Doctor Who and Elizabeth Bennet?

In case you’ve been living in a cave, the identity of the twelfth actor to play Doctor Who was announced: Peter Capaldi. (I like that they cast older this time.) Here’s his first interview:

And I would be absolutely terrified to be Peter Capaldi. Playing an iconic hero whom audiences have adored since 1963. Talk about pressure.

In a very small way, I can relate. When I decided I wanted to write a continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the most terrifying aspect was the prospect of writing Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, two of the most iconic characters in literature. It was easier for me to play with the minor characters, but Elizabeth and Darcy?

Intimidating.

When I wrote Caroline Bingley: A Continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and decided to include a scene where Caroline and Elizabeth throw down Regency style (gloves on, of course), I was terrified because both characters had to come out winners. Caroline, the heroine of my book, needed to solve her problem, and Elizabeth needed to react and respond like she would have in Pride and Prejudice.

What resulted was probably one of the scenes I’m most proud of having written, but one of the scariest to publish. I didn’t want to let Elizabeth down, you know, and I didn’t want to let down her fans either.

So I can understand a little of the pressure faced by the new Doctor. He’s got fifty years of precedent before him, and he doesn’t want to let the Doctor or his fans down. So anyway, best of luck to Peter Capaldi. I’m sure he’ll be fantastic.

Ps. The Doctor should meet Jane Austen.

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Comments

  1. I know exactly what you mean. I get the same rush when a reader compliments His Good Opinion (my P&P redux) as I imagine a new Doctor gets when fans start claiming he’s THEIR doctor.

    And I’ve been championing hard for the Doctor to meet Jane. I might include it in my fanfic actually.

  2. While I can’t say I’m an Austen fan–gasp!–I did read both of your continuation pieces and think you handled this pressure beautifully and skillfully. As one who is fairly unfamiliar with the main characters, I thought your stories were strong, fun, and full of the kind of romance (not only in the love sort of way) that I expect from period literature.

    I have it on pretty good authority that Peter Capaldi will do the same with Doctor Who. I’m intrigued by the choice, though I’ve read a lot of responses from people who hoped for a female or at least a black Doctor. By the way, I liked Christopher Eccleston, and I haven’t even met Matt Smith’s incarnation yet, but something tells me that David Tennant will always be MY favorite.

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