12th Doctor

12th Doctor

In all of time and space, friendships last forever. You have to find your people and be their champion. That's what the Doctor taught me.

Published Jul 14, 2023
Reading time 5 min read
A photo about the author of Narrative Navigators

Hi, I'm Mariia 👋

This is Narrative Navigators speaking: Where we explore how to grow your creator brand, one character at a time.

I'm sending this issue as I just turned 27 today. Against all expectations of little Mariia, I don't have life figured out. But I know this: Stay curious and hang tight to the people who make your life joyful.

And the story goes:

1651, Knightmare, England. The woman in front of him is different, not a young Viking he saved centuries ago but a detached and lone immortal she’s become.

Ashildr has been on her own for a long time. Outliving her family and friends. Losing touch with the essence of being human. In hopes that now she could travel with the Doctor, explore the universe together as immortals.

Yet, he refused.

“How many have you lost? How many Claras?” Yes, companions will inevitably leave the Doctor – but the grim realisation brings an understanding: The impermanence of these companionships makes every moment precious.

He’ll lose them all; but they remind the Doctor why the universe is worth saving every single time – and he shows them the infinite wonders and possibilities.

Like the Doctor, you’re not alone in your journey. Every person you meet is a universe on its own: Gravitate towards them and build a community of unity and belonging, star by star.

Be your community’s biggest fan. No other shortcut here.

Behind The Character

The Doctor transcends time and space, with over 15 different incarnations but a consistent core – a traveller and seeker of knowledge. And when we meet the 12th Doctor, brilliantly portrayed by Peter Capaldi, we see a distant and cynical figure who carries the weight of existential dread and regrets.

Created by Steven Moffat, the 12th Doctor is a stark contrast to his cheery 10th and 11th predecessors. The intention behind was to show the burden that built up through his 11th incarnation during the war times – and manifested in 12th’s core question: “Am I a good man?”

Integral to the narrative of every single Doctor are his companions. Usually human, they offer a perspective to the Doctor to “see the universe through their eyes, of someone who hasn’t experienced it all” – and carry on the Doctor’s legacy after their travels. For 12th, it starts with Clara – hesitant at first to see a new face, she continued the travels from the 11th era onwards, by his side.

The audience reaction was initially mixed: It was such a new and dark take on the Doctor for modern viewers. His demeanour and new attitude was a shell that opened up, ever so slightly, through his adventures with Clara; and broke when she was in danger. To the extent he’d go to any lengths to save his best friend, even if he betrays his values.

The 12th Doctor’s arc culminates in becoming kind and compassionate, finding new companions like Bill and Nardoyle, and eventually letting go of his present self to allow 13th to exist. For he’s found the reason why he keeps going: Humanity.

“Because I’ve got a duty of care.” Get to know 12th better in this moodboard.

Mapping Out The Narrative

A space and time travel show? Sign me up! But how has it been going since 1963 (with a 20-year-long pause in-between)?

Take it from a nerd like me: It’s a sense of belonging. Beyond fascinating travels, you get a warm feeling of curiosity, adventures, change (the Doctor reinvented themselves 15+ times, so why not?), and… friendship. The Doctor is out there, travelling with people like you and me – and we get to peek through their window.

Let’s zoom in onto this: The relationship between the Doctor and his companions.

Companions see the universe – but also keep the Doctor accountable, especially from succumbing to his dark nature, and ask obvious questions (that he loves because he can show off his smarts). Even though 12th is distant at first, he gradually warms up to and praises Clara, Bill, and Nardoyle. He admits that they encourage him to put up with the rest of humanity. (It’s a compliment given his grumpy nature!)

Above all, the Doctor inspires his companions to lead. They are not the sidekicks but heroes, sometimes even saving the Doctor and taking the initiative. This is what makes the relationship mutual and equal. It’s not all about the Doctor and humans around him but them together saving the universe.

But the Doctor takes it even further – not only is he their friend, he’s their biggest fan.

Beyond their relationships, 12th chose to sacrifice his life for Nardoyle, took care of Bill like the grandpa he is, and made it his mission to save her from her death. And Clara? He endured 4.5 billion years of imprisonment and almost killed another being – just to save her. (This arc, however, shows unhealthy sides of their friendship that teetered on the Doctor almost betraying his core values.) But her departure made the most profound impact on him as he became more compassionate to people.

It’s the companions who let all Doctors grow and go further. And it’s the Doctors who are biggest fans of their companions, driving them to carry on and save the universe.

Beyond the same topics or industries, what attracts like-minded people is your attitude. When you are on the same level and ground as people around you, it clicks – and becomes a no-brainer to hang out with you. So, how can we find people that have that – the same attitude?

Step one: Zoom out – Why do you want a community to exist? It’s a culture you build where people are united in the same purpose, and share a sense of belonging.

Step two: Think – Who do you want in your community? Communities go beyond broadcasting your content and services to your audience. If you want a community – like the one forged by the Doctor – you will need to find something that you all share. So, what will unite you all?

Step three: Zoom in – How can you support your people? How can you become their biggest fan? Celebrate wins (big and small!), offer help, and hear them out. Take a step into their world and understand what they care about.

Entrepreneurship – and creatorship – is scary when you’re alone.

The Doctor could travel through time and space on their own but they chose not to – and multitudes of perspectives opened in front of him.

I’d encourage you to do the same: Find your people.

Seeing Through Stories

Navigate the world of brand strategy, every Friday

Every week, I will send you a TV or book character breakdown and what made them iconic – and how you can apply those insights to your creator brand.