A Time Lord to Remember: My Thank You Letter to Peter Capaldi

No matter who follows in your footsteps, you’ll always be our punk rock Doctor. Thank you, Mr. Capaldi, for a great run. Image: BBC

Dear Mr. Capaldi:

As I write this, the world awaits the announcement of the Thirteenth Doctor, but for the first time since my family and I have witnessed the regeneration process, I’m not looking forward to the change.

It isn’t that I’m not curious about your replacement, or worried I won’t like the choice, it is just that I don’t think there will ever be a more deserving, perfectly suited being than you to have the privilege of piloting the TARDIS.

Before the curtain rises for the next Doctor, I just want to thank you for the many things you brought with you to the “Whoniverse,” and the legacy you’ll leave.

There’s the twinkle in your eye that can only be achieved by someone being part of something they have loved for as long as they can remember. Your now well-known history as a Doctor Who nut, writing letters and contributing sketches for fan publications, was more than evident in your portrayal. All those who have played The Doctor have left a piece of them behind on the TARDIS, something that is entirely theirs, be it a scarf, a “Fantastic” phrase, a whole new appreciation for Converse, or a funky giraffe dance. For you, however, it felt like watching the one who found the golden ticket, Holy Grail, and buried treasure all rolled into one. You played the role as if you had been waiting your whole life to lead the world on this adventure, and that enthusiasm for the adventure out there, anywhere, is what you will leave us all.

You proved Time Lords are ageless…and for all the ages. You may have started out in a nightshirt as the darker, more mature Doctor with attack eyebrows, but you will be remembered as the punk rock Time Lord. The Doctor who wore cool shades while shredding on the electric guitar on top of a tank like a Boss. Seriously, that is simply the coolest image I have ever seen, and likely ever will, on an episode of Doctor Who. Well, that was until I saw that small intro where you were casually playing a punk guitar version of Amazing Grace. For personal reasons, that song resonates with me on many levels, and it gave me goose bumps to hear it ringing through the TARDIS. If you have any free time after your Doctor Who reign, feel free to record an instrumental version of that entire piece and anything else you deem worthy. I’m ready to spend some money on a copy of it.

You served as a wonderful example to my children (and myself), that a creative mind, heart, and soul is never dormant. As an art major, you seem most comfortable when your hands were busy creating something; whether fiddling with guitar notes or jotting fun doodles on paper. I appreciate that. I keep sketchbooks and drawing paper readily available all over our house, and now my teen daughter can’t go anywhere without a book, sketchpad, and box of pencils. When we see pictures of you with your own sketch pad, or watched Fan Show interview where you drew your own early memories of The Doctor, it serves as a greater influence on young minds. Even the most professionally done service announcements on the importance of art and creativity couldn’t have been more effective. My kids don’t remember every adult they see looking down a Smart Phone, but they remember the artist sitting on a bench sketching the people around them.

You also, unfortunately, were a bad example in teaching my children they can’t always do “everything” they dream of all the time. I’m a practical person who makes sure my daughters know to hold onto their dreams, but not let them get in the way of real life opportunities and goals. Even before picking up that sonic screwdriver, you were a success in everything you did. Perhaps, not in the superstardom way the world equates with success today, but you seemed to do pretty much everything on which you set your mind. And, you did it well. In addition to being able to declare, “I’m The Doctor” for the rest of your earthly existence, look at what you can claim:

• You were lead singer and guitarist of a punk rock band in the 80s, The Dreamboys. The world may not have heard of them at the time, but you did what so many of us teens and young adults of the music-centric 80s wanted to do.

• You won an Oscar, not in the over-publicized Best Actor category, but for Best Live Short Film for your own project, Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life. That’s impressive.

• You are the official voice of The Doctor in the Lego Dimensions video, as well as the first Doctor “officially” represented in those wonderful little brick toys. Don’t think that isn’t an incredible achievement. It certainly is in my book.

Now that you have also reached Time Lord status, there is no telling what else is in store for you.

Doctor Legos
If I never get to snap together another brick figure, at least I have an official Lego Doctor Who set. Image: Lisa Tate

Finally, you showed what it meant to be a representative for a better world, even outside of the Doctor Who persona. I’ve seen several actors and entertainers supporting everything from charitable causes to political beliefs, and I have to admit I’m always a bit skeptical about how much is genuine caring and how much is publicity. When I see you sit down on the ground and get your hands dirty painting with children, or sketching original images for young fans in hospitals, I know that’s real. Like you, Mr. Capaldi, I’m a parent, and I appreciate how you represent yourself to the next generations.

I send my well-wishes and hope for success for Who ever follows in your footsteps, but for the first time since witnessing the changing of the guardian of all times and dimensions, I do so with a slightly broken heart (thank goodness I don’t have two to worry about).

So, before the attention turns more to the Thirteenth Doctor (who may or may not have already been announced by now), I just want to say here’s to you, Twelve, the number at the top of all time pieces.

Yes, the Ninth Doctor may always be “my Doctor,” thanks be to leather jackets and jeans, and Tom Baker will always be the most beloved Doctor for many (another well-deserved status for a wonderful man). You, in my opinion, will always be the one who deserves that little gold star or asterisks by his name in the Whovian history books, as simply “The Best Doctor.”

When it was announced earlier this year you would, in fact, be leaving the show, you told fans in a radio interview “one of the greatest privileges of being Doctor Who is to see the world at its best.”

Wonderful sentiment, sir, and because of you, one of the world’s greatest privileges from 2013 to 2017 was to see The Doctor at his best.

Little Twelve and photo
When Peter Capaldi was first named the Twelfth Doctor. I predicted he would wear a blazer over a cool t-shirt. My prediction came true..eventually.

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Lisa Kay Tate is a veteran feature writer with 20 years experience in newspaper, magazine and freelance writing. In addition to serving as Associate Editor for her local arts and entertainment guide, El Paso Scene, she has been a regular contributor to the site ihogeek.com and maintains her own blogsite at lisathegeekmom.wordpress.com. She and her husband, writer/photographer Rick, live on the edge of "New Texico" where they keep busy raising their two geeklings and sharing space with their dog, Sirius Black, and cat, Loki.