This should come as no surprise to those of us who have made a sideline of watching the promotional rhythms of the BBC. With production ‘complete’ on the Christmas special, presumably with the regeneration sequence done (though maybe not–that has also happened before), and Comic-Con looming there was just too much coincidence in play not to have the Masters of Promotion, the BBC, getting out in front of the story and in turn make an event of this. It happened with Capaldi and Matt Smith too. Why not now?
This also leads us here at the Tour into a bit of necessary pedantry. By convention Capaldi is always referred to as the 12th Doctor (or the 12th actor to portray the Doctor–you get the idea) and so Sunday will unveil the 13th.
By the canon of the show we must insist, again, that Capaldi is, in fact, the 14th Doctor owing to the neat fix Steven Moffat applied back in The Time of the Doctor. Tennant’s hand/duplicate from The Stolen Earth and Journey’s End as well as John Hurt’s ‘War Doctor’ count. Capaldi was the first Doctor of a new regeneration cycle. The Tour’s nomenclature about this spells this out so expect that when ‘insertnamehere’ is announced those Tour images (which should appear with shocking alacrity) will be prefixed with ‘d15’ henceforth.
One last bit of hopefully prescient wisdom. You can already feel the backlash pieces being pre-written because the ‘new guy’ doesn’t tick all of the ‘wish list’ preconceptions about who the next Doctor should have been but inevitably wasn’t. Moffat got a lot of this. Now it’s on Chibnall’s racket. The best term we’ve heard for this is antici-pointment. Our advice is to just let the ‘insertnamehere’ wash over you and not pre-judge. We’ll have years to assess what begins on Sunday, July 16th. It’ll be okay. Really it will.