If you're a fan of Doctor Who or even vaguely aware of its existence, then you'll know the current hot topic of debate is that of which actor should be selected to play the twelfth incarnation of the show's central character, as it was announced earlier this year that Matt Smith would be departing the show at the end of season 7. Friends and family have been divided in heated arguments over whether the Twelfth Doctor should be young or old, black or white, male or female, left-handed or right-handed etc. The Benedict Cumberbatch camp and the Tom Hiddleston faction are locked in bloody mortal combat. It's all been very painful to watch.
Hopefully all will settle down when the new Doctor is revealed in the next Christmas special (though given the difficult nature of maintaining secrecy, we may find out long before then), but to pass the time a new tantalizing glimpse at the audition process has been revealed by current showrunner Steven Moffat. The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine contains a reveal of Moffat's scripted line for the Twelfth Doctor auditions, including three scenes in total from various points of a hypothetical first episode. The first scene is perhaps the most interesting, as it shows Clara and the Doctor interacting in the immediate aftermath of his regeneration.
WARNING: it is extremely unlikely that these will be actual lines used in the first episode of season eight, especially since the fact that the Twelfth Doctor hasn't been cast yet prevents Moffat from getting into specifics about the new look. Perhaps it's just a skewed perspective after seeing Smith in the role for three seasons, but this script reads like it's been written specifically for Smith's incarnation of the character. Watch the Eleventh Doctor's first appearance on Doctor Who below, and then read the audition lines (transcribed by Doctor Who TV) for the Twelfth Doctor to compare.
THE DOCTOR: Right then, eyesight. Not bad, bit blue. Ears – not pointy, right way up, more or less level. Face – well I've got one. Oh, no – French!
THE DOCTOR: I've deleted French! Plus all cookery skills, and the breast stroke. And hopping. Never mind hopping, who needs to hop. Ohh, the kidneys are interesting. Never had that before – interesting kidneys.
CLARA: Are you all right?
THE DOCTOR: I don’t know, do I look all right?
CLARA: I don’t know.
THE DOCTOR: How’s the face? Seems all right from the inside. Nice action, responsive. Bit less heft on the chin. How is it?
CLARA: It’s… okay.
THE DOCTOR: Okay?
CLARA: It’s a bit… you know.
THE DOCTOR: No I don’t, I haven’t seen it yet.
CLARA: Maybe it’s just new.
THE DOCTOR: Have you changed height?
THE DOCTOR: You sure?
CLARA: It’s you, your height, you’re the one who’s changed.
THE DOCTOR: And look at your nose.
CLARA: What about my nose?
THE DOCTOR: It was really cute, I loved your nose, you should've kept it.
CLARA: I did, it’s the same nose, it’s the same all of me. You’re the one who’s… regenerated, whatever you call it.
THE DOCTOR: Are you wearing a smell?
CLARA: Do you mean perfume?
THE DOCTOR: Yes, I suppose it could be perfume.
CLARA: You've always liked that perfume, you said so.
THE DOCTOR: No I didn't, that was the Doctor.
CLARA: You’re the Doctor.
THE DOCTOR: Yes, I suppose I am. That’s going to take a bit of getting used to.
CLARA: Yeah, it really is.
The last scene (which has since been removed from the site, but can be read in full in the latest issue of DWM), was set in a little boy's bedroom and bears distinctive similarities to the Eleventh Doctor's first interactions with young Amy Pond. At a guess, it's possible that these audition scenes have been written as deliberately close to Smith's characterization of the character, in order to present the prospective Doctors with the challenge of making the role their own, despite being coaxed towards imitation. During the last audition process, Moffat said that he knew Smith was the right choice almost immediately:
"On the first day, the second or third person through the door was the one we wanted. [Smith] was just spot-on, right from the beginning, the way he said the lines, the way he looked, his hair... Just, 'Oh, that's him.'"
It's unclear from this audition script exactly what Moffat is looking for in the next Doctor (assuming for the moment that he doesn't simply want a Smith clone), or even whether he has a particular type that he's interested in casting. One of the benefits of having a complete physical rebuild of a character is being able to cast just about any actor in the role, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Moffat won't have a particular look in mind already.
Each incarnation of the Doctor seems to react to the regeneration process a little differently. The Tenth Doctor's commentary was limited to saying, "New teeth, that's weird," before resuming the conversation he'd been having shortly before regenerating. Conversely, the Twelfth Doctor seems to exhibit confusion at even comprehending that he is still the Doctor, which is somewhat unusual. It's also somewhat amusing that he attributes his new height, as well as his personal tastes in sights and smells, to changes in Clara rather than in himself.
Do you like this possible first glimpse at the new Doctor? What do you think it says about Moffat's audition tactics? Tell us your thoughts on the regeneration scene in the comments.
The Doctor Who 50th anniversary special will air all over the world on November 23rd, 2013.
Source: Doctor Who Magazine [via Doctor Who TV].