14 March 2016

Should he stay or should he go?



Peter Capaldi’s dilemma is nothing new.
Last week Peter Capaldi declared that he had been asked by incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall to stay on after Steven Moffat leaves. Normally such matters are decided behind closed doors and announced afterwards but for reasons unknown Mr C chose to share it with us. As if that wasn’t enough the actor expressed public criticism of the way last season was scheduled. All of which left The Guardian for one suggesting that the choice of remaining may now be whipped away from him (and Chibnall) given how the sensitive the BBC is these days about, well, anything really. As a current leading BBC actor Peter Capaldi is not really expected to comment publicly about his ongoing contract situation or indeed programme scheduling. At the very least there will be stern faces at this week’s senior BBC executives orange beanbag meeting. What probably lies at the heart of the actor’s outbursts though is that he probably genuinely doesn’t know what to do. This is not a new dilemma for an incumbent Doctor. Very few of them have left either at the right time in retrospect or at least the time when they wanted to. Of course some have had no choice yet having the luxury of choosing when to go is perhaps just as difficult as having no choice at all. 


William Hartnell no doubt really would have liked to have stayed with “the magic of Doctor Who” until he was 90 but ill health prevented it. Colin Baker once talked optimistically at beating his namesake’s tenure in the role but internal BBC politics, poor creative decisions and a bright costume put paid to that. Sylvester McCoy was ready and willing to do another year at least (probably two) but the show was cancelled. As for poor Paul McGann he’d barely got started.
On the other hand it’s hardly the case that those Doctors who could choose their departure were any more satisfied about it. Jon Pertwee wanted to stay at least another season but the BBC wouldn’t pay him more so he quit and would spend the next decade moaning about it. He even got a job on another programme with the word `Who` in it and said publicly how Doctor Who had been better when he was on it. His observation during the 1985 -6 hiatus was that the BBC could invite former Doctors back. Even appearing at fan conventions he always donned the costume. If Worzel Gummidge gave him the artistic satisfaction he craved, the pull of Doctor Who remained with him.
Tom Baker didn’t really want to leave either even though he’d done seven years. The way he talks about the series, even now, suggests he might well have stayed forever. If he had proprietorial issues when playing the role, he seems to never quite let them go. His observations about returning for a cameo in 2013 for the 50th anniversary story have the bittersweet sense of former lovers meeting decades later. Peter Davison regretted going too (after only three seasons) because he had to make the choice during the second whose scripts he wasn’t as keen on. He’s said many times since that had he been left to decide after seeing his third season scripts he would have stayed for a fourth whatever Patrick Troughton told him in the car park. In that sense we all lost out- imagine how different the history of Doctor Who would be had he stayed…
Peter Capaldi hiding from the BBC executives again
When David Tennant declared “I don’t want to go” it was probably the actor speaking as much as the character and he later confessed his decision to leave was mostly based on realising that if he hadn’t gone then he might have never have. Even Matt Smith who after all the rumours of creative niggles you imagine might be glad to be away is already talking about the show in the same fond tones as others have.  Patrick Troughton and Christopher Eccelston seem to be the only two who made their choice and did not regret it though Mr T did come back three times so perhaps it’s just grumpy Eccles who doesn’t see the show in the same saintly light as his fellow Doctors?
So what of Peter Capaldi? It would be very interesting to have a modern Doctor shaped by more than one showrunner and it would certainly give Chris Chibnall a big climax to his first season were it to end with a regeneration. Look what it did for the 2005 series. However it is possible he may now just have talked himself out of being free to make that call.


3 comments:

  1. I can't see why he shouldn't stay Capaldi has put his amazing talents into the Doctor to give us an unpredictable man who can be mesmerising, scary, sinister,caring, ever changing rebelloius in nature, but funny - he has stood out and proudly had us all thinking about other things more important.The Doctor with his Zygon Inversion speech being a global event that got everyone talking about the programme and the attack in Paris. How many other times did the Doctor go viral ?

    The BBC may be angry at Capaldi for speaking his mind by saying exactly what we all thought the programme is on too late, the lower ratings are because the children who love to see it were been exclued principally because it was on past their bed time - if the children who watch it are in bed, why would their parents who have no interest in the programme look at it ? The repeats were at 2 am, so how are ratings supposed to go up ? BBC 3 stopped doing reruns in favour of Top Gear, so seems as if it is not doing its best to promote the programme is it?. All the expense of the world tour to promote Capaldi then to do its best to kill DW off, makes no sense!!. Capaldi has done his best to help the BBC appearing on Larry King Now to talk about series 9 but, talking for a good part about BBC and it's troubles, his fear for its future.

    Capaldi is fantastic as a Doctor - knows his fans as he is still one himself - to be able to look at all the old episodes he wants while working must be great. Capaldi knows what this hiatus is doing to fans and getting irritated by it hismelf is only natural. The Olympics are on every four years and they've managed DW every time. Whoever is making the programme planning in BBC is making a mess of it.

    There is still plenty of time left for Capaldi as we're only really starting really know him. Series 10 should be great when it comes. I do hope Chibnall will get his chance to write for Capaldi as I'd like to see what they'd get up to. So long as Peter wants to be the Doctor let him stay. Just hope that'll be for a few more years, as I am enjoying him immensely.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can't see why he shouldn't stay Capaldi has put his amazing talents into the Doctor to give us an unpredictable man who can be mesmerising, scary, sinister,caring, ever changing rebelloius in nature, but funny - he has stood out and proudly had us all thinking about other things more important.The Doctor with his Zygon Inversion speech being a global event that got everyone talking about the programme and the attack in Paris. How many other times did the Doctor go viral ?

    The BBC may be angry at Capaldi for speaking his mind by saying exactly what we all thought the programme is on too late, the lower ratings are because the children who love to see it were been exclued principally because it was on past their bed time - if the children who watch it are in bed, why would their parents who have no interest in the programme look at it ? The repeats were at 2 am, so how are ratings supposed to go up ? BBC 3 stopped doing reruns in favour of Top Gear, so seems as if it is not doing its best to promote the programme is it?. All the expense of the world tour to promote Capaldi then to do its best to kill DW off, makes no sense!!. Capaldi has done his best to help the BBC appearing on Larry King Now to talk about series 9 but, talking for a good part about BBC and it's troubles, his fear for its future.

    Capaldi is fantastic as a Doctor - knows his fans as he is still one himself - to be able to look at all the old episodes he wants while working must be great. Capaldi knows what this hiatus is doing to fans and getting irritated by it hismelf is only natural. The Olympics are on every four years and they've managed DW every time. Whoever is making the programme planning in BBC is making a mess of it.

    There is still plenty of time left for Capaldi as we're only really starting really know him. Series 10 should be great when it comes. I do hope Chibnall will get his chance to write for Capaldi as I'd like to see what they'd get up to. So long as Peter wants to be the Doctor let him stay. Just hope that'll be for a few more years, as I am enjoying him immensely.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Capaldi should stay, and Auntie Beeb would do better to own up to its entrenched grief it causes its actors, IMHO. If anything should change at all, it should be the BBC. It's already exhibited serious insanity by launching BBC America while persisting in denying Americans access to BBC content online for no better reason than the fact that Americans don't pay the UK's receiver tax. The BBC is at fault there, too, proving to the planet just how insane it really is.

    ReplyDelete