Doctor Who will soon be returning to our screens with its annual festive outing on Christmas Day, before season 10 airs in spring of 2017. With Peter Capaldi returning as the Doctor, season 10 will also introduce Pearl Mackie as Bill, the Doctor’s new assistant. The tenth season will also be the last for Steven Moffat, who will step down as showrunner after the 2017 Christmas special.
With a new showrunner arriving in the form of Doctor Who writer Chris Chibnall, talk had turned to whether Capaldi will stay on for season 11, which will arrive sometime in 2018. Given that season 10 will be Capaldi’s third season in the TARDIS, it seems rather logical that he would depart at the same time as Moffat - though Capaldi has revealed that he has been asked to stay on. Moffat has added that he had no reason to suppose he was writing out a Doctor at the end of season 10, so it has seemed settled that Capaldi will be staying after all.
That was, until a rumor surfaced that the BBC wanted Chibnall to start his tenure with an entirely clean slate, meaning a new Doctor and new companion after Mackie finishes but a single season. Again, the rumor makes perfect sense; Doctor Who ratings have been in a steady decline in recent years, and while the show still has a very large global fanbase, it’s declined from the heights of popularity that David Tennant and Matt Smith enjoyed during their runs as the Doctor. So…Capaldi is out?
Well, as it turns out, he hasn’t made up his mind. Speaking to Wales Online, Capaldi reiterated that he had been asked to stay, but further added that he hasn’t made his decision yet - mainly because the thought of saying goodbye is hard to contemplate. Capaldi has always been a huge fan of Doctor Who, so playing the Doctor has been a dream come true, no doubt. As he put it:
"I've been asked to stay on [for series 11]. I haven't made my mind up about that yet, mainly because I don't want to have to make that decision. I'm trying to avoid it!
"It's special. I'm lucky enough to be in touch with other Doctors, and we all agree how extraordinary it is to be in this position. To decide to leave is a tough decision for everybody. [It was] very tough for Steven [Moffat], so I'm just putting it off for as long as possible."
Adding that playing the Doctor is “delightful,” Capaldi went on to talk about the impact the role has had on his personal life, making it “more complicated” than it used to be:
"I was happy with my life [before]. I'd been very blessed already and there are things about doing the show that make life more complicated - certainly, being so visible is a new and different way to be. [But] it's so delightful to be in this position. People aren't really seeing me any more. They see Doctor Who, so it's a fantastic place to be. It's also finite, so I'm enjoying as it unfolds."
Weighing up Capaldi’s comments, it still seems as though it’s very likely he will leave the show after season 10, but he insists that his decision will ultimately depend on whether or not he’s having a good time making Doctor Who - and he makes no comment on the rumors that Chibnall will start season 11 with a fresh cast. Though his Doctor has been witty, quirky, and more like the Doctors of old (before Doctor Who’s relaunch in 2005), his performance has not won everyone over. It seems as though age does play a part, and maybe a younger Doctor would connect better with the audience.
The Doctor Who spinoff show, Class, has proven very popular in the U.K. and Canada, with its younger, more diverse cast. Might Doctor Who follow suit, and give the show a much needed overhaul when Moffat departs? And, if so, does the show need a younger actor to play the Doctor, or are there plenty of older actors more than capable of drawing large ratings? It's certainly going to be interesting to see how this all plays out. Let us know your thoughts!
Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio airs on BBC1, 5:45 pm on December 25, and on BBC America at an unconfirmed time. Doctor Who season 10 will air in spring 2017.
Source: Wales Online