Doctor Who is a truly unique show for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it has been running off and on for more than half a century now. The series almost certainly wouldn't have lasted so long if the show had not found the perfect person playing the Doctor each time he has regenerated. Actors face a lot of pressure when they step into the Doctor's shoes. Peter Capaldi is the current Doctor, and he was lucky enough to get some great advice from Matt Smith when he left the show behind. Smith said this to his successor:
Listen to no one. There's so many opinions out there and you'e got to filter so many of those voices out. On that show, you've got to have a clear vision and Peter obviously does. He's wonderful.
Matt Smith's suggested that Peter Capaldi focus on his own vision, and that reveal makes a lot of sense, all things considered. Smith had an uphill battle when he first tackled the role of the Doctor. Having signed on at the age of 28, he was the youngest actor to play the Doctor to date, and he was taking over for David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor. Tennant was hugely popular as the Doctor, and his last line on the show was "I don't want to go." Matt Smith wasn't necessarily welcomed with open arms by fans mourning Ten. Listening to no one must have helped him get through the early days and he want to pass the advice along when the next doctor came around.
Peter Capaldi has gone in a different direction with Twelve than Matt Smith did with Eleven, and it has mostly worked for him. An Elevenish-Twelve might have felt like the show was trying to copy what Smith brought to the role rather than taking the show into yet another era of time travel shenanigans. It was a shock to the system to go from the youthful-looking Eleven and his legacy of fish fingers and custard to a Twelve with a much older-looking visage, but Capaldi has made the role his own. Ratings on both sides of the pond indicate that he's won plenty of fans. If Peter Capaldi listened to Matt Smith's advice, it has paid off for him in many ways.
Matt Smith went on in his chat with EW to share that he still watches the show and counts himself as a huge fan, so he clearly approves of how Peter Capaldi picked up where he left off. Smith revealed not too long ago that he would be on board to appear on Doctor Who again at some point; perhaps the show will find a way to bring Eleven and Twelve together on screen before Capaldi decides to leave the TARDIS for good. Throw in David Tennant, and we would be in for a real extravaganza. We shouldn't get our hopes up for a Christopher Eccleston appearance, but we can cross our fingers and hope that we may see some of the other actors reprise their roles as the Doctor at some point in the future. Peter Capaldi has proved that he has what it takes to hold the spotlight no matter who else turns up.
Doctor Who will return to the airwaves for its traditional Christmas special this holiday season. Tune in to BBC America on December 25 to catch the next adventure of Twelve on the small screen. Check out our midseason TV premiere schedule to see what else you'll be able to watch in the not-too-distant future.