CRAVEN: And Peter Capaldi is Who?!
Free Press Music Columnist
So by now, if you’re the sort who would care, you already know: The 12th Doctor is Peter Capaldi.
If you’re NOT the sort who would care, you’re probably wondering what the heck Craven is talking about in the sentence above. The 12th Doctor of what? And Peter Capaldi is who?
At 7 p.m. GMT on Aug. 4, it was announced that Scottish actor Peter Capaldi would be the 12th man to take up the sonic screwdriver as “Doctor Who,” the long-lived Timelord and namesake of the British series that has proven to be one of the U.K.’s greatest contributions to popular culture of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Well… 12th man if you don’t count Peter Cushing who played the doctor in a pair of motion pictures during the 1960s. Or any of the 15 or so actors who have played the Doctor on radio or in stage productions. (Most fans don’t.)
In Britain, although some were disappointed to see the Doctor had once again regenerated into a white male, the news was met with some pleasure, as Capaldi is popular there for his stint on the series “In the Thick of It,” in which he played a foul-mouthed and moody public relations man. (Capaldi won two British Comedy Awards for his role on the show.)
Here on this side of the Atlantic, fewer people were aware of Capaldi’s career — which is a shame, seeing as how his promotion from “W.H.O. doctor” in the motion picture “World War Z” to the titular hero of “Doctor Who” brings with it a number of startling firsts.
For instance, Capaldi is the first Oscar winner to play Doctor Who — although his Academy Award didn’t come for acting, but for directing instead. In 1994, Capaldi helmed for BBC Scotland the production of a hilarious short film called “Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life,” which ended up scoring an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film. His breathless, 19-second acceptance speech during the 67th annual Academy Awards included thanks to his collaborators on the film (including lead actor Richard E. Grant, who actually played Doctor Who in a 2003 BBC webcast!), the Academy and his “Mum and Dad.”
Capaldi is also the first former rock star to play Doctor Who, having fronted a Scottish new wave band that got its start under the name of the Bastards From Hell, but which eventually recorded as Dreamboys.
Also in the band with Capaldi was late night TV host Craig Ferguson on drums, and the hugely successful storyboard artist, Temple Clark, whose work has been used in the production of Harry Potter films and many other Hollywood blockbusters.
Craven, for one, cannot think of Capaldi without envisioning his turn as the heroic archeology student who charmed snake vampires with a set of bagpipes in Ken Russell’s delightfully daft horror romp “Lair of the White Worm” in 1988. But all of these accomplishments will probably take second seat now to Capaldi’s role as the most famous British science-fiction character of all time. Now that Peter Capaldi is Who, no one will ever again ask, “Peter Capaldi is who?”
Craven Lovelace is the producer of the Notes Blog & Podcast at http://cravenlovelace.com/notesblog and also writes about popular culture at the Cravenomena blog at http://cravenlovelace.com/cravenblog/. You can also find him on Facebook.
Notes is made possible by Tina Harbin of Real Estate West, the premier resource for all real estate information and services on the Western Slope.
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