Peter Capaldi hits our screens as the new Dr Who later this month. He promises a darker side to the Doctor and is 25 years older than his predecessor Matt Smith. Undeterred by criticisms of his age, he has pointed out that his character is two and a half thousand years old.
The great thing about Dr Who, from both a fan and a producer’s perspective, is his longevity. The Doctor’s periodic regeneration keeps the concept alive and the creativity kicking.
This is a series that the BBC was initially dubious about, then screened for 26 years, then killed off and was reluctant to revive. Writer Russell T Davies, responsible for bringing Dr Who back from the TV graveyard in 2005, was initially told that a revival had no mileage, being ‘only for geeks’. Luckily for the BBC, Davies was a fan with vision and talent and it’s now one of the Corporation’s most successful exports.
There’s a lesson here for communicators. Regeneration works, whether it’s finding a new angle on an existing subject, repurposing content for different channels or planning the anniversary of a campaign. There has to be an essential, authentic concept at the core. It’s important to be creative about how to adapt that for an audience which may have changing media consumption habits and priorities. And the best communicators are always thinking ahead to the next phase. After all, nothing lasts forever. Except for the Doctor of course…