Peter Capaldi Doctor Who The Fires of Pompeii
Peter Capaldi is The Doctor.
And with that traditional fan phrase updated for the change in leading actor in the world s longest running science fiction the BBC once again show that when they put their mind to it they can harness the Internet and social media to promote Doctor Who .
The reveal of which actor would be taking on the role was broadcast live to reduce the chances of spoilers leaking out so at 7pm on Sunday 4th August millions of TV viewers across the UK sat down to watch the reveal. Actually not just in the UK because the broadcast was also transmitted live in Australia and America. Which for a long time fan of the show is just fantastic.
Back to Peter Capaldi because his casting does make for an interesting viral wrinkle. The Scottish actor has an impressive CV from the BAFTA winning role in Local Hero to World War Z with the small matter of an Oscar in between (for the short film Franz Kafka s It s a Wonderful Life ). But it s his role as the vocally vicious Malcolm Tucker in The Thick Of It and In The Loop that has made him a household name in the UK.
The character of Malcolm Tucker the spin doctor working at the highest level of UK politics is shall we say rather fruity with the language. Fruity to the point that almost every YouTube clip is not safe for work and even through the profanities proliferate through the dialogue Capaldi turns their recital into a poetic master class of rhythm and tempo.
The BBC would know that the reaction to the twelfth Doctor would be seen by many through the prism of Tucker. How can we seem him act as the family friendly TV hero if the country knows him for his swearing
The clue of course is the word act. Peter Capaldi is no more Malcolm Tucker than Jon Pertwee was the Chief Petty Office in The Navy Lark or Peter Davison was Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great And Small .
But it does mean that creative talents around the world are hard at work doing mash ups interpretations animated gifs YouTubes and more. The initial launch and reaction will be built on not by the BBC but by the internet itself. Who knows what content will go viral and how it will benefit everyone involved
Let s take the example of The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre currently appearing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with their show In Space . These two socks are masters of the viral video with their cheeky banter and pop culture references and in previous years they ve had a viral hit going in to the Festival which helps ticket sales
In some years I ve had a lucky hit over the summer going in to the Fringe Socks producer and assistant (ahem) Kev F Sutherland told me. This year we ve had nothing yet that has exploded. It s hard to correlate but it is a fact that the year of my biggest sales coincided with the biggest year of video views but this is not an exact science.
What s the thinking behind posting the video performed and recorded in front of a live audience just a few hours after Capaldi was announced
The Socks wanted to prove they could react quickly to the news. We d even written a Daniel Rigby song who was also rumoured to be up for the role to the tune of Eleanor Rigby. That s now been exterminated.
YouTube videos are a large part of the marketing of The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre. We put the videos online to reach out to reach new people who are not looking out specifically for The Socks but are looking in this case for Doctor Who stories. Our videos all year round are about expanding the reach of our potential international audiences a recent booking in Malta was down to one single video. The Socks owe the bulk of their audience to the YouTube videos and if topical stories fit in with their comedy then we ll do it.
Here s the video in question with a big warning that the audio is quite clearly NSFW
That s just one piece of content from millions that will be generated by the announcement at no extra cost for the BBC. The user generated content will benefit both the BBC those who create it and everyone who will enjoy it. In all of this there remains one constant that will not escape anyone.
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