What is Peter Capaldi’s Doctor really like? Here’s what everyone’s been saying

Older, darker, madder, more alien, ruder but still sentimental - and strictly no flirting. We round up insights from all those who've been privy to the new Time Lord's performance


With a new era of Doctor Who about to dawn, there has been, understandbly, a lot of talk from a lot of people about what kind of Doctor Peter Capaldi’s 12th incarnation will be. To read a quote from only one person, however, is to get only one aspect of this older, more complex creation. But put all those quotes together and you start to build up a more vivd picture of just who we can expect in the new series… 


He’s older, but that’s good

“He’s going to give us a whole new kind of Doctor. We’ve got used to two brilliant iterations of the younger, more popular Doctor and they have both been superlative, but now it’s time for the old beast to snarl at you for a bit! Sometimes you see that a bit in Matt Smith’s Doctor. He will remind the people around him, ‘I’m not really like this.’ But I think Peter’s Doctor will make that even clearer.” – Steven Moffat, Flicksandthecity.com

“For a man in his mid 50s he’s very wiry. I think the pace and the energy will come differently. The way I’m writing it at the moment I don’t think there’ll be any lack of vigour or attack in the new one. I mean, look at Jon Pertwee – quite a physical, lively Doctor, and he was older…” – Steven Moffat, SFX

“He’s an older man in his 50s, but there’s something very, very youthful and schoolboy-ish about him when you meet him, very enthused and twinkling. The other night he said to me ‘Only 23 sleeps ’til I’m regenerating!’” – Steven Moffat, SFX

“I’m 1,995 years too young to play him, really. So I think he’s going to be quite happy to look his age.” – Peter Capaldi, Press Association 

He’s more alien 

“He’s more alien than he’s been for a while. He doesn’t quite understand human beings or really care very much about their approval.” – Peter Capaldi, Empire

“I think they’ve all been great since it came back. But what I’ve really missed is the mercurial, unknowable, frightening side of the Doctor. And Peter will give it that, I bet you anything.” – Capaldi’s former The Thick of It co-star Chris Addison, Radio Times

Which makes him harder to relate to for Clara

“With Matt’s Doctor, [Clara] felt quite safe, really. She knew she’d be caught if she was in danger, but this guy is a lot less human-friendly and a lot less patient. He’s more removed and inaccessible. You can’t quite access him in the same way” – Jenna Coleman, Empire

“I think [Clara] finds it very difficult to deal with him. He doesn’t really do much to change himself in order to make himself palatable for her, so she struggles a great deal to understand him and find a way to like him. He’s not a walk in the park” – Peter Capaldi, Sci-Fi Now

…Who he certainly won’t be flirting with

“There’ll be no flirting, that’s for sure. It’s not what this Doctor’s concerned with. It’s quite a fun relationship, but no, I did call and say, ‘I want no Papa-Nicole moments’… I was absolutely adamant.” – Peter Capaldi, The Sunday Times

He’s definitely not boyfriend material, because that’s not appropriate… The relationship with Clara is one of responsibility and debt and affection” – Peter Capaldi, Marie Claire

“Our vague idea is… the last two Doctors have been brilliant, and have been your ‘good boyfriend’ Doctors. But the Doctor isn’t always like that. There is the sort of Tom Baker, Christopher Eccelston end of the spectrum, where he is mad and dangerous and difficult.” – Steven Moffat, Doctor Who Magazine

Nor does he expect you to fancy him

”[Eleventh Doctor] Matt [Smith] and David [Tennant] are much younger than me, much more handsome. And that’s what people have decided they want to take from it. I don’t think that will be happening for me. I don’t expect to be anyone’s heartthrob” – Peter Capaldi, Marie Claire

“None of the Doctors are conventionally attractive, but they’re all arresting. Handsome men don’t quite suit. You need that oddity; you need somebody who is carved out of solid star, really” – Steven Moffat, Radio Times


“I love [Peter Capaldi]. He’s such a charmer. I was asked who I fancy between Matt [Smith] and him and I was like, ‘Peter Capaldi!’” – Pop singer and Doctor Who guest star Foxes, Digital Spy

He’s ruder 

“He has a tremendous ability with throwaway humour, and a lot of it is around the fact that sometimes he is terribly rude,” Moffat intriguingly teased. “I think kids will think he is the rude Doctor. You might want to cuddle him, but he really will resist” – Steven Moffat, SFX

“The new Doctor is unapologetic and a lot less patient. He’ll get the same job done, but he won’t beat around the bush at all; he’s straight to the point, he’s direct, he hasn’t got the patience of a human” – Jenna Coleman, Sci-Fi Now

“He’s not as immediately approachable and he’s not necessarily looking for your approval. I would like to restore the sense that when he says ‘Wait here, I’ll be back’ you really hope he’ll be back, but you’re not absolutely convinced…” – Steven Moffat, SFX

And unpredictable

“He’s a lot fiercer, bolder, darker, but he’s got this curiosity, this mad curiosity… He’ll keep pushing the line further and further into danger to try and satisfy his curiosity, to try and find things out.” – Jenna Coleman, Sci-Fi Now

“There’s madness in his eyes!” – Mark Gatiss, speaking to press at the 2014 BAFTA Television Awards

But is still sentimental

“He’s also joyful. 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” – Peter Capaldi, The Sunday Times

He is much more like the classic Doctors 

“Capaldi’s his own man but there are elements of [Tom] Baker and [Patrick] Troughton and [Jon] Pertwee. He’s inherently funny but inherently brooding and complicated, as a performer and a man.” – Director of series eight’s first two episodes Ben Wheatley, Empire


Doctor Who returns with feature-length episode Deep Breath on August 23rd at 7:50pm on BBC1.