When the Beeb revealed there would be an announcement about “Doctor Who” at midnight, I was excited. What could it be? I groaned, however, when a fellow fan tweeted that said announcement was only an announcement about another announcement. I had been waiting hours, now I would have to wait days. Days, a whole two of them, before a lapel-fingering Peter Capaldi would make his Doctorial debut to the world!
The clues had been there. Tickets were available online for a new show about Doctor Who, but there were very few details about it. Most odd. Why hadn’t my Metebelis 3 spider sense tingled? And why had the name Peter Capaldi materialised out of nowhere, as the favourite among the bookies? They’d of course be choosing a young unknown again. Yet Capaldi would be perfect, I mused. One thought, however, didn’t cross my mind. Why have a show to announce the Doctor, if the guy to walk out on stage was a complete unknown? It would be an anti-climax and potentially embarassing for all concerned.
Sunday came. Much later seven o’clock did too. I started to worry about how the fans in the audience would behave. Would we come across as total saddos, confirming age-old prejudices? Would we groan or worse, boo, if we didn’t like the new actor? We might show ourselves up in the eyes of world.
Luckily, Zoe Ball instantly reassured me with her self-confidence and smiles. The fans were safely hidden away in the shadows, only to clap dutifully when prompted. Initially, the focus of the show was the guests. We were enchanted by the wonderful Bernard Cribbins, our minds almost taken off the impending arrival of a new Doctor. Peter Davison positively shone. I remember him once back in the Eighties saying how much he hated appearing on chat shows and having to be witty. But tonight he was so self-assured and a positive joy to watch. Davison looked so young, his long white hair flowing, almost identical to his blond locks of yesteryear.
I’d never heard of Rufus Hound and I felt so sorry for the guy when he got his Whovian facts wrong. When he said “Peter Eccleston”, yet again my spider sense failed me. I thought it was just a slip of the tongue. Then came the Great Moff. We listened intently, in reverent silence. He spake: “New Doctor, thou shalt be different from Matt!”. Now my spider sense really was tingling. “So it can’t be a young actor. It’s got to be….”
Zoe looked nervous. She outstretched her arm, to welcome the new Doctor. We saw his hand. I’d never looked so intensely at a hand before. “Please let there be wrinkles!” And before I could dwell on the oddity of that thought, came the name: “PETER CAPALDI!” I jumped off the sofa and screamed. “YES!” It was as if my football team had scored an amazing ninetieth minute goal! My eyes were now centimetres away from the screen. “Fans, please don’t boo!”, I prayed, “Peter, please don’t be shy!”. But they didn’t and he wasn’t. Pulling a quick Hartnell impression, Capaldi won them over. When he sat down, he charmed Zoe and us all with his stories and obvious joy to be playing the Doctor.
And now? I’m certainly not going to worry about 2014 Doctor Who. First we’ve got two massive episodes to enjoy this year. I am, of course, hoping for some exciting first few words from the Twelfth. What will they be? Is it Christmas yet? And that was me speaking, not the Doctor!