The Old Regeneration

So a few days ago Matt Smith ended his run as The Doctor. While I did love his version, there is a certain set of emotions that you go through as a Doctor Who fan when a new Doctor comes along that you never quite get used to over the years. For me it often involves declarations like “Who does this asshole think he is coming into this role like he owns the place.”

That goes through stages and variations for a while. Then, in recent years we have been able to get glimpses on the internet to ease us in. Still, until a Doctor has a chance to prove himself we often give him sideways looks and very little trust. Then eventually, I will grow to like the new Doctor. (Except Colin Baker. His Doctor was kind of a douchebag.)

That is why as an, experienced fan, I can now sit back with some comfort of “I have been through this before. Things will be ok.” But for those having a separation anxiety, I understand. Except all of these people going on about how Peter Capaldi (our newest Doctor) is too old. Now I am never one to have the attitude of “Oh, you just discovered this 50 year old show? That’s adorable.” I welcome new fans. I haven’t been alive as long as the show has been on, so I was new at one point too, but coming in with that attitude just shows not only are you new, but have no understanding or respect for the show’s history. The latter being a problem.

All over the internet, I have beer reading lamentations for Smith going on about how Capaldi is too old. So apparently, to them, the show is about being young and pretty. How do you determine if a the actor is too old? WIlliam Hartnell, the first Doctor was 55 when he first stepped into the TARDIS. Patrick Troughton was 45. John Pertwee, 51. In fact, if you were to list the actors with their ages at the time they took over the role, you would see… well… here.

William Hartnell – 55
Patrick Troughton – 45
John Pertwee – 51
Tom Baker – 40
Peter Davison – 30
Colin Baker – 41
Sylvester Mccoy – 44
Paul Mcgann – 37
Christopher Eccleston – 41
John Hurt – 73
David Tennant – 35
Matt Smith – 27
Peter Capaldi – 55

Peter Capaldi, from this perspective, is actually more in line with the majority of past incarnations than with the more recent. But even that isn’t the point here. Part of what makes the show so wonderful is over the years we have been able to experience so many different versions of The Doctor. Older versions and younger. Romantics and warriors. Cold intellectuals and  passionate protectors. That is what The Doctor is. An ever changing part of our lives.

But I could be wrong. Maybe this is just their way of saying “Who does this asshole think he is?” Because we have seen so little of him, the only criticism they can give is “I don’t like him… because… um… he’s old! Yeah, that’s it. That’s why I don’t like him.” But never fear new generation of fans, we all go through it when we lose a Doctor. And it always hurts. But, when it is all over, and the next actor comes along, that one we were calling too young (as many did Smith), too old, or too “Not The Doctor”, we always find ourselves defending as an old friend that left us all too soon. Even Colin Baker.


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