OK, so we’re all still waiting for the Whotastic Capaldilistic Spectacular as trailed from the moment Matt Smith threw off the wrinkly mask last Christmas.
Had we been Time Lords like the good Doctor we could all have hopped in our Tardises and flipped ahead to today moments after vacuuming the Brussels sprout gas from our combined Whovian digestive tracts.
The BBC has made many mistakes over the years — especially when it resurrected Basil Brush as a cuddly toy — but no more colossal a catastrophe has it heaped on its Beeblings than to interpose an eight month hiatus between the initial Capaldi-induced salivations of a nation and the opportunity to bite deep into tangible and evident regenerated Gallifrey rusk.
That said, casting an older Doctor is a masterstroke. Brilliant as he was, Matt Smith sadly came bundled with one or two scripts that were a tad too jokesy and YA novel for my liking, but now Moffat and Co have hooked the American audience with our very best weirdsily eccentric Brit fayre (and thrown in Benedict Cumberbatch as a kind of luxury after dinner mint) maybe we can expect a return to a more gravitas-based imaginary weightlessness.
I just hope the budget extends to pressing a few new monster masks. All those cybermen, Sontarans, Silurians and (especially) weeping angels have hogged the galaxy by the same kind of default as Apple holds its customers to ransom with its childish products:
“We made ‘em, so now you’re gonna have to stick ‘em”.
I’d like to see a few Draconians in series 8. How well they’d suit the times! With their penchant for unopposable leadership and their ‘weirde heades of myriad bobble’ they’d be winners. Wouldn’t mind seeing another (and better) airing for the Ice Warriors too. The Troughton incarnations very definitely had me behind the settee as a kid with their scary wheezing, though I have to confess that it’s so long ago maybe I went looking for my Grandad a few times while those icy beasts marauded. His coal-riddled lungs induced many a post-Grandstand collapse — and it was always warmer in our old house behind the settee.
Ok, ok — monsterwise, I’m up for anything but the Tractators.
As I understand it, the Master is back, and if truth be told I’d have him over the rest of the rubbery hordes any day. Shame he’s rumoured to have moved on from being John Simm. I have no idea why the Beeb is trawling Hollywood for a replacement — how many better actors in the world are there than John Simm, after all? — but if we know anything at all about this fab sci-fi show it’s that it owes its longevity to the regeneration trick first pulled when William Hartnell got de-Docced back in the mid-60s. My guess is they’ll go for Will Ferrell or Beyonce.
Whatever — the main event is Capaldi himself, and as I mentioned in a previous blog post, I’m more excited by the prospect of him assuming the John Smith mantle than if James May turned up on my doorstep in an impossibly unfashionable jeans ‘n’ shirt combo and offered to cook me a no-expense-spared sherry trifle.
Capaldi’s was the blade of thespianery that cut through the travesty of The Musketeers like an X-rated Wilkinson Sword ad at a kids’ Finding Nemo matinee. Stick that in a pair of Docs and a Crombie and you’re winning. Throw in a ‘rediscovered Gallifrey with a conundrum’ plot twist, and your sensation of winning becomes more pulse-pounding than a Dalek Rel countdown commencing at a figure less than their customary zillion thousand. Layer on a copious splash of Mystery Boosted 12th Doctor Regeneration Effect, and the goosebumps rising on your flesh like Menopteran hives have the capacity to blot from the horizon any of the disused quarries masquerading as mountainous wastelands whose JCB-scarred surfaces played host to innumerable curt off-camera Pertwee remarks such as, “fuck this for a game of soldiers — I dream only of playing a talking comedy scarecrow.”
I can only hope that the eight month wait for Capaldi has not been in vain. How tragic it would be if the opening scene of series 8 induced that same unnerving sensation deep within me as when I first saw the cover of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance...
Clara backed against a hexagon array. “Doctor? Is it really you?”
“Indeed,” said Capaldi, padding his face with his fingertips, “but now it’s time to ring a few changes.”
“New costume? New villains? New opening credits?”
Capaldi shook his head. “Sorry. New companion.”
A Dalek food processor attachment rose from the Tardis console, its superimposed death rays frazzling Clara in an instant. Her ashes lay still for a moment before a mistimed flash of theatrical smoke consumed them.
Moments later, Capaldi stood face to face with Elaine Paige. And Bonnie Langford.
“What are we doing?” said Paige, her grin wider than Matt Smith’s mysterious crack.
Capaldi whipped out a cane and threw on a top hat. “Let’s start with a few tap routines and meander our way to Oklahoma! After that maybe we can tackle Grease and Phantom.”
“Any chance I can high kick my way across the Tardis set like a pair of ginger scissors while you and Elaine hum the chorus from Evita?” said Bonnie, winking like her ocular muscles had been replaced by a Cyberman's stroboscope.
Capaldi’s head flipped back as he guffawed. “Natch, baby.”
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