Peter Capaldi challenges fans to guess Who inspired his Doctor

The new Time Lord has a book filled with quotes and images that have inspired his performance


The Doctor may be the same man but with each new actor there is a chance to reinvent the character, giving him a new set of personality traits and quirks. Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor will be no different, with the actor recently saying that he was inspired by a “large selection” of people when it came to building the persona of his incarnation – even though it took a while for him to feel like he actually was the Doctor. 


“I won’t name names because it’s more fun for people to spot them,” he says of his inspirations. “I have a book, though. I started to collect images and quotes from people I thought were Doctor Who-ish. They might have a turn of phrase or a certain look that works… so I brought these things together.”

“Sometimes I’d look in the mirror and think, that’s just me. That’s not him. But some days he’d look back and I’d try to catch it. It’s not an intellectual process it’s just an instinctive relationship.”

Show-runner Steven Moffat has described Capaldi’s Doctor as, “older, trickier, fiercer,” while writer Mark Gatiss has said that he has a “madness in his eyes.” 

“All that’s true but he’s also joyful,” Capaldi told The Sunday Times. “One thing the show does well is balance the epic and the domestic. You can go from the edge of the universe to a pedestrian precinct. This Doctor loves watching stars being born in Andromeda; he’s also thrilled to see litter blowing across the car park at dawn.”

As well as his Doctor being different, Capaldi also says that the tone of series eight will shift from Matt Smith’s era.

“We still blow a lot of s**t up. That’s very important, but it’s going to be a bit different from what we’ve seen over recent years. A bit more gravity.

“Some situations are more sombre and I think there are more rooted dramatic scenes. Over the past two or three years [with Matt Smith], which I’ve loved, there has often been a breathless vigour; we still have that attack, but we have another level of drama, another tone. And the scenes are longer.”


Peter Capaldi makes his debut in series eight opener Deep Breath, which premieres on BBC1 on 23rd August.