Will Young, Female Doctor Who Fans Tune in for 55-Year-Old Peter Capaldi?

What Women Really Think
Aug. 5 2013 12:20 PM

Will Young, Female Doctor Who Fans Tune in for 55-Year-Old Peter Capaldi?

Possible heartthrob?

Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Sunday was an exciting day for the nerd/Anglophile population in the U.S., when the BBC, with a great deal of pomp and silliness, announced that the new actor to play the Doctor on Doctor Who would be Peter Capaldi. While this is a disappointment to those of us hanging onto the thin hope that the Doctor would be a woman or person of color, within the apparently mandatory "white man" parameters laid out by the BBC and showrunner Stephen Moffat, Capaldi is an exciting choice. As June Thomas explains, "Capaldi is an astonishing actor" with a wide range of roles in his past, and it's genuinely an open question of what kind of Doctor he's going to be. 

But one thing that's not in question in Capaldi's age. The last Doctor, Matt Smith, was 27 years old when he kicked off his run, but Capaldi is 55 years old. Smith's youthful giddiness in the role certainly had something to do with the increasing popularity of the series in the U.S., with teenagers and young women crushing on Smith all over Tumblr. It makes sense: Smith's version of the Doctor had the unthreatening, tamped down sexuality of a boy-band heartthrob. 


Will the younger female fandom depart en masse now that the Doctor is much older and has a gritty, instead of cute, vibe? There was some concern on Twitter:


Of course, the show's stand-in for the audience, the Companion, is still going to be played the young and almost too-cute Jenna Louis-Coleman. It will be interesting to see how this age difference shifts the flirty dynamic between the Doctor and the Companion. Will the Doctor go from "potential boyfriend" to a more fatherly figure? And will young women who swooned over Smith tune in for a mentor/protégé relationship? Maybe the show is so good, and it's audience so intelligent, that age won't matter at all. Or maybe young women will just start crushing on an older guy. It's been known to happen.

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

An Iranian Woman Was Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist. Can Activists Save Her?

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

We Need to Talk: A Terrible Name for a Good Women’s Sports Show


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.


How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The U.S. Has a New Problem in Syria: The Moderate Rebels Feel Like We’ve Betrayed Them

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now, at Least.

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
The Eye
Oct. 1 2014 1:04 PM An Architectural Crusade Against the Tyranny of Straight Lines
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 2:08 PM We Need to Talk: Terrible Name, Good Show
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Oct. 1 2014 1:53 PM Slate Superfest East How to get your tickets before anyone else.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 3:02 PM The Best Show of the Summer Is Getting a Second Season
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 3:01 PM Netizen Report: Hong Kong Protests Trigger Surveillance and Social Media Censorship
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 2:36 PM Climate Science Is Settled Enough The Wall Street Journal’s fresh face of climate inaction.
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.