It’s not a secret that Doctor Who is my favourite show—but within that show is one of my favourite characters of all time, the Twelfth Doctor. He’s played by Scottish actor Peter Capaldi, and after watching countless interviews and behind the scenes footage I fell in love with the man behind the Doctor, too!
Today is Peter Capaldi’s birthday, so I thought it would be fitting to share the incredible experience I had when I met him! A couple of years ago I found out that he was coming to a convention very close to me, and of course I screamed. And then bought tickets.
Before the con I had this debate with myself on whether to get an autograph or the photo op (because as much as I love Peter, I just simply couldn’t afford both) and in the end I decided that I’d rather have a longer interaction with him than what you get in the photo op. And boy am I glad I made that choice.
The autograph line was long. It took me about an hour and a half to get through the whole thing, but every second was worth it. Every chance I got I watched Peter interact with other people as I waited . His signature smile is somehow even more beautiful in person! A couple times he glanced up at me and saw me staring at him, but I just couldn’t help it! (If you’ve ever had the experience of seeing someone from TV/movies in real life, you know how wonderfully strange it is.)
When I finally got up to Peter, I just couldn’t believe that I was a few inches away from him. In real life. In person. He shook my hand and greeted me by name, as it was on the sticky note for the personalisation of the magazine he was signing for me; he also immediately recognised and complimented my Clara cosplay! I told him that I loved Clara and he said that just a couple weeks ago he was able to grab Jenna Coleman from her busy schedule with Victoria and hang out with her for a bit.
“You’re my favourite Doctor,” I blurted out as he signed my magazine. “I’m sure you hear that all the time but…”
“No no!” He grinned. “I never get tired of hearing it.”
I went on to tell him about how important his era on the show was during my life, as it lasted pretty much my whole college career, and how his character was also how I met one of my best friends. He asked me what I studied in school, and I told him about how I was a Music Education major and that I taught music to little kids. He asked if I was in school teaching then, and I told him I was.
“Good for you!” he said, and it seemed like he was really impressed. He told me that his daughter is a teacher, so he understood a little of what it was like.
Then he shook my hand and said it was really nice to have met me, and then I handed him a couple little gifts I made for him. He was really grateful and said that was very sweet of me, and I told him that he had made such an impact on my life so I wanted to give him something.
And then. Then. This legend, this absolutely incredible man said: “Well, why don’t you come here and give me a hug,” and proceeded to walk out from behind his table and hug me and I’m pretty sure my mouth was hanging open because. Guys. I had been watching him talk to people for the past 1.5 hours and not once did I see him walk out from behind his table or even give anyone a hug over the table! I don’t know how, but somehow Peter just knew that I needed to hug him. (When I reflected later, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, as silly as it sounds, that it was God showing me a glimpse of just how much he loved me through this small act of kindness from someone I really admired.)
So Peter hugged me and that was it. I started crying. Like instantly just sobbing. And he hugged me for a long time, said “Take care of yourself,” like it was over and then pulled away, still holding my arms, and said, “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” I sobbed, and then he pulled me in for another hug; it’s made me tear up every time I’ve retold it and this time is no different. And as he pulled away he said, again, “Look after yourself,” very seriously, and I really think he knew, from his daughter, how hard teachers work.
I said thank you probably at least 5 times (and in the midst of the hug I kept saying things like “You have no idea what this means to me” and stuff like that; I don’t even remember because I was just dead in my grave at that point) and walked away trying to stop sobbing but grinning too!
I’m going to remember this experience for the rest of my life. Peter Capaldi is a truly incredible man.