Peter Capaldi nails the argument for why death is so important in Doctor Who

The Twelfth Doctor talks about how the show’s “very powerful death motif” is one of its “most potent mysteries”

Peter Capaldi, BBC Pictures, SL

Peter Capaldi has spoken about why death is such an important motif in Doctor Who.


The Twelfth Doctor has appeared throughout director James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction (which has just finished airing on AMC) to reflect on the genre and, in particular, his time on the BBC1 sci-fi drama.

In the sixth episode of the series, Capaldi discussed the fact that Doctor Who has been such a long-lasting series because of the ingenious idea of the Time Lord regenerating and the lead actor being replaced every few years.

“It has all these other levels of philosophical and reflective nature that make it very, very rich,” he said.

“People always ask me what is it about the show that appeals so broadly. The answer I would like to give – and which I’m discouraged from giving because it is not useful in the promotion of a brand – is that it’s about death.

“And it has a very, very powerful death motif in it which is that the central character dies. I think that is one of its most potent mysteries because somewhere in that people see that that’s what happens in life.

“You have loved ones and then they go, but you must carry on.”


We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Doctor.