Why Did Peter Capaldi Choose to Leave Doctor Who?

It’s a time we all dread: the time a Doctor leaves. It’s horrendous; not only are we saying goodbye to an old friend, but we’re also plunging forwards into an uncertain future. It’s also a horrible time for the departing Doctor, of course – a sad but inevitable day which you might regret years later. Or even a week later.

So why, with this in mind, is Peter Capaldi leaving Doctor Who?

Capaldi attended the New York Comic Con this past week, and in a Doctor Who panel, was asked exactly why he’s departing in this Christmas’ Twice Upon A Time. After some consideration, he replied:

“I felt it was time. I never wanted to get to the place where I knew how to do this. You should be constantly challenged on how to play this role. I never wanted to get to the place where I knew how to do this exactly right and I didn’t want to get tired; I could feel myself getting there… I haven’t completed finished yet. There’s still some voice work to do.”

Nonetheless, Capaldi managed to keep an upbeat tone throughout the panel, and is looking forward to Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor.

Though he debuted at the end of 2013’s The Time of the Doctor (though we saw his eyebrows in the previous episode), it still feels too soon for him to go. Especially considering how warmly-received Series 10 was. It was fresh and bold and brilliant.

Oh Peter, we will miss you.

  • DonnaWho?

    Yes, Peter, you were brilliant and fantastic. We will always miss you.

  • ColeBox

    I was a bit puzzled regards Peter leaving so soon as he was previously quoted as saying that he looked forward to playing the Doctor on his sixtieth birthday.

    • Bob James

      Actually, I think he had said, before he decided, that IF he stayed, he would be playing Doctor Who at 60.

  • DonnaM

    Sad though I am to see him go, I appreciate his honesty and his reasoning. There are definitely some amongst his predecessors who looked to me “too comfortable” toward the end of their tenure. Peter’s been sensational from Deep Breath to The Doctor Falls – I have no doubt he’s kept pushing and playing with the character all the way through Twice Upon A Time too. He’s one heck of a hard act to follow!

    • Bob James

      There were two Doctors, to my mind, that stayed too long. I won’t name them because I don’t want to start a firefight here. One actually had a bit of a renewed engagement in his final season(though he might not have felt that way), and the other could have departed at least one year earlier. I probably just hinted it away.

      • DonnaM

        I have two in particular in mind too – and I’m not naming names either!

  • FrancoPabloDiablo

    C’mon, chances are he was forced out to make way for Chib’s female Doctor agenda. Capaldi more than any other is the one who I feel is leaving too soon.

    • Jack Ashcraft

      I’ve suspected that myself, despite all the naysaying. The BBC and Chibnall think this DW parody they’re about to embark upon is going to be some glorious resurrection of the program, while it will more likely be a fatal error.

    • DonnaM

      I kind of suspect the opposite – that Chibnall would have been relieved to have PC for another year to bed himself in before introducing his female Doctor.

      I’m still as torn as I was the day Peter announced his departure on whether I’m relieved or disappointed. On the one hand, if anyone could enliven Chib’s generally lumpen dialogue it’s Capaldi; on the other, would I really want to see him manfully struggling to make something like the Silurian two-parter worth watching?

  • bar

    I imagine he’ll step courteously out of the way to let Jodie get settled, but I so hope he doesn’t do a Christopher Eccleston and melt away from WHO forever. Whatever the scripts did or failed to do for him, he gave it his whole skill and enthusiasm, and created some exceptional moments. I really couldn’t take my eyes off him, watching for every tiny nuance of meaning. He will always be the Doctor, and to me the only thing he ever did wrong was go too soon!