Hartnell of Darkness

The biggest theory on the nature of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is that he will be “dark.” The vampiric black dark blue and red costume, his villainous character in Torchwood, and the new teaser casting doubt on his claim to be a “good man”–or even the Doctor–all lend credence to this theory.

Let’s take a look back at another Doctor oft considered “dark”: The Ninth, Christopher Eccleston. He was fresh from the Time War, and consumed with the guilt of committing a double genocide. He constantly reminded Rose and every other “stupid ape” that “Everything has its time and everything dies.” Even his leather jacket, arguably the most normal of all Doctor outfits, showed his no-nonsense approach and that he didn’t waste time showing off.

Despite all of this, he still couldn’t bring himself to sacrifice Rose to save Salt Lake City or to wipe out a dalek armada to save (half of) the Earth. Contrast this with the “lighthearted” Eleven who exploded an army of Cybermen for information or flat-out lied to Future Amy and then killed her to save Present Amy.

My point is that the Doctor is never fully dark or light. He’s more like a two-sided coin or yin and yang, because that’s good writing. Sure, we have clues of Capaldi’s character, but that’s certainly not a guarantee of what we’ll see. If anything, it’s more a red herring. He may be sarcastic and curt, but expect him to still care deeply for all most living creatures and that they stay living.

But apart from arbitrary and vague terms like light and dark, we can still speculate. My theory is that Capaldi will share several characteristics with William Hartnell. Not only that, but the show itself will feel very familiar after watching some First Doctor episodes.

It’s the 51st year of the longest running scifi show and the Doctor just started a brand new regeneration cycle, meaning Capaldi is the First Doctor of the second cycle. In addition to that, the new monochrome desktop theme of the TARDIS is somewhat reminiscent of the desaturated metallic look used in the 60’s.

Oh, you’ve redecorated! I don’t like it.

The last sentence in Time of the Doctor, “Do you happen to know how to fly this thing?” brings back memories of the First Doctor never quite sure where and when the TARDIS will land.

One silly complaint I’m sure you’ve heard of Capaldi is that he’s old. And he is! Well, compared to the other actors who played the Doctor. Capaldi is 56. Believe it or not, that’s one year older than William Hartnell was when he started the role.

Because of how old he was, Hartnell never really did any physical fighting or heavy lifting. He just came up with cunning plans and delegated the dirty work to Ian Chesterton. It’s very likely Capaldi will have a similar companion help him. Perhaps a school teacher from Coal Hill, just like Chesterton, where we’ve learned Clara teaches now as well. Additionally, this’ll help placate the fans who complained about the lack of a young male lead, killing two birds with one stone.

One more thing, look at how Peter Capaldi stood on stage after he was announced to be the Doctor.

I’m surprised this picture’s so well-lit, given how dark he clearly is.

Who else held his lapels like that? Hmm?

Ah, yes…

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