HE will soon be hurtling through time and space, but new Doctor Who Peter Capaldi took his first steps towards the TARDIS from his home in Bishopbriggs.
The 55-year-old – who grew up in the town near Glasgow – formed his self-styled ‘Dr Who Fan Club – Glasgow Branch’ in March 1974 with friend Simon Clegg.
Peter wrote two letters to the ‘Radio Times’ that year about Doctor Who – one announcing the formation of the club, the other to praise a Doctor Who special run by the Times.
Old friend Simon grew up in the same area as Peter and was his co-star in his acting debut – a play called ‘An Inspector Calls’ at the Fort Theatre, Bishopbriggs, on March 9, 1974.
Peter was an active member of the Antonine Players and played a policeman – little knowing that a police box of a very different kind was moving towards him decades down the line.
Simon, who now lives in Melbourne, said: “Who would have thought a boy from Bishopbriggs would be Doctor Who? Well, he always talked about it.
“The club joining fee was 20p. Scarves to be procured at Simon and Peter’s expense by supplying wool skeins to a member of the Fort Theatre, Phillipa Stevenson, who made them on her knitting machine.
“Apart from himself I was the sole member.
“Peter spent a lot of time up at the Fort and his catchphrase was ‘splendid Sarah’ – an expression used by the then-Doctor Who Tom Baker to assistant Sarah-Jane Smith.
“He was a nice guy, vibrant, creative and possessed of the crucial ingredient – high self-esteem. I always thought it would lead to fame, but I never thought it would take so long. I always liked Peter. Good on him.”
And guess what – 39 years and 15,000 kilometres from Bishopriggs – Simon still has his Doctor Who scarf.
He added: “Peter got his actor’s Equity card playing one of the criminals at the Crucifixion carrying a cross across a stage at The King’s Theatre, Glasgow.
“He then went to Glasgow School of Art. He formed a band with Craig Ferguson (of ‘The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson’) called The Dreamboys.”
Simon, who studied theatre at Glasgow University, emigrated in 1996 and worked for a while as a drama teacher in Victoria, Australia.
GLIMPSE INTO THE PAST: Peter and Simon are pictured in ‘An Inspector Calls’ at the Fort Theatre in 1974. Also pictured is a letter Peter wrote - aged 15 – to the Radio Times. Simon is pictured in Australia.
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