I’m sure many Whovians can remember where they were when they found out the actor chosen to be the next Doctor. Personally, I had been surreptitiously checking my phone during choir rehearsal and had just started playing the organ prelude for church services when the news broke. My roommate passed by on the way to her pew and I made the announcement before getting back to “Upon the Cross of Calvary.”
Here are some factoids to introduce good Peter to us:
He is an Academy Award-winning director.
He is Scottish.
He is 6 feet tall.
He is 55 years old, the same age that the original Doctor was when cast.
He was in a punk band with Craig Ferguson.
In the interview following his announcement as the 12th Doctor in Doctor Who, Peter commented on the strangeness of adapting to his next role. The interviewer asked if he practiced saying, “Hello, I’m the Doctor” in the mirror. He remarked that, when looking in the mirror, “I’m a little surprised now to see Doctor Who looking back.”
Since he has many fantastic characters to his name, I’m not surprised. Whether a Roman marble vendor or a spin doctor, Peter Capaldi is about as versatile as they come.
It is my pleasure now to review ten of those roles so you and I might familiarise ourselves a little more with the man called The Doctor.
10. Caecilius - Doctor Who
I can’t say if there are many Latin students reading this article, but I was familiar with the name Caecilius long before Donna and the Doctor showed up in ancient Pompeii. In middle school, I chose to take Latin instead of French or Spanish and the textbook told the story of an ordinary Roman family. There was the father, Caecilius, the mother, Matella and the son, Quintus. They led a fairly ordinary life until the last few chapters of the book.
I remember skipping ahead just so I could read the part where Caecilius is essentially sipping a latte with his friends at Starbucks and saying “Ego solicitus sum!” He was worried that there was a strange cloud over the local mountain. Not too many chapters later, poor old Caecilius was crushed by a collapsing wall during “volcano day.” Quintus escaped with his former slave to Rome where – in Book 2 – he became a glass-blower.
So. imagine my delight when John Moran brought this ancient family back to life in Doctor Who’s Season 4 episode “The Fires of Pompeii.” The family is as typical as you would expect – the mother worries about the father’s career, the son balks at his parents’ authority and the daughter is trying to live up to everyone’s unrealistic expectations.
At the head of this household is Caecilius, who buys the TARDIS as “modern art” and is always apologising for the fact that his guests are Celtic. He wants the best for his family. He is the King of flattering speech, interpreting the augur’s babbling as genius. He is not too proud to take advice from strangers.
I think this character’s flair for forward-thinking, emergency preparedness and tolerating even the most bizarre guest will transfer well to Peter’s interpretation of the Doctor.
This article was first posted on August 8, 2013