As the Doctor watches Clara Oswald fly off in a TARDIS of her very own, and Doctor Who bids a fond farewell to Jenna Coleman, thoughts inevitably turn to who should replace her.
River Song is returning for the Doctor Who Christmas special of course, but beyond that, who should be the new companion for the next generation of the Peter Capaldi era? And do they have to be a woman?
Showrunner Steven Moffat has some ideas, and seems to be leaning towards another female companion, telling RadioTimes.com, “I’m beginning to have an idea of the kind of person, specific ideas but not a specific actress,” although he added that, “We’re definitely looking for a different dynamic.”
But Capaldi has thoughts of his own about who he might like to work with. A life-long fan, Capaldi’s connection to Doctor Who is much more intimate than most actors – so any decision needs to sit well with him.
In the Radio Times Christmas issue, he explains why he definitely doesn’t want a male companion.
“With the best will in the world, I don’t want a bloke,” he says, “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!”
He’s pretty clear that he doesn’t want to veer too far into old codger territory: “I’d like a bit of Jon Pertwee karate. A bit of Venusian aikido,” he laughs.
Peter Capaldi photographed exclusively for the Radio Times Christmas issue
A ‘working class’ companion?
This isn’t the first time the Twelfth Doctor has made his feelings known about who should star alongside him in Doctor Who.
“I think it’s nice to have someone who’s light-hearted, and fun,” he told RadioTimes.com recently. “And I think it’s good that the Doctor can be quite dark, sometimes, but 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.”
Read Capaldi’s comments in full in this year’s special Radio Times Christmas issue
Capaldi said he was a particular fan of Billie Piper’s Rose, a “clear, working-class voice” for the show’s revival, before going on to explain how the male-female dynamic was a key part of the show’s success.
“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.”
A male companion for a female Doctor?
Who has featured plenty of male companions before, from Danny Pink, Rory Williams and Mickey Smith all the way back to one of the Doctor’s first companions, Ian Chesterton.
However, Rigsy’s (Jovian Wade) role in Clara’s ‘death’ in Face The Raven might just have scuppered his chances of being the next male companion (not to mention that adorable little newborn).
There are plenty of male actors who would love to be whisked away in that blue box however. Series nine guest star Rufus Hound has said he’d be up for being the male companion for a female Doctor – and given that Hell Bent featured a white Time Lord regenerating into a black Time Lady, that possibility has moved a step closer.
But judging by Capaldi’s comments in the Radio Times Christmas issue and Moffat’s assertion that he’s looking for an “actress”, perhaps a male companion will have to wait until the next regeneration.
Read the full interview with Peter Capaldi in the legendary Radio Times Christmas issue, available from Saturday 5th December and nationwide from Wednesday 9th December. You can also download the issue from the Apple Newsstand.