Since the revival of Doctor Who in 2005, watching the series’ Christmas specials has become something of a tradition of the British household. The 2017 Christmas special will be the last episode for Peter Capaldi and it looks promising, bringing back former Doctor David Bradley and introducing Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor. With his swan song drawing near, it seems only fitting to look back to his first appearance as The Doctor.
Previous Doctor Matt Smith’s final episode ‘The Time of the Doctor’ was certainly a spectacle. What the episode lacked in Christmas spirit it more than made up for with epic sci-fi battles, the return of the Time Lords, and a whole new regeneration cycle being gifted to The Doctor on his deathbed. It was an emotional farewell, as all regenerations are, and Matt Smith’s acting was as brilliant as ever during his send off.
After a moving monologue about change and the passage of time, he disappeared in a flash. In his place, a bewildered and confused looking Peter Capaldi. Thus began three years of character development, angry speeches, and eyebrows so bushy they defy belief.
While Capaldi did manage to convey a lot in his brief appearance in ‘The Time of the Doctor’, his best performance in a Christmas special was without a doubt in the 2015 episode ‘The Husbands of River Song’. River Song had been a recurring character in the series for years by this point and actress Alex Kingston had acted alongside two of Capaldi’s predecessors. Despite her many appearances with Matt Smith’s Doctor however, her relationship with everyone’s favourite renegade Time Lord was more realistic and touching than ever when she was working with Capaldi. Perhaps it was their closeness in age, or perhaps it was merely a testament to Capaldi’s acting skills, but either way, the result was a beautiful and fitting send off for River Song.
While fans will no doubt be saddened by Capaldi’s departure, we can always look back on his time headlining the show and smile. Capaldi truly made the role his own and we can see, even when only examining the Christmas specials, how much love he had for the show.
While it is difficult to see him go, Doctor Who has always been a show that embraced change. It is good to look to the past, but even more important to look towards the future with optimism for all that is yet to come.
Image: aussiegall@ Flickr