With the shortlist for the National #Television Awards announced and the online voting now open, ahead of the awards’ evening at the O2 Arena in London on 21st January, 2015, there has been a major shock already in one of the categories, with the news that Peter Capaldi’s portrayal of Doctor Who has not been deemed good enough for the top drama performance. Doctor Who does however merit inclusion in the “Drama” category. It is the first time Doctor Who’s main character has not been part of the shortlist since the BBC revived the popular science fiction show. Capaldi had some boots to fill in that respect though, given that Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith, the most recent ‘Doctor’s, have all won at the awards’ ceremony in the past.
The four names that did make it on to the shortlist for the award represent a fine array of acting talent in their own right though, with the multi-award winning and globally acknowledged, Dame Maggie Smith for her role in Downton Abbey being a stand-out nominee. However, given that she faces competition from no less than Sarah Lancashire (“Happy Valley”), Sheridan Smith (“Cilla”) and Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock”), then the category is a tough one to call.
There had been some concern when Capaldi was announced as the new Doctor Who and appeared for the first time during the summer in the role, as to how the devout followers of the show, especially the younger fans, would take to an older version of the character. It seemed at first to be an awkward pairing with the much younger Jenna Coleman as his assistant (although the term barely fits the role), Clara, after her association and chemistry with Matt Smith. Before that, Tennant dovetailed almost perfectly with Rose Tyler as played by Billie Piper. Capaldi was almost a step back some thought to the Doctors of the distant past such as Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton or even William Hartnell, an older and one might say wiser (re-)incarnation. As the new series has progressed though and the audience have begun to recognise Capaldi’s undoubted talents as an actor of depth, there has perhaps been a gradual warming to him in the part, but clearly not enough for the panel to include him in the shortlist this time. Having said that, younger viewers may still hanker after the return of Tennant, who seemed to make the part his own during his spell as the aging Time Lord. #CelebritiesWith fifteen categories to vote for and awards to be presented on the night, it promises to be a star studded (if lengthy) homage to those stars and shows who have entertained the viewers during the past year.