News digest “The Week” has recently published an online article entitled “Why Peter Capaldi has a bigger challenge than any other Doctor Who in history”. The author explains how the new Doctor has a tough ride ahead, speaking of “sky high expectations” and “controversial changes”. What has raised some fans’ hackles, however, is that the piece comes across as a little impertinent. The article says of Capaldi’s Doctor – “His sex appeal is questionable.” There are two possible reactions to this statement.
The first is to shrug one’s shoulders. Many of us couldn’t care less. We even used to take pride in the fact that while Star Trek’s Captain Kirk would boldly snog where no man had snogged before, our hero was above such things. Now, like back then, we are not so shallow as to give a second thought as to whether the Doctor is physically attractive or otherwise. We just consider ourselves lucky to have such an experienced and personable actor in the role. Besides, the Great Moff has reassured us that the new Doctor won’t be like Ten or Eleven, those “boyfriend Doctors”, so all talk of “sex appeal” might be irrelevant if the Doctor is heading back to his asexual roots.
The second reaction is to exclaim “Arrant nonsense!” to quote the Third Doctor. Though it is a highly subjective issue, many would argue that Capaldi’s Doctor does indeed have sex appeal. He might not be every Ten and Eleven fangirl’s cup of tea, but he cuts a fine figure, trim as Tennant himself. Maybe we should also consider those other senior superstars such as George Clooney and Sean Connery. Their advanced years have contributed to their appeal and the same arguably goes for Capaldi.
The whole issue of “sex appeal” started with the first “romantic” Doctor, Paul McGann. The Eighth controversially smooched Grace in the TV Movie and things have never been quite the same since.
It can be argued that a kiss guarantees a dramatic moment and makes the protagonists seem real, three dimensional and easier to identify with. What’s more, the promise of a kiss inevitably leads to a tabloid headline or two with tantalising photos to bring in the casual viewers and bump up the ratings.
Will the Twelfth Doctor kiss Clara? Who knows? After all, the Ninth kissed Rose despite their visible age gap – hundreds of years if you think about it. What’s more, a kiss in Doctor Who is not always a romantic kiss – there is very often a timey-wimey plot point behind it. Besides, we all know that the world doesn’t end if the Doctor “dances”.
There are even precedents in the Classic Series. Take the First Doctor’s ‘romance’ with Cameca in “The Aztecs” or the Third Doctor’s obvious fondness and affection for Jo Grant. It can be argued that Sarah Jane was in love with the Fourth Doctor, or at least that was how their relationship was spun in “School Reunion”.
If I were a betting man like Sabalom Glitz, I’d certainly place a few grotzis on a Twelfth Doctor kiss. Despite Steven Moffat’s assertions to the contrary, I believe the showrunner’s innate instinct for good television means that he considers any dramatic ploy to be fair game – including the new Doctor kissing. Without doubt any such scenes will be skillfully handled, be they in a tender, timey-wimey or humourous context. ‘The Week’ has no need to worry.
But will or won’t he? Will there be canoodling with Capaldi? Only Steven Moffat knows for sure and he is certainly not one to kiss and tell!
STOP PRESS – Peter Capaldi addresses this very issue in an interview published in today’s “Sunday Times Magazine”. Something tells me I’ve lost my grotzis!
“It is safe to come out from behind the sofa, parents. The actor Peter Capaldi says his Doctor will not be flirting with his beautiful young assistant when the Time Lord returns next month.
Capaldi, 56, rules out a potentially toe-curling Doctor Who romance with Clara Oswald, played by Jenna Coleman, 28.
“It’s not what this Doctor’s concerned with,” said Capaldi, whose predecessors Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith all seemed to be attracted to their female sidekicks.
“It’s quite a fun relationship, but no, I did call and say, ‘I want no Papa-Nicole moments.’ I think there was a bit of tension with that at first, but I was absolutely adamant.”
The Papa-Nicole reference relates to the Renault Clio car adverts in the 1990s that created the impression of a romance between an older man and a young woman.”