After playing the role for almost four years, Scottish actor Peter Capaldi is handing over the keys to the Tardis and regenerating. If this was any other television programme, then the star quitting the show would surely spell disaster. But for Doctor Who; it’s business as usual.
In a tense and emotional finale to the series 10, Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor lost his companions, faced down an army of Cybermen, and met two incarnations of his arch nemesis: the Master. The episode ended with Capaldi, mortally wounded, stumbling out of the Tardis into an arctic landscape, bathed in a familiar orange glow.
If you’re as big of a nerd as I am, then you probably noticed a lot of allusions to The Tenth Planet, William Hartnell’s last episode as the original Doctor, which triggered the first regeneration in Doctor Who’s history. Back in 1966, when our favourite Time Lord keeled over and died, then changed into actor Patrick Troughton in an explosion of light, it was a pretty seismic shock to audiences watching at some. But now, some 51 years later, is the fourteenth regeneration capable of a twist as mind-blowing? In a word: hell yes it is.
Most of us will be pretty sorry to see Capaldi go (even those people who still just want David Tennant to come back) but as the Doctor himself once said: “life depends on change and renewal,” and the BBC have just announced a very big change.
On Sunday July 16, after the Wimbledon Men’s Final, BBC Wales announced that the Doctor won’t just be changing his face; he’ll be changing his gender as well! It’s official: Jodie Whittaker is the first actress to play the role, and the Doctor is going to become a Time Lady. Needless to say, this announcement has been met with widespread debate.