This article first appeared on www.whovianleap.com
2013 saw very little of the Twelfth Doctor on display. Fans had to make do with a brief glimpse of his "Capaldeyes" in November's "The Day of the Doctor" and a mere few seconds of him at Christmas after he "regenersneezed" and complained about the colour of his kidneys. That was it. We had tantasingly few details to speculate on. Slowly but surely, as filming in Cardiff has progressed, bits of juicy Whovian gossip have leaked out. Some morsels have been thrown for us to chew over by the Beeb itself. Other sources of information have been the dedicated Whovian paparazzi who have snapped cast and crew in the midst of filming. Forums too have thrown up the wildest of theories and, who knows, there might be a grain of truth in them.
Your average fan doesn't need much to set his imagination on fire. Here I plead guilty, m'lud. Mine has been ablaze ever since January after glimpsing the intriguing sight of Capaldi on horseback in a Victorian dressing gown. So what do I hope for from Series 8? Spoilerphobes beware, I'll be mentioning what I have read and heard, all the things I can't "unknow", about the upcoming series.
Let's start off with the Doctor himself. It has been suggested that he will be "trickier" and "fiercer" in this incarnation and these adjectives please me immensely. When the Doctor encounters injustice in the universe, I want him to scream and shout like Eccleston did in "Dalek", not come across as stroppy or childish - I have never been too keen on the "Time Lord Victorious" or the Seventh Doctor's embarassing outbursts of anger. At the other end of the acting spectrum, I'm looking forward to seeing Capaldi flexing his comedy muscles and bringing Moffat's ingenious witticisms to life. The more photos of Capaldi I see, the more convinced I am that he is not "old". He's dashing and in tip-top physical condition. Alongside Clara he doesn't come across as a fuddy duddy in the slightest. The actor is undoubtedly good-looking and as a heartthrob could give the likes of George Clooney a run for his money. It's not just the mums and grandmums who will take a shine to him. As for Clara, I hope she stays for the duration of the series and beyond. I'd like Jenna to develop the chirpy cheerful take on the character we've seen in the last two adventures and move away from the "impossible girl". She could start a "will-she won't-she" relationship with new recurring character Danny Pink. I really don't mind soap opera elements developing - after all they certainly didn't do any harm to RTD stories. Strax is coming back. Please let him stomp on board the Tardis and join the crew for a few jaunts in space and time. The added comedy value he brings to the show is enormous. If only we could also have a "Handles MK2"! Whether attached to the Tardis console or carried around by the Doctor the much missed Cyberhead could easily become as popular as K9! I would love Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor to make a return. Towards the end of the series Capaldi will have firmly established himself in the public eye and a McGann reappearance would in no way threaten his authority. The Eighth's surprise return last year left us gasping for breath in disbelief, as we marvelled at his performance, our eyes feasting on an impossible dream come true.
What about villains? Well, we know Team Cardiff have got a Zygon or two in the costumes cupboard. Why not dust them off? And isn't it time we found out a little more about those hissing Ice Warriors and were whisssked away onto an another adventure on Marsss?! A significant villain from the Doctor's past was the subject of an indiscretion by Sylvester McCoy at Newcastle's Film and Comic Con and I for one would welcome this character's return. Were there to be a change of actor I would like to see a smooth, on-screen transition from the previous incumbent.
Rumours have suggested that the new series will only be twelve episodes in length plus the Christmas Special. I could take that blow on the chin, but only if Cardiff gave me a bumper length episode or two in return. Why not a 60 minute season opener? Of equal importance I'd like the Beeb to broadcast the show every Saturday at 7 pm - on the dot and without fail! Doctor Who is appointment viewing and should not be floundering around in the schedules, forcing fans to flick through the Radio Times to see when it is on. I want to watch Doctor Who as part of a national viewing experience, not all alone crouched over some catch-up service. Moving Doctor Who around the schedules damages the ratings and I want to read positive headlines in the Sunday papers about the overnights, not scare stories about falling viewing figures. I do have some impossible requests. Bring back Sil! Oh and the Valeyard too! A pure historical? Is that too much to ask? Come on Cardiff, tick those fanboy boxes! Bring back those imaginative writers from Sylvester McCoy's day, cut short in their prime when the axe fell - Cartmel, Platt and Aaronovich too!
Finally, I found it slightly bizarre that the Great Intelligence featured in "The Snowmen" and then turned up in the rediscovered "The Web of Fear". My dream is this - a Series 8 story makes a reference to another missing story, rediscovered but unbeknownst to fans. Then months later the discovery is announced to the world! Whovians love the waiting and expectation before a new series, the speculation, rumours and gossip all building up to a wild crescendo until when the series finally airs. It is the tiny details, the leaks, which excite. I was most pleased to see Capaldi wearing a blue shirt the other day. This shows a certain flexibility towards costume on the part of the production crew and potentially promises fashion surprises yet to come. Series 8 draws ever closer. There is now light at the end of the tunnel. It is the one flashing on top of the Tardis. Some way off, but rushing towards us at speed!