When ‘Doctor Who’ fans start wondering whether or not the actor currently playing the Doctor is going to stay on the show for another year, it usually means that a new season is right around the corner. This regeneration anxiety has become something of an informal tradition. But for once, we’re not the only ones guessing. Talking to Wales Online, Peter Capaldi, who currently stars as the Twelfth Doctor, has revealed that he hasn’t actually decided whether or not he’ll be staying on as incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall takes the reins for the show’s eleventh season:
” I’ve been asked to stay on and I haven’t made my mind up about that yet, mainly because I don’t want to have to make that decision. I’m trying to avoid it!”
Capaldi suggested that his decision will ultimately turn on how much he is enjoying himself on the show, adding:
“‘Doctor Who’ does take a lot of time, but it’s a wonderful use of it. It’s special. I’m lucky enough to be in touch with other Doctors, and we all agree how extraordinary it is to be in this position. To decide to leave is a tough decision for everybody. [It was] very tough for Steven [Moffat], so I’m just putting it off for as long as possible.”
At a minimum, the fact that Capaldi hasn’t made up his mind almost certainly means that if he does leave, it won’t be during the tenth series proper but rather the 2017 Christmas special at the earliest. After all, the new season is already filming, and realistically, no matter how much Moffat – or any other producer – might like the idea of surprising the audience with a regeneration, the BBC would never allow it. And frankly, as fun as it might be, no producer could justify it. Think back to the departure of Matt Smith in 2013. There is, quite simply, too much public interest involved with a regeneration and the casting of a new Doctor to keep that quiet. And with public interest, of course, comes ratings.
With all that said, the tenth season will be Capaldi’s third year in the role, which in all likelihood means we’re closer to the end of his run than to the beginning. While there are obviously no hard and fast rules for how long an actor “has to” play the Doctor, only a handful of Capaldi’s predecessors have stayed on for more than three seasons.
‘Doctor Who’ will return on Christmas day with the broadcast of ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’, which will also be screened in select cinemas on December 27th and 29th. After that, the series will go back on hiatus until spring 2017, when producer Steven Moffat kicks off his farewell season, which will culminate in next year’s Christmas special. In addition to Peter Capaldi, the upcoming season and specials will feature Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas, Justin Chatwin, Charity Wakefield, Tomiwa Edun, Aleksander Jovanovic, and Logan Huffman.
Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more news on ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’ and the upcoming tenth season of ‘Doctor Who’ as they approach!