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Peter Capaldi on a guitar-playing Dr Who: "I imagined the Doctor might have invented the wah-wah pedal. We could’ve done an historical episode where he met Jimi Hendrix"

Dr Who
(Image credit: BBC)

It's never too late to release your debut album - Scottish actor and former Dr Who Peter Capaldi once played in a college punk band called the Dreamboys but is only now releasing a full-length record as a solo artist. But he has also explained how he helped push the electric guitar into the world of Dr Who and had hopes to include depictions of Robert Johnson and Jimi Hendrix too.

I said it’d be fun if the Doctor had a guitar to plug into the Tardis console

"Between my first and second seasons," Capaldi told the Guardian. I said it’d be fun if the Doctor had a guitar to plug into the Tardis console. It was just an idea, I never dreamed it would happen. 

"I imagined the Doctor might have invented the wah-wah pedal," he adds. "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.

As good as that all sounds, it wasn't to be, but in playing the 12th incarnation of The Doctor, Capaldi did manage to get a Yamaha SGV-800 guitar in the iconic character's hands. And he recorded the guitar parts for the 2016 Dr Who episode in series 9 that he plays the instrument in. 

Capaldi – who is the cousin of fellow musician Lewis Capaldi and appears in the video for his global hit Someone You Loved – further revealed to the Guardian that his Dr Who costume was inspired in part by one of his musical heroes – David Bowie.

"Yeah, him and David Lynch, who used to do that buttoned-up white shirt thing," Capaldi confirms. "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."

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As for his own musical influences on his debut album, St Christopher, Capaldi looks to The thin White Duke alongside other icons too.

"The usual suspects for someone of my generation: Bowie, Lou Reed, Talking Heads, Sex Pistols," he says. "At art school in 1976, we all arrived dressed as Neil Young, with long hair and army greatcoats. When the Pistols happened, we came back the next term with peroxide hair and leather trousers. OK, plastic trousers. It was only in later life that I got into Dylan and Leonard Cohen. When you’re trying to write lyrics, they’re the ones to study."

St Christopher is released on 19 November via Monks Road Records.

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Rob Laing

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before that I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar.