New York – My relationship with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor started when I attended the New York press event for the 2014 world tour as his tenure on the show was just beginning. Last year I was there for Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, and Matt Lucas at The Theater at Madison Square Garden as a part of New York Comic-Con. And now, this year—today, in fact—I got a chance to be there at the Garden again as Capaldi returned in anticipation of his last episode, this year’s Christmas Special.
The day very much had the feeling of goodbye. The hour-long event began with a video of some of Capaldi’s best moments and ended with video of fans thanking him for his time as the doctor. In between, Capaldi answered questions, laughed, joked, and reminisced.
I always have difficulty with the notion of someone leaving a long-running series (or film franchise). It seems like not an “easy,” but a comfortable way to continue making a living, something that can be difficult for actors to find. When talking about his departure, Capaldi indicated that comfort is not the sort of thing he’s looking for. Being The Doctor is something he said he’s never really had a handle on and that he never did want a handle on it. He is leaving then, at least in part, because he doesn’t ever want to be comfortable in the role and he could see a day where that would happen.
He also described making the show as something of a factory, a good factory, but a factory nonetheless. At one point, he said that when you’re doing the show you don’t really have a second that not about the show, a sentiment that makes sense when you consider the worldwide nature of “Doctor Who.”
Naturally, Capaldi talked about his two different first moments on the show, the regeneration from Matt Smith’s character and then his first day on his first episode. On his first of the two starts, he said, he was never paid while the latter had him, Jenna Coleman, and a crew member with smoke standing in the TARDIS ready to emerge. As for the lack of payment appearing in the regeneration, Capaldi said that he was told that the BBC just didn’t pay for that sort of thing.
Although he largely eschewed delivering big answers about what we can expect in the upcoming Christmas Special, he did say that, in part, it deals with his Doctor not wanting to regenerate and William Hartnell’s Doctor (played once more by David Bradley) helping him work through that. And, while filming may be done, Capaldi does still have some post-production work before the torch is passed once and for all.
Looking towards the future and Jodie Whittaker’s tenure, he appeared pleased with the choice and although he hasn’t offered her advice, he feels as though she doesn’t really need any. And, as for what he’s doing next, while he did promise he was going to be working with Armando Iannucci again next year, he declined to discuss specifics of the project. He also made sure to note that he’s signing autographs and taking pictures this afternoon.
As for me, Capaldi’s time in the TARDIS may not go down as my favorite stint on the show, but I think he brought something undeniably wonderful to the blue box and, as with any Doctor’s departure, he will be missed.