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Peter Capaldi Announces He’s Leaving DOCTOR WHO

Peter Capaldi Announces He’s Leaving DOCTOR WHO

Let’s face it: as soon as an actor is announced as the next Doctor on Doctor Who, the question quickly becomes when they’re going to leave. That’s certainly been the case for current lead, Peter Capaldi. Already the final series for longtime lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat, it’s long been speculated that Capaldi would leave the series following the upcoming tenth. And during a radio appearance on BBC Radio 2, Capaldi dropped the bomb that, yes, he will indeed leave the show after Series 10 bows, slated to premiere on April 15th.

A later tweet from Doctor Who Magazine—which confirmed the release date for Series 10—announced the 2017 Christmas special as Capaldi’s regeneration episode.

Capaldi said in full:

“One of the greatest privileges of being Doctor Who is to see the world at its best. From our brilliant crew and creative team working for the best broadcaster on the planet, to the viewers and fans whose endless creativity, generosity and inclusiveness points to a brighter future ahead. I can’t thank everyone enough. It’s been cosmic.”

So what does this mean? Three series worth of adventures isn’t that long in the grand scheme of things, but it’s far from usual. In fact, three series has essentially become the unofficial standard amount of time to play the Doctor: William Hartnell did three and some change, followed by Patrick Troughton who also did three. Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker were in it much longer—five and seven series, respectively—but Fifth Doctor Peter Davison did three at the specific advice of Troughton. Colin Baker was only contracted for three years (even though he only did two seasons) and Sylvester McCoy did three years, culminating in the show getting canceled.

While Christopher Eccleston only did the one full series, David Tennant and Matt Smith each did three plus a few specials. Although—and this goes especially for Smith’s time—the amount of episodes actually produced in the New Who era was far less than the amount of time the actors were under contract. From the announcement of his casting in early 2009 until his departure at Christmas 2013, he spent close to five years as the official Doctor, though BBC’s weird schedule-shifting meant that huge swaths of time without any production occurred.

Day of the Doctor 2

This has been true for Capaldi as well: he was announced in mid-2013 and he’ll vacate the role at the end of 2017 with only a total of 40 episodes, the least of the new series’ multi-year Doctors. It often feels like he just began, especially when we’ve, essentially, missed out on a full year with the Doctor (2016 had only a Christmas special). It seemed plausible for Capaldi to be the one to break the 3-series mold, given his massive, lifelong fandom for the show—and truly how much he clearly adores being the Doctor—but comments last year about how he thinks the BBC is mishandling the show seemed to illustrate how dissatisfied he was on a larger level.

Picture shows: Peter Capaldi as the Doctor

And, it’s also possible—though I’m entirely speculating here—that he heard what the BBC and new showrunner Chris Chibnall had in mind for Series 11 and ultimately decided not to return. A similar thing happened with Tennant, who met with Moffat about possibly staying on. However, it might also be emblematic of the direction of the show changing dramatically, and in a direction Capaldi wasn’t into. There was also a rumor that the BBC wanted an entirely new cast for series 11, asking Capaldi and not-even-premiered-yet companion Pearl Mackie to vacate. I tore that rumor down, but it might not be entirely false given today’s announcement.

Picture shows: Peter Capaldi as the Doctor

Regardless of who the companion is, we now know we’ll have a new Doctor. Let the speculation circus commence as to who will be the Thirteenth Doctor—my pie-in-the-sky hopes are for either Eva Green or David Oyelowo—but I’m sure we’ll get an announcement sometime after Series 10 airs.

Share your thoughts about all this mishugas in the comments below!

Images: BBC


Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor and the resident Whovian for Nerdist. Follow him on Twitter!

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