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The Doctor Who inspiration behind Capaldi’s signature

Photo: Jason South

Every actor has to develop their own special signature for signing autographs and Peter Capaldi is no exception. However, as it turns out the twelfth Doctor’s signature is modelled after that of yet another Doctor from years before.

As a child, growing up in Glasgow, the young Peter Capaldi was a huge fan of Doctor Who. He wrote to Radio Times, expressing his love for the Doctor Who television serial as well as hunting for autographs from any and every actor who had played the Doctor.

“I had Jon Pertwee’s autograph, Tom Baker’s. I used to have all of the Doctors’ autographs, except for William Hartnell, because he was rather infirm. But his wife wrote me a rather lovely letter and signed his photograph, which was very sweet.” – Peter Capaldi

However, there was one autograph which really caught the young Capaldi’s fancy. It was the signature of an actor who had played the Doctor in the 1960s and who happened to have the very same initials. Peter Cushing, who had played the Doctor in two movies during the 60s, had come to Glasgow where the young Capaldi was able to obtain a large, signed black and white photograph from the actor. “I was such a fan that I modelled my own signature on his, because we have the same initials”, Capaldi recalled in his interview for The Sidney Morning Herald. He added, “He had a rather florid P, which I copied.”


If one were wondering whatever happened to all of those wonderful autographs the actor obtained during his childhood years, that individual would be in for rather a sad answer. In his late teens the actor decided to give up his ‘geeky and childish past’. Before running off to art school and spending time as the lead singer of a band named The Bastards from Hell, the young Capaldi destroyed his collection of anything Doctor Who.

“I didn’t want to be a geek any more so I threw out all my geeky stuff. I had a sort of bonfire of the vanities where I got rid of all this stuff that would be great fun for me to have now. Isn’t that terrible?”

 As unfortunate as it may be for such great memorabilia to be lost it certainly is a bit of good fortune that Peter Capaldi eventually came back around and rejoined the wonderful world of Doctor Who in his adult years. Otherwise it may have been an even bigger loss to the Whoniverse in the end. Doctor Who certainly wouldn’t be the same without Peter Capaldi’s performance of the twelfth Doctor.