Peter Capaldi Revealed How David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, and More Influenced His Time at ‘Dr. Who’

Sometimes it’s hard to fully grapple with just how influential the music of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s was on the very fabric of popular culture… these days, the various legacies and their corresponding iconographies are so vast that they’ve essentially become the everyday vernacular of style and expression. Still, when a little wink and nod to some of the musical heroes of the past pops up, it’s always fun to stop and appreciate the reverberation from those glorious scenes. 

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And so far as that kind of thing goes, over the weekend, former Dr. Who star Peter Capaldi offered up a golden nugget of pure pop-culture-crossover magic—speaking with The Guardian about his debut album (his first foray into solo music-making), the 63-year-old actor revealed how David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix and more all shaped his time on the beloved sci-fi series.

For example, Bowie helped inspire Capaldi’s costume for the Twelfth Doctor (his character on the show from 2014 to 2017). “Yeah, [Bowie] and David Lynch,” he said, revealing the influence. “[They] used to do that buttoned-up white shirt thing. Another reason was I thought kids could look like the Doctor without having to spend any money. Rather than buying a costume, they could just button up their school shirt.”

Capaldi listed Bowie as a musical influence too, before going on to explain how the Doctor ended up with an electric guitar during his tenure.

“Between my first and second seasons, I said it’d be fun if the Doctor had a guitar to plug into the Tardis console,” he said. “It was just an idea, I never dreamed it would happen. I imagined the Doctor might have invented the wah-wah pedal. We could’ve done an historical episode where he met Jimi Hendrix and introduced him to this piece of alien technology. I also thought there could be a great blues episode. When Robert Johnson meets the devil at the crossroads, the Doctor could discover something extraterrestrial going on.”

The interview came as Capaldi is gearing up to unveil St. Christopher, his first official solo album. Check out the lead single and title track below:

Photo by Paul Bergen/Redferns

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