Season 8 of the BBC’s venerable sci-fi adventure Doctor Who kicks off a little less than two weeks from today—okay, it’s exactly two weeks from tomorrow, premiering on Saturday, August 23. They’ve been building up to Peter Capaldi’s 12th version of the Time Lord from Gallifrey for so long that it’s easy to forget that this will be our first real introduction to him. He popped up in the Christmas Special at the end of last year, but that was little more than a brief cameo. This new video unveils a handful of short new bits of footage from the upcoming season, and probes Capaldi’s mind about his character and his feelings on taking over such a popular, beloved character.
This footage comes from Doctor Who TV, and shows off a few new snippets. There’s nothing super exciting, but you do get a sense of the dynamic between the Doctor and his latest travelling companion Clara (Jenna Louise Coleman). We’ve known for some time that this incarnation of the character is supposedly going to be a darker version, or as they say in this video, “less light, more shade.” That fact definitely comes across in a couple of these clips.
We’ve already seen the Doctor ask Clara if she thinks he’s a good man, and her answer, or initial lack of one in this video, reveals more than any words she might actually speak. And when he says that she’s his “carer”—she cares about things so he doesn’t have to—it only drives home the point that this is going to be a very different Time Lord than Matt Smith’s human cartoon. As Capaldi says, his Doctor is much “less user friendly” than his predecessors. Of the modern versions, it feels like he’ll have more in common with Christopher Eccleston’s portrayal than with Smith’s or David Tennant’s, but will probably take it even further.
The interview brings up an interesting point that I hadn’t really considered. Smith is the youngest actor to ever play the role over the course of more than 50 years, while Capaldi is tied for the oldest ever to take the TARDIS out for a spin around space and time. Right there, that immediately creates a different gulf between the main character and what has traditionally been a kid’s show. Capaldi addresses this issue, though, saying that there is a magic about the Doctor, something fantastic about him that doesn’t rely on age. After all, the character himself is thousands of years old and has been all throughout time and history. For someone like that, age truly is an insignificant number.
Doctor Who season 8 will debut on the BBC on Saturday, August 23, check your local listings to find out when and where.