ESPN's overblown special on whether Lebron James will play for the Miami Heat had nothing on this.
Literally millions of people around the world tuned into the BBC and several other cable channels Sunday to find out who will be the next Doctor Who after Matt Smith exits the role on Christmas Day.
Speculation ranged from Helen Mirren (probably because of Red 2) to Idris Elba and everyone else in between.
The choice was Peter Capaldi, familiar to sci-fi fans as the reptilian Frobisher in Torchwood: Children of Earth, or the foul-mouthed Malcom Tucker in The Thick of It and In the Loop. Some fans may also say, "Wait, wasn't he in "The Fires of Pompeii" as Lucius Caecilius?
He sure was:
It's the second time an actor played a different role on Doctor Who before becoming a Time Lord. Colin Baker, who was Maxil in "Arc of Infinity," was the other.
Oh, and he's an Oscar winner. He wrote and directed Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life, which won Best Short Film in 1995. He also was in a band with Craig Ferguson, which means Capaldi may find himself on The Late Late Show very soon.
The BBC special had some special guests including two past Time Lords, Baker and Peter Davison (who's also the father-in-law of David Tennant), some companions, and even Professor Stephen Hawkins. It was surprising to see Anneke Wills, who played Polly back in 1966, and witnessed the first regeneration to Patrick Troughton. It was also good to see old friends like Janet Fielding (Tegan), Katy Manning (Jo Grant), and Bonnie Langford (Mel, who's busy with the audio drama versions). Jenna Coleman was interviewed as well, and hopes Clara and Twelve can be good friends. That depends on how much "Malcolm" will be in the new Time Lord.
Already, some people are predicting what the transition will be like:
That will work for the first 15 minutes, but we may have to say so long to the fez and bow tie before too long.
The special was short and entertaining, and the final reveal was what a lot of people expected. Some had hoped to get a female Doctor, but the hopes of seeing Helen Mirren in the TARDIS will have to be set aside again. We can always hope she could be a Time Lady who didn't disappear along with Gallifrey, or maybe an older version of River Song. It's safe to say the special will find its way into the Blu-ray season set, or maybe part of the Christmas Special DVD.
It's not the first time the identity of the next Doctor has been done in a special interview. Sylvester McCoy was introduced in 1986 at several PBS stations. Back then, it included Jon Pertwee, plus a reminder for people to contribute to your local public TV station and keep Doctor Who on the air. It was a different time. Here's both halves of that interview:
One thing is for sure: the NFL draft, Heisman Trophy announcement or even the choice of the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympics will never compete with what the BBC did to introduce a new hero, and keep Doctor Who in our minds for the rest of the year.