Who’s New in Doctor Who

Many Doctor Who followers are still in an uproar after the announcement that actor Peter Capaldi will be taking the place of current Doctor Matt Smith on the popular BBC show later this year.

For those who don’t know, Doctor Who is about a time-traveling alien who voyages space in his blue police box called the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) saving planets from aliens. The Doctor is often accompanied by humans typically from London, England, who are called “companions.” Fans, also called “Whovians,” are known for being opinionated and supporting their favorite Doctors and companions. The show began in 1963 and showed until 1996 when they took a break; it was revamped and broadcasted again beginning in 2005.

The Doctor is unique from the other characters on the show because he is able to regenerate up to 12 times (the Doctor never dies, but instead his body changes every cell to create a new person who retains all the memories of the previous Doctors.) This means that many actors have taken up this role since William Hartnell was the first Doctor in 1963. Each regeneration has been unique, especially since the ages of the actors vary. Since 2005 there have been only 3 doctors; Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith.

Matt Smith has played the Doctor since 2010 when David Tennant left. He was the 11th and youngest actor to have this part. Viewers see him as a friend and have become attached to him. He announced this past June that he would be leaving the show causing fans to wonder who would take his place.

Viewers anticipated the announcement of the new doctor until August when BBC unexpectedly revealed Peter Capaldi as the next Doctor. No one had heard his name in relation to Doctor Who since his guest appearance during season four. He will continue the role for season eight, which will air during 2014.

When asked about the new Doctor, senior Samantha Bruce said, “I think the relationship between the Doctor and the companions will change, along with how the viewer’s relate to him.”

Capaldi is known for previously roles aimed at older audiences. Fans can expect a more grown-up Doctor who will appeal to the older “Whovians.” However, Doctor Who has many young viewers, so the writers will need to take that into consideration when creating a new personality for the Doctor’s twelfth regeneration. Capaldi will not only bring a different acting style to the show but he will also bring a different age from the actors that have most recently played the Doctor. Capaldi matches Hartnell for the oldest age taking this role, 55 years old.

No matter how much the Doctor changes, fans are always supportive. With a 12 regeneration limit to the character, fans are concerned that this might mean an end to the show. One of the writers of the show, Stephen Moffat, has hinted that the rule was more of a guideline, so there would be no reason that the Doctor couldn’t regenerate more times.

Big changes are ahead for the show with a new actor, and writers plan to keep audiences guessing about what it will be like until the next season of Doctor Who airs. Until then, Matt Smith will appear in the 50th anniversary episode and the Christmas special, where his character will regenerate, paving the way for Capaldi to take the spotlight as the newest version of the Doctor.