In case you hadn’t heard, last week it was announced that Britain’s most famous police box will be seeing a change of owner at the end of the year. That’s right, Peter Capaldi is stepping down as Doctor Who – and the quest is on to find a new face for our long-beloved Time Lord.
The hunt for a new Doctor Who never fails to whip the country into a frenzy. After 53 years, 827 episodes and 13 Doctors, the debate on who will play Who still enraptures fans.
But as exciting as the build-up is, the new Doctor isn’t always welcomed with open arms. Many people shrugged their shoulders at Capaldi, controversially focusing on his ‘older’ age, while his predecessor Matt Smith also prematurely lost viewers due to his ‘younger’ demeanour (talk about choosy!).
But whoever he is, the Doctor always leaves behind some fairly ginormous shoes to fill, and stepping into them is undoubtedly fairly daunting. So why are some fans so often initially unforgiving to the new incarnation?
As tempting as it might be to dismiss naysayers as being simply ‘closed-minded’, it’s also worth remembering that, naturally, we all prefer things we’ve come to be familiar with, and tend to regard the ‘new’ with suspicion and hesitation.
If we’re familiar with something, we know it’s safe. We know where we’re at.
Being sceptical of change was a handy survival mechanism for our earliest ancestors, for whom threat and danger lurked around every corner. So it’s something that’s built-in to our DNA. That’s why we’re often tempted to just stick with what we know.
But that’s not realistic.
The world is constantly changing, and we’re discovering new ways of working and living faster than you can say, ‘is it really February already?!’. And just as we have no say in who the new Doctor will be, we can’t foresee all the changes that we’ll be adapting to throughout this year.
The Doctor has an extra heart to make him more fair and open to the situations and people around him. So perhaps we should remember to keep ours open, whenever we encounter the new. You never know, you may end up loving the ‘new’ even more than the ‘old’! But you need to try it on for size first…