DWM 465 Looking Forward

Husband and I have been arguing. You see, I thought Peter Capaldi was definitely going to be the new Doctor, just like all the rumours were saying. He, however, thought that Peter Capaldi was absolutely not going to be the new Doctor, despite what all the rumours were saying. Now, it would obviously be very bad form to use a Doctor Who Magazine column to go I TOLD YOU SO to my husband, but, well. I WAS RIGHT! HA!

The boys’ birthday is in October, but they’re already excited about it (it’s currently the beginning of August). I cannot imagine being excited about a forthcoming birthday, especially now the number of candles on my cake exceeds forty. ‘Getting excited’ is just not a thing that happens to me very much. I mean, I was very interested in who would be the next Doctor, but there was no unbearable tension in the hours leading up to the live BBC announcement, I just hoped I would win the argument.

But now… I can’t help it. I’m suddenly really, really excited. However much I pressed my point, there was a part of me that thought it wouldn’t be him. Too big a name to commit to something as mad and life-absorbing as becoming the new Doctor. The announcement would be made and it would be someone we’d never heard of and we’d dash off to IMDB and try to work out if we’d seen him (or her) in anything. Ha! No! It was him and he is *brilliant*! (Have you guessed yet that I’m really thrilled with the choice of new Doctor?)

Mind you, the announcement didn’t come without a brief moment of uncomfortable truth as I realised what an awful Doctor Who namedropper I must be when Fan Twin greeted the announcement with ‘Is he a friend of yours, Mummy?’ ‘Er, no,’ I replied. ‘Then why did you shout YES!!!! like that and punch the air?’ ‘Well, I was just really pleased…’ OK, OK, so I may point out ‘that’s one of Mummy and Daddy’s friends inside that Dalek’ almost every time, and Gary Russell’s name in the credits is *always* greeted with a cheer, but I didn’t think I was that bad…

The boys have (obviously) watched Doctor Who for quite a long time now, but we think that the first episode that they really *watched* watched as in following the plot and so forth was The Eleventh Hour. (Fan Twin insists that he remembers popping his head out of his moses basket at the age of ten weeks and watching The Runaway Bride, but I suspect this is not actually entirely true.) Readers of previous columns may also remember that Non-Fan Twin was distraught at the loss of the Tenth Doctor. So yes, I was slightly worried about how they’d take the news of the Eleventh Doctor leaving, as he’s the one whose adventures they’ve followed in minute detail. It turned out, though, that they were fine about it. No tears. Now I realise that appears incredibly insulting to Matt Smith, but they’ve loved him as the Doctor so it’s clearly not a case of indifference. So why?

My first memory of Doctor Who (and I have told this story many times, so please excuse me if you’ve heard it before) is of the end of Part Three of City of Death, which scared me so much – I have skelephobia, which is as far as I know not a real word – that I refused to walk under the bathroom light for a month in case I got Kerenskied (also probably not a real word). Because my family didn’t watch Doctor Who as a rule I saw very little of Tom Baker’s stuff, yet he *was* the Doctor. He was everywhere; part of the wallpaper of a Seventies childhood (not literal wallpaper – you had to wait until the Fifth Doctor for that – and yes I do know someone who had that actual wallpaper, hello Paul!). Scarf, hat (even though he didn’t wear his hat that often), jelly babies – that was Doctor Who. He was everywhere – toys, easter eggs, underpants (and yes, I do know someone who had those actual underpants, hello Phil!). So when Tom Baker left, it felt as though a great chunk of our childhood was detaching itself like a melting iceberg, and for my sons, that moment came with the departure of David Tennant. He’d just always been there, always been the Doctor (and I can’t pretend that his being on telly for more weeks a year than we get now didn’t help that along).

For me, when Peter Davison left, it was OK – despite the fact that by then I was a fully fledged, DWM-buying, DWAS-joining fangirl who thought he was wonderful. It’s always your first regeneration that’s the hardest. Part of your life, gone for good. But when it happens again – well, you know it’s going to be OK, because it was OK last time. You can look forward. And even if you’re a forty-one-year-old adult who’s now witnessed (more or less) seven regenerations, you’re allowed to get excited about what’s to come. Especially if what’s to come is a brilliant actor who is almost certainly going to be brilliant.

Did I mention I’m really excited? I am *really excited*. Peter Capaldi!

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I am genuinely skelephobic, as stupid as that may be. And DWM chose to illustrate this column with a picture of a skeleton. THANK YOU DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE, I LOVE YOU TOO.