The Scottish Doctor will see you now

Peter Capaldi as the Doctor with assistant Clara, played by Jenna Coleman. Picture: BBC
Peter Capaldi as the Doctor with assistant Clara, played by Jenna Coleman. Picture: BBC
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FOR a whole year, Doctor Who fans have waited for this day: the moment that the 12th Doctor makes his first ever appearance on our screens.

And it’s not just any old Doctor: this is Peter Capaldi, one of the most hotly-anticipated actors to ever play one of the most exciting roles in TV history.

The Doctor’s reincarnation from Matt Smith to Capaldi is particularly exciting for Scottish fans of the long-running series - which made its comeback in 2005 with writer Russell T Davies - given his Glaswegian roots.

But in fact, it’s not just Capaldi who is adding to the “tartan Tardis” this series.

“For the first time in many years, we have a Scottish Doctor who gets to keep his accent. Sylvester McCoy got to do it, but there’s been no-one since,” explains life-long Doctor Who fan and arts journalist Jonathan Melville.

“In the first episode [of the new series], Scottishness plays a big part. There’s another character in there who has an accent and with [lead writer Steven] Moffat being Scottish, he’s bringing that to it too. Then there was Amy Pond previously, played by Karen Gillan. The tartan Tardis seems to be quite a big part of Doctor Who now.”

The show’s first ever fan club was established by Scottish fans, in Edinburgh, and it is still growing strong, with regular meet-ups in Mathers Bar on Broughton Street.

The Edinburgh Doctor Who Local Group has been in existence – in various forms – since the late-1970s and has had guest appearances from actors who have appeared in the series over the year.

Celebrity guests have included Katy Manning, Julian Glover and sixth Doctor Colin Baker.

Perhaps one of the most exciting guests was Bathgate-born David Tennant, who made a special appearance just weeks before he was announced as the tenth Doctor in 2005.

“We knew David Tennant was a fan so invited him along and we talked about Daleks at the Traverse Bar. We said to him that he would make a great Doctor but he didn’t say anything about it, then a few weeks later it was announced. He knew at the time but didn’t tell us.”

Tennant played the part of “Daft Jamie” in a Doctor Who audio story before the series was re-launched, in an episode set in Edinburgh which featured the story of Burke and Hare.

Other Edinburgh-based Doctor Who plotlines – which appeared in various formats – include Tennant and his companion Martha Jones visiting the Capital in 1759, where they met Alexander Monro and prevented the Kith from killing everyone in the city.

The sixth Doctor and Evelyn Smythe visited Edinburgh in December 1827, while the fifth Doctor, Peri Brown and Erimem also parked the Tardis in the Capital on a brief stop-off.

The tenth Doctor later visited Edinburgh in 2010, where he had his final battle with the Mozhtratta.

And with the renewed Scottish influence in the new series, perhaps Capaldi will make an appearance in the Capital in the future?

While Doctor Who fans – old and new – will be glued to their screens tonight to catch Capaldi’s first full episode as the Doctor, Jonathan is one of the lucky people to have already seen it at a special preview screening.

Although he was tight-lipped about the details, he said he was “bowled over” by the first episode.

“It was fantastic, I was really impressed by it. It was a return to the old era of Doctor Who, the 70s Doctor Who,” he says.

“I go into every episode with an open mind and hope it’s going to be a classic. More often than not recently, I had been disappointed.

“I had high hopes that Peter Capaldi would be fantastic but I wasn’t sure about the script. But I watched it and was completely bowled over.”

Capaldi himself has given a little insight into the 12th Doctor, saying he’s a “slightly more mysterious figure”, who “struggles to find himself”.

“He’s different from the others and yet he’s the same,” he adds.

Previous Doctor Who, Matt Smith, made his departure in last year’s 50th anniversary special, where Capaldi made his first appearance.

n The episode is on BBC1 tonight at 7.50pm