DOCTOR WHO What We Want To See From The Peter Capaldi Era

The months after a regeneration are always an exciting time for Doctor Who fans. What will the new Doctor be like? Will he bring a new dimension to the show? Will we see a new direction to the storytelling? Here the SFX team explain what they'd like to see from the Twelfth Doctor's reign in the TARDIS.

Dave Bradley (Editor-in-Chief):
When we saw Peter Capaldi's red-rimmed eyes in “The Day Of The Doctor” he looked angry, determined, so I hope we're going to see more of that – an unforgiving, uncompromising Time Lord. I also want to be scared. I know I'm a grown-up now and nothing will have the behind-the-sofa power of seeing a Dalek for the first time when you're a kid. But nothing has given me the creeps since the Weeping Angels first appeared. Let's have more of that, let's have Moffat creating situations where only the Doctor stands between us and sleeping with the light on.

Richard Edwards (Deputy Editor):
Peter Capaldi is a brilliant actor, so I think it's a given he'll be great in the role – as long as he's given the freedom to make the part his own. A lot's been made of his Malcolm Tucker past, but Capaldi's CV also features plenty of gentler characters – hopefully we'll see a Doctor who exploits that range.

I've got my fingers crossed the Sonic Screwdriver got broken in the regeneration. It's become a convenient "get out of jail free" card for the writers, and it's time the scripts allowed the the Doctor to get out of tricky situations with his ingenuity, rather than a magic wand.

I'm also hoping for less convoluted arc plots, fewer returning monsters, and better stories than we got in the second half of series seven. "The Name Of The Doctor" aside, too many scripts were average – or worse. I want to be surprised and exhilarated by the show on a regular basis as I was in New Who 's early days.The 50th anniversary special proved the show can still do it – we need more of that magic.

Jordan Farley (Staff Writer):
A Doctor who embraces his advanced years and starts acting like a fun-loving crazy old uncle again. New monsters. More horror. More multi-parters. Don't bother with the series arcs if the mystery is just going to make every episode except the finale frustrating. Less overly-complex plotting and more simple, but strong, ideas. Most of all I want a full, 13-episode series. No more of this split-run nonsense.

Dave Golder (Special Editions/Comic Heroes Editor):
I’m not sure what I want. When New Who returned, it was a bit of culture shock for me, as it was so, so searingly different to how I’d been expecting the return of Doctor Who . Within week, though, I had written a review saying. “This in not the Doctor Who I wanted, but I’m glad it’s the Doctor Who I’ve been given.”

And the show has continued to confound expectations and surprise me ever since. And I like that.

So I’m not going to make a wishlist. I expect the unexpected. And if Peter Capaldi plays the Doctor as a pantomime dame* with the Myrka as an assistant, I’ll be sniggering at the outrage on the internet.

(* Sorry, but that’s the main image I’ve been getting ever since Doctor Who Monthly produced that issue with Capaldi looking like the headmistress at St Trinian’s on the cover).

Adrian Hill (Advertising Manager):
I'd like to see our new Doctor stare the aliens to death! One of those scary-eye looks and the Daleks will be climbing over themselves to get back through the time vortex! I'd like to see a much darker Doctor and I think we have just found him.

Russell Lewin (Production Editor):
The Capaldi series will have a good, solid base: an uninterrupted run of autumn/winter episodes. So it's already got a head start, but what I hope to see from it is fun, exciting, risk-taking scripts. That might include a Doctor-lite episode (I know, I know, even though it's his first season!), two or three two-parters (with awesome cliffhangers) and NO returning monsters. Yep, it should be like Tom Baker's second season where there were no new adversaries at all, which made it seem particularly fresh and vital.

I reckon Capaldi will be a great Doctor so I hope he gets the stories he deserves.

Joseph McCabe (US Editor, West Coast)
What I want to see from the Peter Capaldi era of Doctor Who is Jon Pertwee.

Yes, it sounds terrible to suggest one Doctor should act like another, so before anyone calls for my head, understand that I don't mean this in the literal sense. One of the things I like best about the Third Doctor is that both he and his era are so distinct. No one could confuse the Third Doctor with those who immediately preceded and followed him, both of whom (though I love them dearly) offered more than a fair amount of quirk and whimsy. I had more than enough whimsy with Doctors Ten and Eleven. So I'm happy to see a more consistently serious portrayal. Even more than Capaldi's age, this would bring some much-needed range to the role...

Pertwee is also synonymous with a distinct family of characters: the world of UNIT, and his frequently recurring arch-nemesis, the Master. I'd love to see Capaldi get a supporting cast like that, one that inhabits an environment all their own. There are other elements of the Pertwee era that would prove useful to Capaldi -- the idea of an older actor who could still be dynamic and dashing, a slick wardrobe that again offered a break from the ragamuffin look of Doctors Two and Three, and of course the useful notion of a script editor whose ideas perfectly complement those of the executive producer, and who stays with the actor throughout his reign...

Last but not least, as we had for the first time with Pertwee's five-year run, I'd like to again see a long-term Doctor. It's now become commonplace for actors to vacate the role after three to four years, a boringly predictable move that chisels away at the audience's emotional investment in any one Doctor's fate. What I don't want is the Doctor as some sort of politician with a preset term of office. Let the actor and the audience grow with the character. Let's make all our fates gloriously uncertain again. Then we can properly pose the question at the heart of all good speculative fiction -- "What if?"

Will Salmon (freelance contributor):
Clara to stay and continue in her new, subtly improved form from “The Day Of The Doctor”. Less mystery, more character!

No multi-Doctor story this season: let Capaldi bed himself in – but then unite him with McGann in 2015 for a one-off.

Ambition: “The Day Of The Doctor” has given the show a significant boost (insane ratings, box office clout, great reviews and big story stuff). Season eight needs to be every bit as ambitious. To be fair, it sounds like things are off to a good start with the hiring of talent like Ben Wheatley and – just maybe – Peter Jackson...

Some new scripts from Gareth Roberts and Paul Cornell would be very welcome too. I want to see the Capaldi Doctor meet James Corden’s Craig!

Nick Setchfield (Features Editor):
I want him to surprise us. He’s such an instantly thrilling choice that we all have the Capaldi era already in our heads – a scowlier, wrinklier place, full of Malcolm Tucker fire and glaring eyeballs, the Doctor’s universe darkening at the edges. I’ve seen so many Tumblr mock-ups of his potential costume that I’m prematurely cosplaying in my imagination. There’s a scarf, right? And something a bit flappy and steampunk? Or is it one of Malcolm Tucker’s old suits?

And the stories, the stories… “Planet Of The Stuff”. That’s a good one. But not as good as “Stuff Of The Daleks”. That’s a cracker. Yes, we already know the Peter Capaldi era. We’ve replayed it endlessly on mental Blu-ray. We’ve read the dog-eared Target novelisations. So let him surprise us, startle us, maybe even shock us. Let his eyes be the equivalent of the TARDIS doors, opening onto the unknown. Let him take our hands and tell us to run, into all those uncharted, unimagined Saturdays ahead…

Doctor Who will return in 2014.

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