The Doctor Who season nine finale, ‘Hell Bent’ saw viewers and the Doctor bid a final farewell to Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman). We won’t spoil the episode right now, but if you’ve already watched it, read our review HERE.
Of course, Clara’s departure now means that the Doctor is without a companion. We know that he will be joined by his wife, River Song (Alex Kingston) for the 2015 Christmas special, but as yet, no casting has been announced for anyone who could possibly be joining the Time Lord in his TARDIS when season ten comes around.
Talking to the Radio Times for their Christmas issue, Peter Capaldi has been sharing his thoughts on what he thinks the new companion should be like; the traits they need, the personality and most specifically... their gender:
"With the best will in the world, I don't want a bloke, because I'm frightened that they'll give him all the action and I'll be standing around spouting scientific gobbledygook... 'Oh, Peter's not up to chasing those Zygons down the corridor, let the chap do it.' And that would be awful. I want to chase the Zygons!"
The current Doctor has spoken previously of his desire to have a companion who is a “bit of fun” and a good contrast to his character, who can be quite dark at times:
“You need someone to draw him out of that, and also to throw that into contrast. So someone who can run, scream and be quite glamorous – glamorous in any demanding situation."
Capaldi speaks with the added perspective of having been a long-time fan of the show too; so his thoughts are not necessarily just what he wants to work with as an actor but rather what he feels works well for Doctor Who as a whole. He adds that he was a fan of Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper, and the “clear, working class voice” she brought to the show. Looking even further back, Capaldi cites Tom Baker and John Pertwee’s relationships with their companions as something he wishes to emulate.
"I quite like the idea of classic Doctor Who, which I must probably identify as Jon Pertwee or Tom Baker. Which is Jon Pertwee with Katy Manning and Elisabeth Sladen; and Tom Baker with Elisabeth Sladen – I just think that combo of the slightly strange and alien Time Lord with the intelligent, enthusiastic and inquisitive girl is a good combo. I don’t know why – but it just seems to work.
"And also [the male-female partnership in Doctor Who] has no romantic component, so I think it allows both characters to operate to their full extent. They’re never taken into a cul-de-sac of romance."
Despite some fans longing for a romance between the twelfth Doctor and Clara, Capaldi was adamant it would never happen, saying he felt it would be “creepy.” But previous incarnations of the Doctor have seen romance, and arguably the greatest pairing of the show was David Tennant’s Doctor with Rose Tyler; the pair were very much in love and it added an entirely new perspective to the show.
Capaldi is not and never has been that type of Doctor though; he’s always seemed far more alien and certainly less human than Tennant or Matt Smith’s incarnations, though that did alter somewhat toward the end of season nine when we saw his very real, very tangible grief for the loss of Clara.
Romance aside, Capaldi talks sense when he discusses the dynamic that the Doctor must have with his companion, and, in terms of viewers, it’s a more enticing prospect to see the male Doctor offset with a strong female companion; someone for young girls to aspire to be like and for the male viewers to admire.
Showrunner Steven Moffat seems to be leaning toward a female companion too; having said he is having “specific ideas” about the role but that he hasn’t got a “specific actress” in mind just yet. He also added that he wants a different dynamic this time around, so could we see an older companion to match with Capaldi, maybe, or someone young, a complete novice?
Either way, if the new companion is female, it doesn’t rule out the possibility of a male companion in the future; or a female Doctor, for that matter.
The Doctor Who Christmas Special, ‘The Husbands of River Song' will air on BBC1 and BBC America on Christmas Day.
Source: Radio Times