the Doctor playing instruments. He’s the Doctor. He can pretty much do everything. But I’m pretty confident in saying that only 12 has showed up in a Medieval village playing an electric guitar on a tank. He’s just that cool (or wacky, one or the other).
What’s fun to note too is that Peter Capaldi himself is actually a musician. He played in a band as a young man with late night TV host Craig Ferguson.
12. He’s Scottish.
I’m partial to the Scottish accent anyway. So this was just a plus. I hadn’t heard the Doctor be Scottish since an episode in Series 2 allowed David Tennant to slip back into his native accent.
11. His dress sense (or lack thereof).
The 12th Doctor seems to rotate through different costumes depending on what sort of adventure he’s on. This was different in comparison to his previous incarnations, who always had some kind of constant in their costume. Like 11 and his bow tie (because they’re cool) and 10 and his great brown coat or even the 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) and his brilliant striped scarf.
But the 12th Doctor wore all sorts of different clothes, and they didn’t always match. Plaid pants? Really? Hadn’t seen plaid pants on a Doctor since the 2nd Doctor.
What do you think of the new look? I was hoping for minimalism, but I think I came out with magician. – the 12th Doctor, Time Heist
10. His gruff exterior.
The 12th Doctor isn’t a huggy sort of person. He isn’t sappy or soft, and he really isn’t very nice at all. It’s sort of a running gag throughout season 8 and 9 as his companion Clara Oswald keeps hugging him, and he keeps running away from her.
He’s even gone so far as to call Clara his carer. (“She cares so I don’t have to.”)
But there’s something really important about his grouchy, gruff exterior. He’s hiding a tremendous heart that cares so deeply for people.
9. His big heart.
There are several episodes that demonstrate just how much the Doctor cares about people, but one that really stands out to me is a fabulous episode called “The Girl who Died.”
DOCTOR: I’m so sick of losing.
CLARA: You didn’t lose. You saved the town.
DOCTOR: I don’t mean the war. I’ll lose any war you like. I’m sick of losing people. Look at you, with your eyes, and your never giving up, and your anger, and your kindness. One day, the memory of that will hurt so much that I won’t be able to breathe, and I’ll do what I always do. I’ll get in my box and I’ll run and I’ll run, in case all the pain ever catches up. And every place I go, it will be there.
This is just one scene. The truth is, the Doctor cares too much, and in this version of himself, he prefers to manage his emotions with sarcasm and dry wit instead of big puppy dog eyes.
8. His passion for life.
The Doctor has a passion for life, especially for the lives of those who aren’t like him. He’s not a big fan of his own species, quite frankly. But he’ll go to extremes to save people who aren’t like him.
In the episode “Into the Dalek” he even goes so far as to try to help a Dalek see the light. The Daleks are his sworn enemies, in case you were wondering, but he put himself in great danger to try to help.
And in the brilliant two-part episode “The Zygon Invasion” and “The Zygon Inversion,” he delivers a heart-wrenching speech in the desperate hope that it will prevent two cultures from utterly destroying each other (again, if you’re not familiar with the show, Zygons are shape shifters, which is why there are two Claras in the linked clip).
7. His general goofiness and disregard for anyone who thinks he’s goofy.
He wears all sorts of crazy things, and he really doesn’t care what anyone things. If he’s trying to make a point, he’ll run around in circles, tap dance in place, and hop up and down to test the gravity in a room. And it doesn’t matter if anyone thinks he looks crazy. He’s an equal opportunity scoffer.
6. His sword-fighting skills.
The 12 Doctor even engages in a sword fight with none other than Robin Hood in the most utterly ridiculous episode in the entire eighth season, The Robot of Sherwood. It’s so outrageous that it’s tons of fun. But while Robin Hood only has his sword to rely on, the Doctor wins the battle using nothing but a spoon. So maybe it should be his “spoon-fighting” skills….
5. His relationship with kids.
12 gets thrown in with students often, probably because Clara is a schoolteacher. Some of the kids he interacts with are her students. Others he encounters without really intending to, like when he and Clara accidentally bump into young Danny Pink in the episode, “Listen.”
But when the mysterious and as-of-yet-unidentified threat enters the room with them, the Doctor gets young Danny’s attention and helps him be brave in spite of his fear:
“Let me tell you about scared. Your heart is beating so hard I can feel it through your hands. There’s so much blood and oxygen pumping through your brain it’s like rocket fuel. Right now you could run faster and you can fight harder. You can jump higher than ever in your life and you are so alert it’s like you can slow down time. What’s wrong with scared? Scared is a superpower! Your superpower! There is danger in this room. And guess what? It’s you. Do you feel it? Do you think he feels it? Do you think he’s scared? Nah. Loser!”
4. His relationship with his companions.
Something else I love about 12 is is relationship with his friends and the people around him. He really just says it like it is.
In season eight, Clara blows it big time and turns on the Doctor for her own purposes. It hurts him deeply, but because he’s the Doctor, he won’t abandon her.
He is doubly harsh with Danny Pink too, all because he wants to make sure that Danny is the sort of man Clara needs. And he is fiercely loyal and super protective, especially toward the end of season nine. I won’t go into details in case you haven’t caught up. Spoilers.
And speaking of spoilers, the Christmas episode from last year was one of the best ever. 12 and River Song in the episode “The Husbands of River Song” was more than hilarious and heartwarming. It was just superb. Watch it if you have time!
3. His relationship with his enemies.
Something else that 12 seems to do repeatedly is extend grace to his enemies. Not always, of course. There are always exceptions. But as the ninth season began, it put him back in contact with an enemy from the past–Davros, the creator of the Daleks. And they end up having a conversation that just left me stunned, where Davros asked forgiveness and the Doctor granted it.
Sure, it all ended up being a trap in the end, and the Doctor anticipated it (he wouldn’t be the Doctor otherwise), but that doesn’t change what was said. I think the Doctor was serious, even if Davros wasn’t.
2. His eyebrows.
Yes. He has amazing eyebrows. “Attack Eyebrows” as it were.
1. His one-liners.
And finally, what I love the most about 12 is his one-liners. Seriously, the other Doctors have had catchphrases and funny quips, but it feels like everything 12 says can be a one-liner.
- “Don’t be lasagna.”
- “I’m a caretaker now. Look, I’ve got a brush.”
- “Shut up.”
- “Can you just hurry up please, or I’ll hit you with my shoe.”
- “Do people punch you in the face when you do that?”
- “The walls need sponging, and there’s a sinister puddle.”
- “These readings are very ishy.”
- “Robbing a bank. Robbing a whole bank. Beat that for a date.”
- “Clara, would you fetch me the dead one?”
- “You look lovely today. Have you had a wash?”
- “There’s a horror movie called Alien? That’s really offensive. No wonder everyone keeps invading you.”
I do love Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor. He makes me laugh, and he dredges up more emotion in me than his past incarnations. Maybe it’s because I often find myself trying to put on an uncaring face when my heart is hurting.
Regardless of how much longer it lasts, I’ve truly enjoyed the 12th Doctor’s run. I know whoever comes next will be “Fantastic,” to quote 9, but I’ll always think fondly of the Scottish Doctor with attack eyebrows.