Doctor Who’s Peter Capaldi Explains The David Bowie Inspiration Behind The Twelfth Doctor

Peter Capaldi in Doctor Who
(Image credit: BBC America)

Playing the titular character on Doctor Who seems like a long-term gig, as it sometimes feels like the actors who've played the Time Lord can never go a full interview without at least one question about the current state of the series or their run on it. Peter Capaldi knows this quite well, as fans learned a bit about the David Bowie inspiration behind his costume during an interview.

The Twelfth Doctor recently released a solo album titled St. Christopher and in an interview with The Guardian, fielded a question about the reports that claim his Doctor Who look was inspired by the late rocker. The actor confirmed that is is indeed the case and gave some reasoning behind the decision. He also mentioned a famous director as another source of inspiration for his TV attire:

Yeah, him and David Lynch, who used to do that buttoned-up white shirt thing. Another reason was I thought kids could look like the Doctor without having to spend any money. Rather than buying a costume, they could just button up their school shirt.

Peter Capaldi was a musician in his early years as well, so that element The Doctor’s style was likely very personal for him. As a matter of fact, Capaldi recalled that in his younger years, he and his band dressed like Neil Young, as well as the Sex Pistols, for gigs. The Suicide Squad alum's a deep-seated love for music may be why he requested that his version of the character wield an electric guitar during his run. In the same interview, Capaldi talked about his reaction after he was granted the instrument as well as some other ideas he had that didn’t make the cut:

Between my first and second seasons, I said it’d be fun if the Doctor had a guitar to plug into the Tardis console. It was just an idea, I never dreamed it would happen. I imagined the Doctor might have invented the wah-wah pedal. We could’ve done a historical episode where he met Jimi Hendrix and introduced him to this piece of alien technology. I also thought there could be a great blues episode. When Robert Johnson meets the devil at the crossroads, the Doctor could discover something extraterrestrial going on.

It’s cool to hear his thoughts, especially knowing the love he has for both the storied franchise and rock music. It’d be great to see all of those sweet elements come together again in a future episode, perhaps in the upcoming 60th-anniversary celebration? It seems unlikely given his other career obligations and his thoughts on multi-Doctor crossovers, but perhaps he could change his mind.

Peter Capaldi hasn’t been a part of Doctor Who for some time, but fans can check out his run by streaming past seasons on HBO Max. And as always, continue to stick with CinemaBlend for more on Doctor Who and for the reveal of the new Doctor, as we await the finale of Jodie Whittaker’s run. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.