It probably doesn’t feel like it, but it’s been five years since Peter Capaldi debuted as the Twelfth Doctor in Deep Breath. In an era filled with iconic moments, we’ve plucked out five moments that will forever define the Twelfth Doctor.
“I am an idiot!” - Doctor vs Missy
Death in Heaven (2014)
When did it happen? With his arch-nemesis Missy offering the Doctor an army of Cybermen to control, it looked like the Doctor would have to become what he hated in order to save the world. What a dilemma!
Why was it so iconic? Throughout all of his first series, the Twelfth Doctor wondered if he was a good man. He’d lived a long life and was starting to have doubts. But, surrounded by his enemies, he had this moment of self-realisation. He finally knew who he was. He wasn’t a good man, or a bad man, he was an idiot! His words, not ours…
“This is war!” - THAT speech
The Zygon Inversion (2015)
When did it happen? When the Tenth, Eleventh and War Doctor met, they forged a perfect peace deal between humanity and the Zygons. Well, they thought it was perfect. A splinter groups of Zygons tried to start a war between the two groups and the Doctor had to intervene once again!
Why was it so iconic? The Time War scarred the Doctor forever. Dealing with the consequences of it has defined the Doctor since they returned to our screens in 2005. Here, we see all of that pain and fury exquisitely channelled into making sure the humans and Zygons don’t make the same mistake.
A beautifully written deconstruction of the futility of war combined with a stellar performance from Peter Capaldi. How could it be anything but iconic?
“I’m so sick of losing.” - Why this face?
The Girl Who Died (2015)
When did it happen? In trying to protect a Viking town from the other-worldly Mire, the Doctor’s plan accidentally lead to the death of the one of the Vikings. Retreating to an outhouse, he had to consider what had just happened and in doing so he answered a question that had been plaguing him since his regeneration.
Why was it so iconic? Where a Time Lord’s appearance comes from is a topic of much speculation and conjecture. However, when it came to his twelfth incarnation, the Doctor clearly had some sub-conscious influence.
Seeing his reflection in a water barrel, he remembered rescuing Caecilius (also played by Peter Capaldi) and his family from the erupting Mount Vesuvius in a previous adventure. The reason he rescued them? Because Donna, his companion at the time, pleaded for him to save someone. It was that bit of advice that spurned him back into action.
“How many seconds in eternity?” - Breaking the Wall
Heaven Sent (2015)
When did it happen? Trapped in his own confession dial (a device created by Time Lords to confront their darkest secrets before they die), the Doctor was stuck in a loop. Living the same day over and over, being pursued by a ghastly wraith. At the end of the loop, the Doctor tried to break through a diamond wall using nothing but his fists. A seemingly hopeless endeavour…
Why was it so iconic? Because he did it! Living in the loop for four and a half billion, yes billion, years, the Doctor kept chipping away and finally broke through. The climax to a thrilling solo adventure, it highlighted the lengths the Doctor would go to save his friends. He has a duty of care and he takes that incredibly seriously.
What he found on the other side, however, had profound and disastrous consequences for the entire universe…
“Doctor, I let you go.” - His Final Speech
Twice Upon a Time (2017)
When did it happen? After fighting against regenerating, the Doctor finally relented and accepted his fate. However, this time, he wanted to get it right and had a few choice words for his successor.
Why was it so iconic? A Doctor’s regeneration is always a defining moment of their era. It was no different for the Twelfth Doctor. Hs final speech wasn’t a plea or a lament about his passing. It was a love letter to the Twelfth Doctor’s life, but also a salute to the future.
Goodbye Twelve, hello Thirteen!