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Twelfth Doctor
"Sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones, but you still have to choose."

First appearance: "The Day of the Doctor" (2013)note 
Debut: "Deep Breath" (2014)
Regeneration story: "Twice Upon A Time" (2017)

Played by: Peter Capaldi (2013–2017)
Voiced by: Peter Capaldi (2014–2015); Jacob Dudman (2020); Jonathon Carley (2020)

"Winning? Is that what you think it's about? I'm not trying to win. I'm not doing this because I want to beat someone, or 'cause I hate someone, or because— because I wanna blame someone! It's not because it's fun. God knows it's not because it's easy. It's not even because it works, because it hardly ever does. I do what I do because it's right! Because it's decent! And above all, it's kind! It's just that. Just kind."

The first incarnation in the Doctor's second regeneration cycle.

The aging, acerbic, Punk Rock professor dressed like a street magician. Although still lovably dorky, Twelve is less goofy and affable compared to the Eleventh Doctor and values a pragmatic approach; he exploits the full breadth of his age and experience as a Time Lord rather than hiding from it, and can be dangerous and difficult to deal with as a result. Because he is a bit blunt and insensitive at times, he occasionally outdoes his predecessor's alien mannerisms. Unlike some past incarnations, he Hates Being Touched and has little interest in flirting with anyone; even a simple hug makes him squeamish at first. Despite all of this, he remains capable of incredible compassion towards even the least likely souls, still determined to be the man who saves people - Earth, as he often warns enemies, is definitely under his protection and, if you hurt it (or things he cares about), he's coming for you. And God help you when he does. A mix of his Third and Fourth incarnations, he could either show you mercy when you don’t deserve it, kill you or, on the occasions he chooses not to kill you, make you wish he had.

This Doctor sees rich Character Development over the course of his adventures and overtime is shown to be capable of a deep love of many kinds; you can, in fact, tell where he is in his character development - just look at how his hair grows! For his first companion Clara Oswald, he endured 4.5 billion years'note  worth of torture for her, and afterwards he risked space, time, and his whole identity to save her from the grave... and he almost succeeded. He was the Doctor who truly returned the love of his most infamous wife, River Song, and had the growth to move on from her death. He met Nardole, rescued him from life as a head on a robot, and facilitated his reconstruction with various body parts all because he needed someone to keep him company — though Nardole quickly grew annoyed with the Doctor's attitude. With Bill Potts, a teacher-pupil relationship grew into familial love reciprocated in its own ways. Finally, his relationship with his Arch-Enemy the Master — regenerated into a woman, Missy, since he last saw them — and their mutual longing for the friendship they once knew is the story that weaves throughout all of his adventures... his very last, "Twice Upon a Time". The final acts of the Doctor who learns and knows more than any other the values of kindness and love are to 1) inspire his first incarnation to regenerate despite all the terrors that lie ahead and 2) to let go of his present self and allow Thirteen to exist.

It is a tribute to the longevity of this show that, in 1974, a 15-year-old Peter Capaldi wrote a letter to the Radio Times praising Doctor Who's tenth anniversary serial. His very first appearance as the Doctor (as opposed to his first story) is in the climax of "The Day of the Doctor", the 50th anniversary special.

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Tropes associated with the television series

  • Absent-Minded Professor:
    • Twelve really is that bad at remembering things.
    • First names "aren't his area", he misses a coffee date with Clara (by 3 weeks) because he got distracted, he may have severe prosopagnosia (face blindness), and he can't remember how old Clara is supposed to be.
      Doctor: You're not a young woman anymore.
      Clara: Yes I am.
      Doctor: Well, you don't look it.
      Clara: I do look it.
      Doctor: That's right, keep your spirits up.
    • "Last Christmas" shows that he genuinely can't tell what age Clara is, and that he apparently always sees her as a twenty-something woman, even in a dream scene where he winds up 62 years into her future. He also believes that he and Clara look "basically the same age." Some fans theorize this is because, as a Time Lord, he can sense all the collective time lived by her echoes when she jumped into his timestream.
    • He's not sure in "Listen" whether he wrote the text that started off the episode, even after Clara points out it's in his handwriting.
    • He sometimes forgets the passage of time. In "The Magician's Apprentice" where he stays in Medieval Essex, he thinks he's been there a day. Bors corrects him. He's been there three weeks.
    • Literally becomes one when he takes up a teaching post in Series 10. No one knows what he's supposed to be teaching but the university lets him do whatever he wants because he's so popular amongst the students. In one episode, he lectures a class on space medicine and continues on with the subject even after someone points out that he was originally going to speak to them about agriculture.
  • Ace Pilot: Compared with the notoriously frantic piloting of previous incarnations - particularly Ten and Eleven - the Twelfth Doctor pilots the TARDIS in a nonchalant, businesslike manner. He's so good that we see him successfully experiment with things like piloting it without the safeties on or navigating it via direct input into its telepathic circuits. He even gets the First Doctor's TARDIS to land exactly where and when he wanted it to go.
  • Action Dad: His "dad skills" come in handy while adventuring!
  • Actor Allusion: When he flashes the Psychic Paper to the 3W curator in "Dark Water", the man asks why there's so much swearing on it. Twelve replies that he has some "pent up" issues he's working on. Peter Capaldi's most famous role before the Doctor was Malcolm Tucker, famous for reinventing the swear word, on The Thick of It and In the Loop. The "Shuttity up!" lines in other episodes also reference this.
  • All-Loving Hero: Takes him a while, but by the end of his life, whatever that was left of the brooding and cynical old man we first saw in Series 8 has been replaced by someone who believes in being kind and helping others out of the goodness of one's heart.
  • Almighty Janitor: Becomes a literal one in "The Caretaker", where he goes undercover as the school's caretaker in order to find and dispose of a killer alien robot in the area.
  • Almost Kiss: With his wife, River Song, preceded by Held Gaze. When Twelve comforts River that their last night together will actually last for twenty-four years, the pair seem to be darting meaningfully at each other's lips and... the screen went black. They "lived happily ever after", though.
  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: While chatting with Bill about the history between he and Missy, Twelve notes, "I think she was a man back then. I'm fairly sure I was too."
  • Amnesiac Hero:
    • After regenerating, he temporarily forgets how to fly the TARDIS, what any of his friends even look like, and that he used to have an English accent. He also appears to have forgotten occasional other bits and pieces of his past lives, such as the events of "The Girl in the Fireplace". He's also lost memory of some aspects of Clara's past; the Eleventh Doctor actually visited Clara as a child and saw her parents, yet in "Listen" he, for some reason, gets it in his head that Clara grew up in an orphanage.
    • A justified and downplayed example happens to him at the end of Series 9 when he loses all of his memories of Clara to Laser-Guided Amnesia — the tragic endgame of his going too far to save her from her final death. As it turns out, he can manage to recall the adventures they had together, up to and including the circumstances of their separation, but he no longer recognizes her face, voice, etc., as she learns to her sorrow when they have one last meeting in Nevada. Shortly before his regeneration, the neural block is undone by the Testimony and all of his memories are restored, whereupon he is able to bid an avatar of Clara goodbye.
  • Anchored Ship:
    • In the words of Steven Moffat himself, from DWM #484:
      Steven Moffat: …he was reminded on Trenzalore that he wasn't Human; that he wasn't one of them, and that they live for a very short time. And that's what made him draw back a bit, and think 'I'm getting too bound up in them.' Of course, he doesn't succeed in that at all! In his very repressed, restrained way, he's clearly as besotted with Clara as he ever was! That line in 'Dark Water', 'Do you think I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference', that's about as close to 'I love you' as the Doctor can get.
    • As of "Last Christmas", the situation finally seems remedied when Clara, tricked by an illusion into believing that her life was almost over, outright stated that he was the only worthy husband (except maybe Danny) she would ever accept.
    • Series 9 (and the actors themselves) made it very clear that the anchor was hoisted and the Doctor and Clara were in love and in a relationship. But thanks to the traumas of "Face the Raven" and "Heaven Sent", they cannot stay together because it is now unhealthy for them (not to mention the universe), and he cannot be his best self. The mind wipe looked to anchor the ship for good, as he no longer knows how and why he loved her; fortunately, he regains his memories prior to his regeneration, though the circumstances remain and the anchor remains lowered.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: According to Word of God, his declaration of loyalty to Clara in "Dark Water" was supposed to be one of these, markedly as understated and 'stealthy' as Clara's own confession in "Mummy on the Orient Express" (in which she is heard saying "I love you" to Danny on the phone while looking directly at the Doctor moments before deciding to renew her commitment to the Doctor). Attentive audience members might have noticed that he explicity said "care for", not "care about", something a perfectionist English teacher was bound to have noticed. Clara seems to return it in "Before the Flood", saying if the Doctor loved her in any way, he'd come back to her, before Clara finally stops him from making this in "Face the Raven", saying she already knows what he wants to say before she heads out to die, and it's better if he doesn't.
  • Anti-Hero: He's not a particularly nice or empathetic man, although this significantly softens with time. The Doctor has to check with Clara if he's a "good man" during "Into the Dalek", and Clara, Courtney, and Lundvik debate this in "Kill the Moon", bringing up that the Doctor treats Clara like a pet half the time and leaves her craving a glass of wine.
    HALF-FACE MAN: Do you have it in you to murder me?
    Twelve: Don't make assumptions about how far I will go to protect [mankind], because I've already come a very long way. And unlike you, I don't expect to reach the promised land.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: He's actually given up on having a happy life. He still tries his best to help and save people.
  • Apologetic Attacker: "I've got the horrible feeling I'm going to have to kill you." ("Deep Breath")
  • Arbitrary Scepticism: Despite everything he's seen and done prior to "Robot of Sherwood," he's very insistent that Robin Hood is just a legend, even while talking to Robin Hood.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: A rare self-aimed one: whether or not he's a good man. He asks Clara if she thinks he is, and she stammers and demurs.
  • The Atoner:
    • His introverted and relatively unboastful personality is an attempt to be less manipulative and vain than he occasionally became in previous incarnations.
      The Doctor: I've made many mistakes, and it's about time I did something about that.
    • This drives his actions at the start of Series 9, as Peter Capaldi explains in this interview excerpt: Having made the tragic mistake of choosing to abandon a young Davros on a Skaro battlefield in mid-rescue upon realizing who he would become, he is willing to die if need be to make up for all the sorrow that came after. When this goes awry, he is driven towards the Despair Event Horizon.
    • "The Zygon Inversion" reveals he burns with guilt over his actions in the Last Great Time War as the War Doctor, and has vowed that others should never have to feel the anguish and hear the screams he still does.
    • "Face the Raven" furthers this — he honestly feels he is a lost soul beyond redemption, and when he loses Clara, he warns Ashildr that his anger could drive him to extreme measures. They do in "Heaven Sent" and "Hell Bent", but he comes back from the brink and accepts being mind-wiped partially because losing memories of someone he loved will help him atone for going too far in trying to save her.
    • In the next episode, "The Husbands of River Song", he realizes how badly he messed up poor River Song by never truly returning the love she held for him in all the encounters they had in his previous life — all because he couldn't accept endings. Recent events have changed him a bit in that regard, so when they crash-land on Darillium, he finally becomes the lover she pined for.
  • Author Appeal: Well, Actor Appeal anyway. Beginning in Series 9, Twelve frequently begins using an electric guitar; it's part of his characterization. Peter Capaldi was part of a punk band in his youth.
  • Baby Language: It's particularly heartwarming to see Twelve translating baby cries.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Even in a muddled state, this incarnation still boasts about his awesomeness.
      The Doctor: What, you wanna psychic link with me? The size of my brain would be like dropping a piano on you.
    • Held up by a would-be TARDIS hijacker, Twelve scoffs, "You'd starve to death trying to find the light switch".
    • It's a little more lighthearted than other boasts, but Twelve gives one to Robin Hood at the start of a sword fight, armed with a spoon. He promptly wins the fight anyway.
      The Doctor: I don't have a sword. I don't need a sword. Cos I am the Doctor, and this is my spoon!
    • From "The Pyramid at the End of the World":
      Monk: Without our help, planet Earth is doomed.
      The Doctor: Yeah? Well, it's been doomed before. Guess what happened? Me.
    • He gives one in "Flatline", similar to one that Eleven gave in "The Eleventh Hour".
      The Doctor: I tried to talk, I want you to remember that. I tried to reach out, I tried to understand you, but I think that you understand us perfectly. And I think that you just don't care! And I don't know whether you are here to invade, infiltrate or just replace us. I don't suppose it really matters now, you are monsters! That is the role you seem determined to play, so it seems that I! Must play! Mine! The man that stops the monsters! I'm sending you all back to your home dimension. Who knows? Some of you may even survive the trip, and if you do, remember this: You are not welcome here! This plane is protected! I am the Doctor, and I name you the "Boneless"!
    • And this from "The Girl Who Died", which borders on Blasphemous Boast too:
      The Doctor: I'm the Doctor, and I save people! And if anyone happens to be listening, and you've got any kind of a problem with that, then to HELL with you!
    • In "Face The Raven", the Doctor gives Ashildr a boast that isn't so much a positive boast, but a horrifying reminder of why he is The Dreaded after Clara dies.
      The Doctor: What Clara said — about not taking revenge — do you know why she said that?
      Ashildr: She was saving you.
      The Doctor: I was lost a long time ago, she was saving you. I'll do my best. But I strongly advise you to keep out of my way. You'll find it's a very small universe when I'm angry with you.
    • The biggest one he has yet was delivered in "Heaven Sent", where, full-on in grief at losing Clara and being trapped with no way out, he struggled to get out even at the cost of dying and resurrecting himself, cycling for four and a half billion years. It becomes more satisfying in "Hell Bent," when you realize that it was Rassilon who imprisoned him here in the first place—and the first thing he does after returning to Gallifrey is launching a bloodless coup to send Rassilon packing into exile in shame:
      The Doctor: If you think, because she’s dead, I am weak, you understand very little. If you were any part of killing her, and you are not afraid, you understand nothing at all. So for your own sake, understand this. I’m the Doctor. I am coming to find you. And I will never, ever stop.
  • Badass Longcoat: A navy coat with red lining, evoking the Third Doctor's costume minus the 1970s frills. Also has a red velvet variant of it.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • In "Deep Breath", pretends to abandon Clara so her breakdown will cause the Monster of the Week to go on a Motive Rant.
      Doctor: Hello, hello, rubbish robots from the dawn of time. Thank you for all the gratuitous information. Five foot one and crying. You never stood a chance.
    • "Time Heist" is essentially Twelve pulling an extended Batman Gambit on himself.
    • In "Heaven Sent" and "Hell Bent", he pulls a colossal one on the Time Lords. He fights his way out of the confession dial instead of giving up his last secret about the Hybrid, and then achieves a bloodless coup on Gallifrey, becoming the Lord President. He then tells the Time Lords that the information on the Hybrid that they need so badly can only be had by interrogating Clara, so they extract her from the timeline at the moment of her "Face the Raven" death (leaving her a virtually-immortal, time looped self, not quite fully alive). The Doctor promptly spirits her away — he didn't actually have a last secret about the Hybrid, nor did she; he just needed the means to save Clara's life and run!
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: He becomes The Unfettered in "Hell Bent" to save Clara from her fixed-point death, and actually shoots the General — albeit after getting confirmation that he will regenerate — so they can escape the extraction chamber.
  • Beast and Beauty: An "intelligent and cynical beast" example with Clara — he looks old enough to be her father and his appearance and personality are intimidating and off-putting to everyone, even her for a while. She comes to understand him and help him be his best self in Series 8, and he becomes fiercely protective of her; their mutual affection is one reason he becomes softer and kookier in Series 9. In "Face the Raven", she ends up dead, partially the result of her growing harder-edged under his influence as he grows gentler under hers. The result is that the final Series 9 episodes bring out the beast in him as never before.
  • Being Good Sucks:
    • Again and again, he must sacrifice easy solutions to his problems in favour of taking longer, more painful paths. He can't always be nice and when he must be a Pragmatic Hero when pure goodness just won't achieve his goals, cope with the guilt and condemnation that ensues. So...
    • He must not use the Cyberman army of the dead Missy "gifts" him to conquer the universe, in part because it would also enslave the living of Earth.
    • He must save the boy Davros, despite knowing what he will become.
    • He must help the Vikings when they won't abandon their village, and from there save Ashildr's life to live up to his vow to be a doctor who saves whomever he can if he has a chance toeven though the only way he can do so leaves her a resentful immortal he has to keep an eye on, and who eventually chooses to betray him.
    • He cannot go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge when said betrayal accidentally kills the woman he loves.
    • In the final stretch of Series 9, his anguish causes him to become The Unfettered to save her, but he has a Heel Realization as she objects to his plan to force a mind wipe on her and decides to return to his principles. This means not only giving her up for good, but accepting both Mind Rape as a proper karmic punishment for his actions and that he is once more a fugitive from his own people due to his unfettered actions (unless they choose to forgive him), after searching for them and his home world for so, so long.
    • Between the events of "The Return of Doctor Mysterio" and "The Pilot", he takes a vow to guard the mysterious Vault (and its prisoner) beneath St. Luke's University. This forces him to effectively give up his time-space travels for decades, although he sneaks off now and again, to take on the cover identity of a university professor, and it's implied his only friend all this time is Nardole. Then he meets Bill. Alas...
    • In "Oxygen", he insists on exploring a space station in distress due to both wanderlust and Chronic Hero Syndrome, and overrides Bill and Nardole's objections. He knows, however, that he must shoulder the burden of responsibility for their welfare as well as the miners he's trying to rescue, and gives up his space helmet to Bill so she can safely walk through the void of space, which renders him temporarily blind. Moreover, the end of the episode reveals that it isn't temporary after all.
    • In the Series 10 finale, trying to redeem Missy inadvertently results in Bill getting converted into a Cyberman, his next regeneration starting, Missy apparently abandoning him before the final battle, and said battle — which he could avoid, but that's not the good thing to do — only temporarily delaying the Cybermen's advance.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Temporarily, and in conjunction with Love Makes You Evil (see below). The Doctor's grief over Clara's death still probably wouldn't have made him abandon his principles in favour of extreme measures to save her in "Hell Bent"...if not for the horrifying torture he undergoes in "Heaven Sent", which warps his sanity further.
  • Beneath the Mask:
    • Madame Vastra and others suggest that this incarnation more truly reflects who the Doctor is: the caustic but dorky old man that the Doctor previously hid behind young, attractive faces.
    • Twelve's jaded, emotionally distant, cynical surface hides a much mellower, kinder, and even humbler man on the inside. By the end of "The Witch's Familiar", his capability for compassion proves remarkable even by the Doctor's usual standards.
    • A running theme throughout his first series is his uncertainty at who he really is now. He's genuinely terrified that Clara doesn't like him anymore. This is illustrated vividly by the fact that after she tells him to go to hell at the end of "Kill the Moon", he returns and convinces her to go on one last adventure in "Mummy on the Orient Express". There is no evidence of, for example, the much more amiable Fifth Doctor immediately trying to reconcile with Tegan Jovanka after she essentially does the same thing under similar circumstances at the end of "Resurrection of the Daleks".
    • He is still capable of playfulness and wonder despite his gruff exterior, often at the strangest moments. He can fight Robin Hood with a spoon and win, he's delighted to be pulling Santa's sleigh as "Last Christmas" approaches its climax, and he can play the guitar like a rock star while making a grand entrance on a tank in medieval Essex! In the Expanded Universe, the novel The Blood Cell reveals him to be wearing socks decorated with cartoon pigs under his shoes, while the comic "The Monsters of Coal Hill School" in the 2015 Annual has him attempt a Bannister Slide. "The Zygon Invasion" also reveals that he wears underpants with question marks on them.
    • This is further explored in "Heaven Sent", which has him fighting for his life and freedom with no one to protect or impress — just a Monster of the Week to escape — in the wake of Clara's death in "Face the Raven". If there's nobody to put a mask on for...what is he really? As it turns out, he's still the Doctor.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: All the Doctors are frightening when the button is finally pushed, but Twelve? Twelve frightens himself with his own actions. That's right - the Doctor has become so scary that he terrifies himself.
  • Beware the Superman: His actions in "Hell Bent" embody this trope — the whole universe risks destruction via his actions, which he undertakes only because he cannot get over Clara's death. He sadly explains to Clara "I became the Hybrid" — the Person of Mass Destruction of Gallifreyan prophecy, who would conquer the planet, stand in its ruins, and "burn a billion billion hearts to heal his own" — as he succumbs to the mind wipe on the way to returning to his best, selfless self.
  • Beyond the Impossible: With two revelations — first, the War Doctor; second, that the aborted regeneration by the Tenth Doctor counted — it was revealed that the Eleventh Doctor should've been the last one. Luckily, the Time Lord High Council can grant new regeneration cycles. And Clara was able to convince them to do so.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Joins the other 12 Doctors to save Gallifrey in "The Day of the Doctor". He might be the biggest damn hero in the alliance: his presence implies that the calculations needed to save Gallifrey, started by One, weren't complete until partway through Twelve's run.
    • He saves Clara from the Half-Face Man just in time in "Deep Breath". It's implied he had the plan all along, but neglected to tell Clara about it.
    • Deconstructed in "Hell Bent" — he uses a Time Lord extraction chamber to pull Clara from the moment of her death on the trap street, but not only is this not the same thing as saving her life, it could result in the destruction of the universe if she isn't returned to said moment in time.
  • Big Damn Kiss: It took four decades, but he becomes the first Doctor seen to be snogged into incoherence by the Master. One episode later, once he realises how broken she is, he very gently grants her a second kiss.
  • Big Eater: Twelve is seen eating onscreen more than any other Doctor, possibly more than the rest put together, from stealing cups of coffee to bringing sushi along to a midnight break-in. ("Yeah, I brought snacks — mark of a pro.") Ironically, he's the Lean and Mean one of the lot!
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: His eyebrows received their own fan club thanks to a ten-second appearance in "The Day of the Doctor"! Referenced in "Deep Breath", when he gets a look at his face and rants to a homeless man how his eyebrows look cross independently from the rest of his face. In Doctor Who Legacy, his secondary skill is called "Attack Eyebrows".
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Fond of these. Even when no one is talking and used so often, it might as well be another catchphrase (one shared with Clara, as it happens).
  • Birds of a Feather: For all their arguments and outward differences, what draws him and Clara together - besides his gratitude for her past actions - is that they're ultimately very similar in both their strengths and weaknesses as cunning, dominant thrill-seekers, and have a strong affinity because of that. They're fundamentally two people brought together by their shared passions and hobbies. In "Mummy on the Orient Express" they outright agree with each other that they are addicted to travel and adventure. The Doctor is genuinely worried about Clara becoming more like him in Series 9...and in the end, his fears are justified.
  • Boomerang Bigot: As Danny observes in "The Caretaker", this Doctor's hatred of soldiers is ridiculous, considering he's effectively a "commander". (I’m the one who carries you out of the fire. He’s the one who lights it.) Defiantly proclaims he's not an officer in "Death in Heaven", and that he only needs friends that act on their own convictions/feelings, not mindless armies.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase:
    • He does this to the typical companion line "It's bigger on the inside!" in "The Husbands of River Song" when River, not recognizing him due to his latest regeneration being beyond the expected limit, takes him aboard the TARDIS while attempting to steal it from him; he states that he's always wanted to see it done right. "Hello, Sweetie" and "Spoilers" surely follow.
    • Makes a one-off use of the Eleventh Doctor's "Geronimo" in his first episode.
  • Brave Scot: A subtle version. Though Twelve is colder and more calculating than his previous two regenerations, he's still the same daring, ballsy madman he's always been, and this time he has the Scottish brogue to match.
  • Break the Haughty:
    • In "Robot of Sherwood", where his attempts to one up Robin Hood lead to him getting captured without his sonic screwdriver and Clara utterly fed up with him.
    • In the Series 9 finale stretch, one suspects that his failure to save Clara from death and then failing to fully restore her to life is the universe's way of rebuking him for making Ashildr immortal, which violated the laws of time and space (he chose the good side of To Be Lawful or Good...and Being Good Sucks).
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: "Before the Flood" starts with him directly addressing the audience to explain the "Bootstrap Paradox."
  • Brief Accent Imitation: He lapses back into sounding like his Fourth incarnation in Mummy on the Orient Express.
    • In The Zygon Inversion, the Doctor acts like an American gameshow host. This was based around the fact that a town called Truth or Consequences was involved, which was named after an actual radio show and television show.
  • Brutal Honesty: Ruthlessly and relentlessly, though he's just as capable of lying as previous incarnations. He just feels more guilty about it when he does.
  • Byronic Hero: The Doctor's fears, turmoil and guilt over his past and present actions and the darker aspects of his core personality have been simmering inside him for centuries (with occasional boilovers), and with this incarnation they overflow, resulting in a broodier, frostier personality. In Series 8, his character arc is figuring out what kind of man he really is; in Series 9, the final episodes push him to the Despair Event Horizon and his anguish almost tears apart the universe.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: Has disdain for industries which put profit over people. In "Thin Ice", he's disgusted by Lord Sutcliffe's business model that involves routine sacrifices of human lives, and in "Oxygen", he's incredibly displeased by the Ganymede Systems corporation's "capitalism in space", which involves charging their workers for the air they breath.
  • The Cast Showoff: Capaldi's punk rock past leads to Twelve playing electric guitar quite a bit.
  • Celibate Hero: Uncomfortable with kissing, he was momentarily dumbfounded when Maid Marian pecked him on the cheek in gratitude for saving her and reacted with horror after he was passionately kissed by Missy. However, he pecked Missy on the lips in gratitude for forcing him into self-reflection and kissed Clara's hand as a farewell gesture before she met her death. He also accepted kisses on the cheek from both Clara and River Song.
  • Changed My Jumper:
    • Probably best exemplified when he thinks all he needs to blend in on Earth is to wear a brown coat over his regular getup. Clara is not amused.
    • When Clara finds him in medieval Essex, he's dressed like a modern rock fan. The locals don't find it odd because he's doing this for three straight weeks.
  • Character Catchphrase: Although Capaldi himself has said numerous times that his Doctor doesn't have a catchphrase, that's not entirely accurate:
    • "Question!", followed by a question.
    • Telling people who often aren't saying anything to "shut up!" when he's coming to a conclusion.
    • Asking whether random things, or people, have developed a fault.
    • Calling people "pudding brains."
    • "Clara": At least during Series 8 and 9, the Doctor uses Clara's name so frequently (even in sentences where there is no reason to repeat her given name) that this is widely considered among fans to be a catchphrase. Fans have even done word cloud analyses examining the Twelfth Doctor's dialogue in Series 8 and 9 to prove that the word carries a lot of weight with him.
  • Character Development:
    • Throughout the previous two incarnations, the Doctor was a Stepford Smiler, hiding all his doubts and guilt beneath jokes and a younger exterior. His experiences as Ten and Eleven (and the experience of Clara finding out some of his secrets, but reacting in a supporting and accepting way) have cracked this facade, culminating in a version of himself who's not afraid to show his age and experience. While this makes him the most serious of his incarnations so far, ironically, this shows him at his most vulnerable, as he's letting it all out.
    • His previous incarnation's pacifist attitude has faded and he is more willing to kill and fight dirty when he has to — or, at least, so it seems. This is related to the revelation in "The Zygon Inversion" that where his previous incarnations did a pretty good job ignoring memories of the War Doctor's atrocities, Twelve not only can't, but is desperate to ensure that no one else should ever know such guilt and pain, making him highly pacifist in the matter of maintaining the human-Zygon peace.
    • The Doctor's conversation with Half-Face Man in "Deep Breath" does a good job at lampshading the Doctor's shifts in attitude towards the universe since meeting Clara, and all the events that followed. In contrast to his impotent raging at the unfairness of life in "End of Time" ("...and this is my reward!") and his cold, simmered-out surmise that "the universe doesn't care" how much work he puts into it in "The Snowmen", he now tells us that he long since stopped "expect[ing] to reach the promised land" or any sort of gratefulness or reward, but presents this not as a reason to give up on the world, but as a reason why it would be wiser not to cross him as he has nothing to lose or gain but the relative safety of the humans below. He's already endured (and destroyed) so much for their sake that nothing that he and Half-Face Man could do to each other would make a difference. Similarly, at the end of "Face the Raven" he declares himself to be a lost soul beyond saving; now that he's lost Clara he warns Ashildr to steer clear of him should their paths ever cross again, owing to his rage.
    • At the end of Series 8 he comes close to accepting himself and, to an extent, overcoming his self-doubts. Interesting in that while many of his previous companions tried to help with this in both spectacular and commonplace ways, it was the contrast with the distinctly more anti-heroic Clara (whom he is very attached to even though she shares many of his character flaws) and the similarly smart, quirky and rebellious, but notably more evil Mistress that brought him to the realization that his very real imperfections don't have to make him a bad person.
      The Doctor: I am not a good man! And I'm not a bad man. I am not a hero. I'm definitely not a president. And no, I'm not an officer. You know what I am? I... am... an idiot. With a box and a screwdriver, passing through, helping out, learning. I don't need an army, I never have. Because I've got them. Always them. Because love, it's not an emotion. Love is a promise.
    • At the top of Series 9, he's getting ready for The Last Dance with an old enemy in the wake of a mistake the Doctor made. Although it's clear that he's horribly, horribly scared, unlike what Ten or Eleven might have done, he makes no long goodbyes to old friends, not even Clara. He must go through with it absolutely alone. He sends out his last will and testament and takes some time out for himself in a medieval kingdom as he prepares himself for the end. After all, We All Die Someday, and he feels only death can atone for his mistake. His experiences in trying to do so, however, ultimately further his Series 8 epiphany that he may not be a classical hero, but can accomplish heroic feats when he manages to rise above his flaws.
    • Series 9 sees a problem he's had since at least his tenth incarnation — his inability to handle losing people, especially companions, in a healthy manner — reach a crisis point. In "The Girl Who Died" he admits he has no idea how he'll move on from Clara and his heartsache over Ashildr's death figures into his rash decision to save her in a way that renders her immortal, a decision he almost immediately regrets. When Clara dies, he risks all of space and time to get her back. Ultimately his efforts force them apart for good, but he finally understands that he cannot let grief and self-pity dictate his actions, and must accept that while he indeed should hold himself to the mark, sometimes he can't save others without causing bigger problems. (See also Chronic Hero Syndrome below.) Having learned to properly deal with loss at last, he is free in "The Husbands of River Song" to finally be the "sweetie" River pined so long for.
    • "The Return of Doctor Mysterio" and Series 10 take place decades after River's death and his choice to spare Missy's life, which leaves him stuck on Earth for decades watching the Vault. His relationship with Missy stalls and he slips into melancholy and loneliness. Bill Potts entering his life and his subsequent choice to share adventures with her revives his passion for life and helping others — and leads him to actively work to rehabilitate Missy in hopes of reviving their friendship, making her a force for good, and proving to each other that they are similar in positive ways. Although he and his companions pay dearly for their efforts to bring Missy around and as far as he knows it's All for Nothing, over the course of his final three episodes he comes to a full understanding of who he is and what he stands for — kindness. His life ends with two kind acts: First he saves the life of two World War One soldiers, and witnessing this is what convinces the First Doctor to accept regeneration. Second, he decides that as much as he longs for eternal rest at last he cannot turn his back on a universe in need and chooses to "let go" and regenerate. His Final Speech to his next self demands that they "get it right", to remember to "never fail to be kind."
  • Character Tics:
    • He was also known to bite down on his hand, tap his teeth with his finger, or cradle his chin in his hand when thinking, gesture by turning his hand with his fingers together and thumb stuck out and interlock his fingers when explaining or contemplating something.
    • When not out adventuring, the Doctor could be found jotting down equations and theories on various chalkboards in the TARDIS console room, or on hard surfaces that could bear chalk markings. He also employed chalkboards as a form of non-verbal communication when using telepathy and in his lectures at St Luke's University.
    • Much like his fourth and ninth incarnations, the Twelfth Doctor would grin when he was pleased or amused, flashing his upper teeth as he smiled.
    • Upon seeing a vase of picked flowers, he would grab a few and smell them, holding them right up to his nose and, when brooding, would lean his face into his right hand as he looked downwards while pulling at his face.
    • After his Character Development in his debut series, he's relaxed enough on his own that he's taken to whipping out a guitar and rocking out; sometimes when in deep thought, and sometimes just because.
  • Chastity Couple: With Clara; despite the depth of their mutual feelings, never so much as kiss. This of course is where fanfic comes in.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Much like his fourth and ninth incarnations, the Twelfth Doctor would grin when he was pleased or amused, flashing his upper teeth as he smiled.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: This causes him a huge amount of grief in Series 9 and 10 — he is determined to hold himself to helping/saving anyone he can however he can, even realizing that he has the face he does as a reminder to do so. But the subsequent consequences of such actions as helping foster a peace between humans and Zygons, feeling guilty over abandoning young Davros, saving Ashildr and making her immortal, and unintentionally inspiring Clara to develop this syndrome in herself cause him a great deal of misery, culminating in the events of "Face the Raven". Two episodes later in "Hell Bent", however, everyone learns that if he isn't working under this syndrome and just focusing on what HE wants, the results aren't pretty. Series 10 continues with this with trying to reform his long time Arch-Enemy the Master / the Mistress, and regularly making huge sacrifices to try and help others. By the end of the season, he's lost everyone he cares about as a result, and is hit with such a Heroic BSoD he seriously considers just letting himself die rather than go on losing more friends and loved ones because of his inability to not help out, to do what he thinks is right, to be kind. Of course, in the end, he changes his mind after noting there's still a universe of people out there who could use help, and triumphantly urges his next incarnation to "Laugh hard. Run fast. Be kind", despite all the suffering it's caused him.
  • Clone Angst:
    • In "Heaven Sent", Twelve uses a teleporter to recreate himself billions upon billions of times, each fresh copy forced to live out the same excruciating loop of surviving, punching an Azbantium wall a few times, and crawling back to the first room to rekindle the cycle countless times, with memory of the previous loops coming back to him at a key point over and over. Seemingly every "3D printer" Doctor copy has a prolonged Heroic BSoD upon realising the hopelessness of the situation, and likely the fact that millions of Doctors long ago crumbled to dust beneath a sea of identical skulls. Nevertheless, each copy is determined to eventually get through the wall, no matter how many Doctors have to die in order to achieve that goal.
    • A more straightforward but Subverted case occurs in "Extremis", which almost entirely takes place in a painstakingly detailed digital simulation created by the Monks. Whereas everyone else in the world instantly gives into despair upon realising that they are nothing but numbers and code, the Doctor's digital duplicate accepts that he is a "shadow" and manages to contact the real world Doctor to warn him of the Monks' plan, setting into motion the Monks' eventual defeat.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Regeneration trauma tends to leave all incarnations of the Doctor very groggy, but during his, he flirts with a giant dinosaur, initially thinks everyone but him has regenerated, and buys smelly clothes off a hobo.
    • His (apparently) clueless inability to notice Clara's attractiveness becomes a bit of a Running Gag in Series 8, often resulting in him going to Cloudcuckooland, especially in episodes like "Listen".
  • Clueless Chick-Magnet: It doesn't happen often, but when a female character hints at attraction to the Twelfth Doctor, he usually misses the point or just doesn't understand. Examples include Missy coming onto him in "Dark Water", O'Donnell's undisguised mixture of hero worship and attraction in "Under the Lake" and "Before the Flood", and even to a degree Clara, given his confused reaction in "Listen" to Clara (who it should be noted is dressed for going on a date at the time) saying he doesn't need mood lighting because "the accent is enough." He also misses Osgood's reaction in "The Zygon Inversion" to his confession that he wears question mark underpants.
  • Comforting Comforter: During the epilogue of "Mummy on the Orient Express", he takes Clara to a beach on an alien world and tucks her in comfortably with several blankets, so she could have a calm nap while he waits for her to wake up. He doesn't show his sweet and gentle side often, but when he does, he's really kind and nice, even if he'd never openly admit it.
  • The Comically Serious: Comes with being a very gritty and serious Doctor.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: Now that the Doctor's finally stopped running away from the Time War, he is devoting more time to self-reflection. Who is he? (An idiot with a box and a screwdriver, who saves people but also learns from them.) What is he really afraid of? (Being alone.) What does he think of himself? (Dictatorial, manipulative, likes to think he's clever.) Why does he despise soldiers? (They take orders, he prefers companions who think for themselves.)
  • Contrasting Replacement Character:
    • Is just as strange and alien as Eleven, but with much more intensity, and much less overt first. He's eventually revealed to be more empathetic than any previous Doctor. And where Eleven was best described as a dorky old professor with the appearance of a young man, Twelve often comes across as a moody teenager who happens to look like an old man.
      • On a deeper level, he contrasts with reboot Doctors in general. For the most part, they're all young and friendly and approachable, (with a possible exception for Nine), but have a Knight Templar streak underneath. Twelve is old and dark and scary and an unapologetic ruthless pragmatist, but also merciful; he is a man who believes in second chances. Also, Nine-through-Eleven were defined by hiding from My Greatest Failure, while Twelve patterned himself on one of his smallest but most significant successes.
    • The Fourth Doctor of the classic era, while outwardly an Byronic Hero, was an laid-back and outright outlandish figure who became more and more Darker and Edgier towards the end of his time. As the fourth incarnation introduced in the revived era of the show, while Twelve is just as much otherworldly and against authority, his byronic traits were much more pronounced and traditional which reflected in his personality and outlook but becomes Lighter and Softer as time goes on until the end.
      • The beginnings and endings of Four and Twelve are remarkably similar to the point of intentional homaging. In Four's first story, he's regenerated from the body of an older man into a younger one. In Twelve's first story, he's regenerated from the body of a younger man into an older one. Both Four and Twelve's first stories involve robots, yet, Four's introductory robot story involved humans exploiting a robot for personal gain, while Twelve's introductory robot story involved robots exploiting humans for personal gain. There's a lot more comparisons and contrastings one can read on the trivia page for Twelve's first episode. As for the endings, both Four and Twelve have a sudden flash of remembrance of their friends and foes just before regeneration, but they differ in that Four openly accepts the end of his life and welcomes regeneration, while Twelve severely struggles until an adventure with the First Doctor convinces him to accept regeneration again.
      • Even the way they treat their companions are markedly similarly yet different. Both Four and Twelve were known for their implied Ship Tease with their first human companion (Sarah Jane Smith for Four, Clara Oswald for Twelve) as well as their Time Lord companion (Romana for Four, River Song and arguably Missy for Twelve), and then some sort of tension with Leela. But Four, while superficially and humanly charming (as humanly charming the Doctor could be anyways), always held a (set of) rather distant alien heart(s) and found it rather easy to really keep his distance with Sarah Jane and both versions of Romana. When Sarah Jane wanted to leave, Four let her leave, albeit without understanding the context as to why she wanted to leave. When Romana left for E-Space to pursue her own adventure, Four let her leave (while also giving her a K9 unit as a farewell gift!!). And when Leela left the Doctor for Andred, the Doctor let her pursue her relationship with him (while her K9 unit opted to leave with Leela). Contrast that with Twelve, who spent 4.5 billion years in an eternal torture to save Clara Oswald from her death. Or Twelve spending a night on Darilium with River Song before her journey to the library, where a single night lasts as long as 24 Earth years. Or Twelve spending 70 years guarding The Vault on Earth and rehabilitating his chronic rival and old friend The Missy Master. Twelve, despite having a rather superficial alien charm (as alien-y charming the Doctor could be anyways), always held a (set of) rather human heart(s) and valued his companions deeply. This is further reflected with their later companions. Four treated Adric, Nyssa, and Tegan as stowaways and lacked the emotional capacity to really care for them, a level on par with One's treatment of Ben and Polly. Twelve treated Bill and Nardole with the same amounts of respect and care as with his other companions, (but perhaps not as intensely as with Clara, River Song, or Missy).
  • Cool People Rebel Against Authority: This Doctor doesn't listen to anybody or anything. He openly dismisses any authority by way of using his own. Best exemplified when he immediately bonds with Courtney, the local troublemaker at Coal Hill School. This might lend credence to the theories that Twelve is something of a cheeky teenager pretending to be an old jaded man.
  • Cool Shades: These are added to his wardrobe in Series 9, making their debut in "The Magician's Apprentice". The next episode reveals how cool they are — they're sonic sunglasses, replacing his old screwdriver since he gave it to the young Davros. (He gets a new screwdriver at the end of the season.)
  • Cool Teacher: His (mostly unseen) lectures at St Luke's are said to bring in students who aren't taking his course and some who aren't even students. Bill's friends were actually impressed that he was her "grandfather".
  • Covert Pervert: Possibly, if the browser history in his sonic sunglasses is any indicator. If nothing else, the way he snatches the glasses off of First's face is eerily similar to how a parent doesn't want their kids to glimpse at something naughty.
  • Create Your Own Villain:
    • As Series 9 begins, he's in the middle of saving a young boy from an mine field....until he finds out that boy was Davros, which makes him high-tail it (leaving his sonic screwdriver with the boy). And the worst part? Davros remembers. However "The Witch's Familiar" debunks this by having the Doctor indeed go back and fix his mistake....and things still turn out the same. He knows this — he's realized his real role in Davros' life was modelling mercy to him.note 
    • Saving Ashildr's life in a way that also makes her immortal and perpetually lonely results in her turning callous, and becoming bitter towards him, by the time "The Woman Who Lived" begins. He helps her regain some empathy — but in "Face the Raven" she makes an enemy of him over what becomes of Clara due to her plan to trap and deliver him to an unknown party going horribly wrong. By the end of "Hell Bent" it's not clear if he will ever explicitly forgive her for all this (partially because she has done nothing on-screen to earn it); if he does, it may not be to her face. On the other hand, he lets her follow him into the second TARDIS rather than leave her at the end of time, setting the stage for her becoming a companion to Clara...
  • Creepy Good: While many incarnations of the Doctor are this to varying degrees, Twelve takes this to a new level. Clara goes from being doted on by Eleven — an appeasing old man with a young, handsome face — to being pestered by Twelve, a glowering, ruthless pragmatist with a paranoid streak. It isn't until the ending of "Mummy on the Orient Express", more than halfway into Series 8, that she comes to understand he genuinely means to help as many people as possible with limited resources and isn't being a jerk for the sake of it. Throughout the Whoniverse (the show, novels, comics, etc.) Twelve, what with his bushy-browed glares and brusque mannerisms, tends to induce fear in others at first and second glance; realizing how tender and compassionate (not to mention brave and daring) he actually is takes time. The poor creature scares himself with his own inner darkness and starts questioning if he's good at all in Series 8. Then in the final stretch of Series 9, he gets pushed, not of his own choice, off the deep end and over the cliff, and unleashes the seven bells of hell on the Time Lords...It's glorious. Horrifying, but glorious.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Sometimes, he acts strict and stern to others in order to snap them back to their senses when he needs them to be brave. This extends to his companion. Even after he offers Clara help in "Dark Water", he is initially feigning annoyance in front of her, so she'll stop sobbing and pick up her courage. As he notes, he needs her to be strong, because both of them will have to work together to their fullest if they want to save Danny.
  • Cue Card: Clara develops a set of them for him to use to help him get through interactions with other people in Series 9. They don't always work as planned.
  • Cultured Badass: As if his outfit didn't make it obvious enough, Twelve quickly establishes himself as one by renovating the TARDIS: bookshelves, furniture, a fireplace, and a warmer colour scheme — all similar to the Eighth Doctor's console room.
  • Darker and Edgier: He's a "darker" man than the Eleventh Doctor, to the point Clara can't tell if the Doctor is still the good man she was quite insistent he was in his previous incarnation. Series 9's final three episodes reveal just what darkness he's capable of when the Despair Event Horizon looms.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Clad in darker attire, he's rather stoic, introverted and doesn't care much about human relationships, but he's fond of dry-witted joking and does pay genuine respect to his companion and the people he considers his friends, few though they are. The depths of his compassion, even towards his foes, also bespeaks a good soul. Tragically, his Protagonist Journey to Villain in the final stretch of Series 9 does almost change him to Dark Is Evil...but he comes back from the brink.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Given his dour grumpiness at the start of his regeneration, he was prone to apathetic one-liners at his enemies and the pudding brains. Sometimes combined with Gentleman Snarker.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen:
    • He comes across as grumpy a lot, even to Clara. However, over the course of several adventures and after a few misunderstandings, Clara manages to mellow him out somewhat and his Sugar-and-Ice Personality finds balance. By the end of Series 8 he's a kinder and more considerate man, even if his introversion and alienness often get the better of him. Curiously he's oddly sweet and nice to children right from the get go, even though he maintains a "grumpy, disinterested grandfather" facade in front of them.
    • The defrosting is illustrated in "Death in Heaven" and "Last Christmas" when he willingly submits to Clara hugging him (compare to his reluctance and awkwardness when she does so in "Deep Breath" and "Listen"). By Series 9, he's hugging her and clearly enjoys the spontaneous - completely non-plot-related; she just felt like doing it - hug she gives him in "The Woman Who Lived".
    • He's a much friendlier and fun-loving man by Series 9, but he is still not above calling humans idiots.
    • He starts frosting up again — and then some — after he loses Clara in "Face the Raven", but the ending of "Hell Bent" suggests he won't completely return to his old personality, and "The Husbands of River Song" effectively confirms it.
    • He's much more relaxed about physical contact with his next companion, Bill, and by his last episode, he enthusiastically runs to her for a mutual glomping hug.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The final episodes of Series 9 deal with what happens when this Doctor is brought to this point after coming close to it in "The Witch's Familiar", culminating in the events of "Hell Bent", as Steven Moffat explains to Doctor Who Magazine. The Doctor firmly crosses the horizon and loses all hope when he realizes that Clara is not fully returning to life despite his unfettered efforts:
    [The Doctor] once said, ‘Good men don’t need rules. Today’s not the day to find out why I have so many.’ Well this is him saying, ‘Sod the rules.’ I like him doing that, because that tells you who he is the rest of the time. The rest of the time he holds back. Not this time. Episode 11 pushes the Doctor to the brink of madness, and Episode 12 is what happens next. If the Doctor has lost his moral compass, if he's being selfish, if you really, really hacked him off, if you really got him angry and gave him nothing to fight for...what would you end up with? That's the 'hellbent' of the title. An angry, off-the-rails Doctor.
  • Determinator:
    • Shown in "Heaven Sent" with his final return to the teleporter, and with the overall plan that necessitates it. He spends four and a half billion years (though thanks to the "Groundhog Day" Loop he found himself stuck in, he spends most of each loop thinking it's his first time through, only remembering the rest near the end) punching his way through a substance stronger than diamond (and getting constantly killed by a monster) in order to escape the Confession Dial without having to give up who the Hybrid is.
      Twelve: I am the Doctor, I'm coming to find you, and I will never. Ever. Stop.
    • His efforts to forestall his regeneration in "The Doctor Falls" certainly count, doing so no less than six times, more so than any of his other incarnations ever did put together. This is after he's been electrocuted by a Cyberman, repeatedly blasted by Cyberman lasers, and caught in a massive explosion, the last of these actually resulting in his death, and when he was brought back to life with his current body remaining grievously injured, he still put off the regeneration.
  • Determined Defeatist: In his more pessimistic moments. He knows that he won't get any kind of cosmic reward for his actions, and he can't be sure how long any of the people he saves will actually last...but he keeps going, because what else can he do?
    The Master: You can't win.
    Doctor: I know! AND?!
  • Determined Expression: For his brief moment in "The Day of the Doctor", he gives a determined Kubrick Stare. It seems to have become his default expression in the face of any serious challenge.
  • Disappointed in You: When the Half-Face Man incinerates an innocent Tyrannosaurus Rex for body parts, the Doctor initially thinks humans killed it, leading him to call Earth the "planet of the pudding brains".
  • Disco Dan: Make way for "Doctor Funkenstein"! Twelve becomes warmer and kookier in Series 9, with his prickly porcupine manner (a vague sense of menace that made him compelling to watch but emotionally distant) mostly gone; instead of an old bugger who would throw you under the bus as easily as shake your hand, he's more of a washed-up rock star — slipping on shades, chillaxing with the kids, and ruminating on past glories in a very genial way.
  • Disney Death: He flat-out dies in the climax of "The Doctor Falls", but Heather rescues Bill's body and soul from the Cyberman she'd become, and turns her into a pilot creature just like her. Bill uses her newfound abilities in this form to instil a little life back into the Doctor, just enough to keep him from staying dead. Unfortunately, he remains in a grave state, and his body is demanding regeneration whether he wants to or not.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Twelve's final hours before his own midnight strikes see him staunchly resisting regeneration about a dozen times (fittingly), and having to go through an adventure with his first incarnation. Even after being convinced he should regenerate, Twelve gives a lengthy speech as a reminder to his next incarnation of what needs to persist even when his current self and all traits unique thereof are dispersed. And then finally, he verbally agrees to let go of his current incarnation and allows his regeneration to pass.
  • Driving Question:
    • In Series 8: "Am I a good man?" The Twelfth Doctor seems to be having something of an identity crisis now that he's escaped death once more, and even received a new regeneration cycle into the bargain. The fact that he survived against all odds and narrowly won for the sake of much grief and loss of people he loved had apparently made him question his life up until this incarnation. Hence his recurring doubts about who he really is at heart, and what he should stand for. By the end of Series 8, though, he finally seems to be finding his footing. note 
    • In Series 9: What is the Doctor's confession, a thing he will only reveal upon his final death or when he's at the Despair Event Horizon? Is it the real reason he left Gallifrey and has been running ever since? And what does it have to do with the Hybrid teased all season? note 
    • In Series 10: First, who or what is in the Vault, and why has the Doctor given up his travels to guard it? Later, will Missy really make a Heel–Face Turn? Is she sincere, or will she turn out to have been playing the Doctor all along? Or perhaps started out playing him, but has learned in spite of herself? note 
  • Dr. Jerk:
    • Despite his namesake, he spends much of Series 8 coming off as much less empathetic than previous incarnations. Doctor Who writer Jamie Mathieson said his initial image after Steven Moffat outlined Twelve was Dr. Jerk Trope Codifier, House. As he comes to an understanding of himself, he softens considerably. This is explored in some depth in "Mummy on the Orient Express" and "Thin Ice"; in both episodes his companion confronts him over his seeming heartlessness in the face of unjust killings and comes to realize it's partially an affectation to keep a handle on his emotions in a crisis.
    • The Doctor remarks before the medical operation in "Into the Dalek" that Clara is his 'carer' — she cares so he doesn't have to.
      Psi: Is that why you call yourself the "Doctor"? Professional detachment?
    • Parodied in "Robot of Sherwood".
      [stabs hypodermic needle into Alan-a-Dale]
      Doctor: Oh. All those diseases. If you were real, you'd be dead in six months.
      Alan-a-Dale: B-but I am real!
      Doctor: Bye.
  • Dying as Yourself: What he tries to do in "The Doctor Falls", in lieu of regenerating. He doesn't want to go through the agony of becoming a new person all over again because he's at last content with the man he currently is. Instead of regenerating, he stops the process and allows himself to die. Only Heather and Bill have something to say about this. Moreover, while he still manages to stop it in the final scene of this story, his first incarnation suddenly arrives on the scene...
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In "The Day of the Doctor," released about a month before the episode in which he was introduced, he joins the other Doctors to save Gallifrey.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending:
    • His suffering in the final stretch of Series 9 subverts the trope because his idea of a happy ending becomes a Tragic Dream (Clara back for good) that cannot be fulfilled without destroying the universe. After that, though, a sadder, wiser Doctor encounters River Song again. He'd been putting off taking her to the Singing Towers of Darillium for years because he knew it would be their last night together, but when they end up in a space liner that crashes on the planet, he proceeds to make the arrangements for that night to take place — ensuring a restaurant is built on the crash site, getting reservations for a table on a balcony overlooking the towers, fabricating a sonic screwdriver for her, etc. Having accepted that happiness with anyone can't last forever after what happened with Clara, he chooses to make the time he has left with River as happy as possible instead of putting it off. And since a night on Darillium lasts twenty-four years, he plays this trope straight at last.
    • In "Twice Upon a Time" he gets to see his companions one last time thanks to the Testimony - and that includes his beloved Clara, his memories of her fully restored.
  • E = MC Hammer: Twelve's preferred spot in the TARDIS is in front of a chalkboard, jotting down bizarre equations. It follows that his first companion would be a teacher, and his last companion would be a student.
  • Embarrassing Browser History: A bizarre Running Gag. What he's been looking up is left to the audience's imagination, but he definitely doesn't want Bill or his own past self to find out. It certainly caught Osgood off-guard.
    Osgood: Whoa.
    Doctor: Yeah, I said don't.
  • Evil Costume Switch: When he temporarily becomes The Unfettered Villain Protagonist in "Hell Bent", he swaps his red velvet Crombie coat out for a black overcoat. Clara notices and doesn't think it's very "Doctory", but he explains "I can't be the Doctor all the time." When he returns to his TARDIS at the end, he finds a red velvet Crombie coat waiting for him and puts it on. Almost qualifies as Evil Wears Black since he becomes the only real villainous character in the story after doing away with Rassilon.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: His hair was originally short and combed down, though occasionally styled into a coif. However, he later let his hair grow out, and become curlier, but had it cut down by the time he met River on Mendorax Dellora. After he left Darillium, his hair had grown back to its old length. When his body began to regenerate, his regeneration energy caused his hair length to grow out immensely.
  • Expy:
    • Twelve is probably the closest we'll ever get to having David Bowie play the Doctor; Capaldi, a fan of Bowie's work, admitted to using the man as the template for his own take on the role.
    • Jamie Mathieson has said that when Steven Moffat gave him the character outline, he was reminded of another grouchy television doctor.
  • Fallen Hero: "Hell Bent" reconstructs this trope — he gives up his principles first to take revenge on Rassilon and the High Council and then to risk the universe and his love for Clara by trying to save her, but when she stands up to him over his plan to mind-wipe her, he has a Heel Realization and realizes he must give her up and be a doctor once again (as opposed to the Hybrid, as he sees it).
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • This Doctor really doesn't like Daleks. However, when he's confronted with a Dalek that appears to have changed its moral compass from evil to good in "Into the Dalek", he seems to be actively hoping that he's at last found a Dalek that has permanently changed of its own initiative; when he finds out it hasn't (it was just an internal radiation leak affecting the brain chemistry) he feels validated in his beliefs that a good Dalek is impossible — which earns him a slap from Clara because he's enjoying it a little too much.
    • The trope turns up again when he abandons young Davros mid-rescue upon realizing the boy is the creator of the Daleks in "The Magician's Apprentice". This has tragic results — or so it seems.
    • Upon meeting Albar Prentis in "Before the Flood", he straight up tells the Tivolian that "I've had dealings with your lot before.note  I can't say I'm a fan."
  • Foil: His Arch-Enemy Missy, the only character who appears at length in all three of his seasons, is Faux Affably Evil as a contrast to his Good Is Not Nice attitude, showing the critical difference between niceness and kindness from the beginning. Interestingly enough, towards the end of their lives Twelve is still blunt and rude but it’s easier to tell he cares. Missy, meanwhile, is trying to be a better person but struggles to be put in the effort.
  • For Science!: Twelve seeks to prove a monster's existence in "Listen" not out of altruism or necessity, but scientific curiosity. Or if Clara's to be believed, a need to prove that he's not afraid.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: The Doctor's never been averse to talking to himself before, but this incarnation actually delivers cold open narration to the audience at times. He opens "Listen" by airing his theory about evolution's "perfect hider" note . In "Before the Flood", he directly looks at the camera as he discusses the bootstrap paradox, even telling the viewers to "Google it". He even gives a brief glance to the camera in “Heaven Sent” when he says he’s “nothing without an audience.”
  • Freak Out:
    • He has a brief one in "The Zygon Inversion" when he realizes all Bonnie wants is a war.
    • His desperate demand that Ashildr save Clara in "Face the Raven", to the point where he renounces his name and threatens to call in his deadly enemies the Cybermen and Daleks to help him.
    • "Face the Raven"'s events, specifically Clara's death, traumatize him enough that the final two episodes of Series 9 that follow chronicle his temporary descent to the Despair Event Horizon and a darker, rage-driven self, a process exacerbated by the torture he undergoes in "Heaven Sent".
    • Has an enormous one at the end of "The Doctor Falls", because he is sick of regenerating and unwilling to do it again.
  • Friendly Enemy: To Missy, starting in Series 9. He is amiable upon seeing her in "The Magician's Apprentice", publicly calling her his friend and humorously calling her "the wicked stepmother." In Series 10, he decides to see if he can actually redeem her if only that they might be true friends again.
  • Friend to All Children:
    • In a completely different way than Eleven. Eleven would often act like a child and join in their fun and games. Twelve is more an encouraging grandfather figure, and takes on the youngest solo companion to date: Courtney, who's only 15.
    • In "The Magician's Apprentice"/"The Witch's Familiar", he's trying to save a young boy from a mine field, even tossing him the sonic screwdriver, until he finds out that young boy is Davros. He gets in his TARDIS and hightails it out of there in horror and shame, and comes to see this as My Greatest Failure. In the end, the Doctor gets the chance to correct this and takes it — even after all the adult Davros does to him in this story alone. He's realized that saving the boy doesn't stop the Daleks from existing, but it is the reason they understand the concept of mercy.
    • In "The Girl Who Died" he still speaks baby, and it's the wailing of one that not only convinces him to help the villagers prepare to confront the Mire, but also gives him a hint to defeating them. Tragically played when his affection for Ashildr and guilt over her demise in the battle factors into his rash decision to bring her back with Mire technology, which makes her immortal, The Ageless, and ultimately lonely and embittered to the point of callousness by "The Woman Who Lived".
    • Clara desperately reminds him he is this when he threatens Ashildr with the destruction of her, the trap street, and everyone in it if she can't save Clara in the climax of "Face the Raven" — "Your reign of terror will end with the first crying child, and you know it!" He replies "No, I don't!" in anguish. "I do," she replies, which results in calming him down.
    • After his encounter with young Grant Gordon one Christmas Eve accidentally results in the latter gaining Superhero abilities, he does what he can to help the boy (and later teen) cope with the downsides of being Cursed with Awesome. When he kept an eye on Ashildr between "The Girl Who Died" and "The Woman Who Lived" he did so from a distance, but he actively visits Grant.
    • While no longer a child, when Jenny turns up in the comics during Season 10, he greets her with delight, actually hugs' her (not something 12 is renowned for doing), gives her an affectionate noogie, and unhesitatingly refers to her as his daughter
  • Friendship Moment:
    • Plenty of them with his companion Clara prior to their Relationship Upgrade.
    • He and the Master have a long-overdue talk about their friendship and their need for each other. It really helps Twelve understand what he is in relation to her, and he thanks her for it with a very sweet kiss on the lips. Even so, the Doctor disagrees with the Master deeply and is trying to be kind more out of pity than anything else.
    • Has an odd one with Davros in The Witch's Familiar, with the two of them sharing a heartfelt laugh over Davros' joke that The Doctor is not a very good (medical) doctor. The two of them were actively deceiving each other about everything else going on around them, but that laugh between the two of them was undoubtedly genuine.
  • Future Me Scares Me: After spending a good chunk of his time in the form of this incarnation trying to identify who he was, the prospect of losing all that deeply upsets him. When he suffers injuries that are so bad that his body is in dire need of regeneration, he decides to hell with regenerating and does everything in his power to stop it.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Perhaps in response to criticisms that Eleven was using the sonic screwdriver too often and for too many things, Twelve uses it sparingly and comes up with mostly clunky-looking, cobbled-together gadgets whenever he needs to do anything more complex than popping a lock. These devices still have a few kinks to work out, and they often break after one use or don't work as planned. The sonic sunglasses are sharper and more effective, but also highly breakable!
  • Geek Physiques: Emphasized by his dark outfits, with Clara outright calling him a stick insect.
  • Genius Sweet Tooth: Like his previous incarnations has an affection for jelly babies, which he keeps in a cigarette case. At the beginning of "Robot of Sherwood" one may notice that he eats yogurt. He also genuinely likes coffee, and in "Death in Heaven" it is shown that he puts at least seven sugar cubes in it.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: His bookish-minded redecoration of the TARDIS control room, general seriousness and sternness and Third Doctor-like aloof, aristocratic outward persona that hides an occasional sweet side, certainly point to this trope. In a variation, he's definitely on the cloudcuckoolander side of "gentleman".
  • Gentleman Adventurer: He's a little older looking, but still loves the thrill of an adventure.
  • Girly Run: Seems to be a recurring thing with characters played by Peter Capaldi (Malcolm Tucker immediately comes to mind), but Twelve tends to run in a manner that seems designed to 1) keep his posture as straight as possible and 2) be entirely unsuited to the act of running itself.
    Bill: Why do you run like that?!
    Doctor: Like what?
    Bill: Like a penguin with its arse on fire.
  • A God Am I: In "Hell Bent", where his attempts to save Clara make Ten's brief bout as the Time Lord Victorious look humble in comparison. He's still sympathetic, as it's the result of severe emotional and mental damage from his experience in the confession dial, but it is still a bout of megalomania.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: His sonic sunglasses are a wearable successor to his sonic screwdrivers.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Twelve is not particularly polite or affable the way his predecessors were. He's very no-nonsense, often to a fault. But he'll do everything in his power to help you or save you, and won't make much of a fuss about it.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: In "The Zygon Invasion", he claims to Osgood that he still has question marks decorating part of his wardrobe...namely, they're on his underwear!
  • Got Volunteered: In "Death in Heaven" Kate informs the Doctor that, in the event of a worldwide alien "incursion", U.N. protocol automatically and unilaterally promotes him to President of Earth. His word is law — literally. From there, the Doctor gets a private jet (which gets shot down by Cybermen), some joint chiefs (dunces), and a wall of flatscreens to keep him up-to-date on events (such as Missy escaping and disintegrating the guards). He's President once more in "The Zygon Invasion", and his new plane proves no luckier, this time being shot down with a rocket launcher fired by Clara's Zygon duplicate!
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: He is the Doctor whom River Song encounters before the events of "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead". When they crash-land on Darillium, he arranges a restaurant to be built near the Singing Towers, knowing that it will be where they will have one last night together before her death. This night turns out to last twenty-four years.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • He claimed in "Deep Breath" that thinking himself to be Clara's boyfriend was a mistake, obviously no one bought it as there are several occasions during Series 8 where his jealousy over Clara pairing up with Danny Pink is undisguised. Examples include his statement to himself, "Robbing a whole bank. Beat that for a date" in "Time Heist"; his undisguised jealousy of Danny seen in "The Caretaker" once he learns that Clara is not dating a fellow teacher who happens to resemble the Eleventh Doctor; and his hurt expression in "Mummy on the Orient Express" when he hears Clara apparently say "I love you" to Danny on the phone (even though, per Word of God from Jenna Coleman, those words were actually directed at the Doctor but he never realized). Inverted slightly in Series 9's "Before the Flood" when the Doctor suggests Clara find another relationship, though that could be simply sarcasm.
    • "The Husbands of River Song" has hints of this: He's decidedly disgusted by her openly pitching woo with two of her other husbands, first King Hydroflax (though it turns out she just "married the diamond" and is faking it) and then Ramone (whom she actually mind-wiped of the "husband" detail). Later he and River get into an argument about each others' various spouses!
  • Grumpy Old Man: When Twelve first gets a chance to see his reflection he notes how his face is "all covered in lines" and is all "frowning".
  • Guile Hero: Lampshaded by Clara in "Flatline": "Rule number one about being the Doctor, use your enemy's power against them."
  • Guilt Complex: Has this in Series 9, blaming himself for (in turn) setting the stage for the creation of the Daleks, Ashildr's death in battle, and finally Clara's death on the Trap Street. His attempts to atone for these disasters only cause more problems for him and others.
  • Handicapped Badass: As of "Oxygen", the Doctor is rendered (seemingly) permanently blind, but continues to be his usual Badass self. He certainly manages during the segment of "Oxygen" where he was blind, even delivering a Badass Boast about who and what he is. But his infirmity only lasts a couple more episodes, when he discovers it's impossible to escape imminent doom without the use of his eyes. He's forced to tell Bill he can't see, and she immediately goes to the Monks and strikes a deal to restore his sight.
  • Happily Married: To River Song. Unlike his previous self, Twelve learned to stop running from the inevitable and thus granted River twenty-four happy years with him.
  • Hates Being Touched:
    • Hugging is not in this Doctor's wheelhouse. He has absolutely no idea what to do with his hands. Clara seems to perversely enjoy tackle-hugging him into submission as he writhes around the console room, clawing and fidgeting out of her grasp. In "Dark Water", when Missy kisses him, he freezes completely up in shock. In the next episode, "Death in Heaven", he explains that the real reason he doesn't like hugs is not so much grouchiness but that "it's just a way to hide your face", in keeping with the whole Beneath the Mask theme he has going on... he's still somewhat awkward, but c'mon, Missy is his best enemy...
    • Played straight again in "Last Christmas", when Santa tells the group to hold hands and concentrate. He initially refuses to hold hands with anyone but Clara. But as they are in a circle and they have no choice he begrudgingly does so with Shona.
    • A sign of his deep affection for Clara in Series 9 is his willingness to hug her in moments of particularly high emotion, and to accept (and clearly enjoy) being hugged by her at her whim, and also embraces Clara's new form of affection, stroking his face.
    • By the tenth series, he's much more relaxed about touching, and by his last episode, he enthusiastically runs toward Bill for a two-sided glomping hug and gives a goodbye Group Hug to Bill and Nardole.
  • Heel Realization: Clara objecting to him planning to mind wipe her in "Hell Bent" triggers this in him, as he realizes his grief and rage has turned him into an Anti-Villain.
  • Held Gaze: Quite fond of these with Clara.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • He goes into a prolonged one at the top of Series 9 after realizing the young boy he was trying to save from a mine field was a young Davros. He gets back into his TARDIS and hightails it. The resultant funk is because he realizes first that this made him a massive hypocrite — his Fourth incarnation famously used the grey morality of Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act as the reason why he shouldn't kill the Daleks in the infancy of their creation — and second that he may have invoked Create Your Own Villain in the worst possible way.
    • He falls into this as he helplessly watches Clara die in "Face the Raven". When he comes out of it, see his comments to Ashildr under Badass Boast above...
    • Nearly the entirety of "Heaven Sent" sees him in this state, to the point of having a full-out breakdown and deciding to give up. It takes a mental recreation of Clara to snap him out of it.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation:
    • He doesn't like being an Anti-Hero. Combined with a deliberate nod to Dark Is Not Evil.
      The Doctor: Am I a good man?
    • When confronted with "The Architect" who wants him to rob the bank, Twelve immediately hates him because he's pompous, manipulative, and overbearing. That's how the Doctor realizes he was the Architect in the first place!
    • Calls himself explicitly "an idiot" starting in later episodes of Series 8, and is often willing to break the ice and admit he feels ashamed for some of his decisions and actions, such as abandoning the young Davros as Series 9 begins. His climactic monologue in "The Zygon Inversion" reveals that he is tormented by memories of his dirty deeds as the War Doctor and doesn't want anyone else to know such pain.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The Doctor — who has killed very many Cybermen and Daleks and orchestrated the deaths of others — is now 2000 years old and the countless conflicts have taken a toll on him. Just as Rusty the Dalek had an epiphany ("Life prevails") the Doctor learned over the years that evil/bad/nasty/vile things also frequently triumph. The final episodes of Series 9 examine just how far he's willing to go, especially when all he's fighting for is himself after Clara's death. The trope is, however, defied in many cases through his tenure, his seeming meanness stemming from wanting to help as many people as possible with limited time and resources, and is completely turned around by Series 10, with kindness being the most important thing he wants to demonstrate and pass on.
  • Hidden Depths: He often comes off as grumpy, cold or uncaring. But as Clara (and the viewers) get to know his incarnation better, we see that, despite lacking social skills, he cares deeply for his friends and all humanity and has a lot of compassion.
  • History Repeats:
    • The Twelfth Doctor and the First Doctor both started out on Doctor Who as relatively aged Doctors, have school teachers from Coal Hill School as companions, and don’t know how to fly the TARDIS. And both Hartnell and Capaldi were 55 when starting as the Doctor.
    • Both Capaldi's and Pertwee's Doctors follow on from the Time Lords interfering in the regeneration cycle, are significantly older in appearance than their companions, display remarkable rudeness, have an emotional reaction to their new eyebrows and favour dark clothing with red for spot colour - Twelve's suit and Three's signature opera cloak. (And Twelve gets a red velvet jacket added to his wardrobe in Series 9...) And then there’s the hair.
    • Like the Sixth Doctor, he's also the "darker" successor of the Doctor played by the youngest actor in the role at the time. The actors for both have also appeared in the show in other roles prior to becoming the Doctor.
    • Like Seven, he's a pragmatic person looking at the bigger picture, while his companion has gained increased prominence in story importance and screentime. Both twosomes have fallouts and reconciliations, struggling to balance their relationships with each other with the perils and responsibilities they face in their journeys.
    • Also, a relatively young incarnation enters a brutal, devastating centuries-long war which ages him into an old man. He regenerates after the war into a middle-aged incarnation who is rather rude and bitter, but still a very good person at heart. After a life that sees him soften through the influence of his companions, the Doctor dies fulfilled, accepting, and at peace, regenerating into a new young body with bright brown eyes, a winning smile, and a world of hope ahead of them. Question: Are we talking about the War and Ninth Doctors or the Eleventh and Twelfth? Or both?
    • In Series 10, he takes on another similarity to Pertwee's Doctor, being confined on Earth and utterly hating it, though with the difference that this time it's out of obligation, rather than imprisonment. He can technically leave any time he likes.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Early in his tenure, Twelve's personal issues and prejudices caused him to make snap judgements of people moments after meeting them. While occasionally accurate, his hasty judgements are often proven wrong.
    • He categorically dismisses all soldiers as unworthy of his time, even nice ones like Journey Blue. Danny Pink, who the Doctor views with the same condescending contempt from the moment they meet, turns out to be smart enough to realise the Doctor's complete hypocrisy and calls him out. The Doctor is eventually forced to admit that Danny and Clara's love for each other is the real deal; powerful enough to break through Cyberman conditioning.
    • He assumes that Robin Hood and his Merry Men are robotic plants created by the Sheriff of Nottingham, ignoring the many indications (and their own insistence) that that they are flesh-and-blood people and genuinely heroic ones at that.
    • He immediately pegs Rigsy as yet another pudding brain that should be kept out of the way, before quickly realising that he's far more intelligent than he presumed and deciding to keep him around.
    • Despite their extremely close relationship, the Doctor never fully understands Clara. This is best shown in "Heaven Sent" and "Hell Bent". In his Mind Palace sequences in the former episode, the Doctor imagines Clara as a motivating voice, ordering him to get up and win somehow, no matter the odds. When he next meets her in "Hell Bent", rather than being flattered by his dedication, Clara is utterly horrified and heartbroken upon finding out the torment he put himself through on her behalf, saying she would never have asked him to put himself through such anguish. In short, the Doctor's perception of Clara is severely disconnected from reality; more of a symbol than a real person who only exists to enable his worsening hero complex and reckless, self-flagellating behaviour. It certainly explains why he goes to such insane lengths to protect her, but speaks volumes as to how twisted and dysfunctional their relationship became towards the end.
    • Perhaps worst of all, the Doctor is initially a terrible judge of his own character and morality, and genuinely doubts his own goodness despite all the evidence to the contrary. His particular method of coping, i.e. being excessively cold and hostile towards everyone around him, leads others to doubt his motives, creating a feedback loop of unnecessary conflict with his friends and allies.
  • Hugh Mann: In "The Caretaker", his idea of blending into North London is wearing an orange coat in the same cut and length as his blue one and hanging placards reading "GO AWAY HUMANS" instead of the modest Keep Out sign he intended.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: He's the most alien of all the revival series Doctors.
  • Humble Hero: Zigzagged depending on the subject; he'll gladly point out that everyone else is a "pudding brain" compared to a Time Lord like himself but if you call him a great hero he'll immediately deflect the praise by saying that he's just "passing time". For all his pragmatism, he utilises this trope almost suicidally at one point. He effectively takes the bullet for Maisie Pitt in "Mummy on the Orient Express", despite it looking like he was willing to let her die at first. Luckily, once he diverts the threat's attention to him instead of Maisie, he succeeds in stopping it once and for all.
  • Iconic Item: His chalkboard, heavy boots, ring with a gemstone, holey jumpers and buttoned up shirts, and of course his red/blue-lined coat(s). Series 9 adds his hoodies, guitar, sonic sunglasses, and finally in "Hell Bent" a unique sonic screwdriver (he used Eleven's in Series 8).
  • Icy Blue Eyes: That stare of his is intense and frosty and made more so by the arctic colour of his eyes.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • The jumping-off point of Class (2016) is his decision to leave the space-time rift at Coal Hill Academy in the care of Miss Quill and four students, three of whom are ordinary humans with no experience in handling alien threats until their first confrontation with the Shadowkin. This arguably makes him culpable for every death that takes place in the show. In his defence, the show aired between Series 9 and 10, so it's possible that the events of "For Tonight We Must Die" take place during his tenure of looking after Missy and the Vault (with Nardole back at St. Luke's). If he's preoccupied with keeping one of the most dangerous criminals in the universe locked up, a vigil that keeps him isolated to Earth for decades, then his actions are justified to some extent.
    • Due to his pride and unwillingness to admit/show vulnerability, he grabs this several times in "The Pyramid at the End of the World", starting with not admitting his blindness to anyone besides Nardole (he tries to do this as the episode progresses, but keeps getting distracted) and ending with him not making sure his valet wears protective gear in the lab where the deadly bacteria has been released. The result of all this is his getting trapped in a lab rigged to explode. Bill saves him — by agreeing to give humanity up to the control of the Monks so his sight can be restored and he can thus escape, meaning that they get what they want and all his efforts to stop them (by stopping the bacteria, which they would stop in exchange for said control) were for nothing. In fact, the Monks' plot was likely capitalizing on his weaknesses so he would grab the ball! Still, Doctor Idiot once again realizes his mistakes, does save all life on Earth, and helps stop the Monks in the next episode — moreover "Pyramid" acts more intelligently than any of the other characters as the ball is passed around!
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: Stops Clara from killing the Master/Mistress in the finale of Series 8. He understands her anger and thinks she's justified, but he doesn't want his beloved companion to become a killer, especially after all the awful experiences she's already been through. The Master keeps twisting the blade by mocking the Doctor, gloating that "he wanted to save Clara's poor little soul".
  • I Have No Idea What I'm Doing: He starts his life deciding that the TARDIS is probably crashing before asking Clara how to fly it.
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm...:
    • Twelve is extremely prickly about this, insisting to Clara that he's "just passing the time" in "Robot of Sherwood" and isn't interested in heroism. Also, though he brags from time to time, he's much less pompous and vocal about his own exploits than any previous incarnation of the Doctor, hinting at a newly gained bit of maturity and more regret for the many, many mistakes he's made (especially in the Time War) and is still making.
    • In "The Witch's Familiar" he claims he's just The Storyteller (see below) and his greatest exploits are just his good days, the days when he lives up to the story he's trying to write for himself that posits him as a doctor.
    • In the denouement of "Smile" Bill, having realized over the course of the episode that he has Chronic Hero Syndrome, questions him about the nature of his travels and he continues to claim that he's just passing through, recalling his "I am an idiot" monologue in the climax of "Death in Heaven".
    • In "The Doctor Falls", when the Masters mock his futile Last Stand against the Cybermen, his response is that he does what he does because it's right, effectively admitting that he is a hero.
  • Improbable Weapon User: He doesn't need a sword to duel Robin Hood... he's got a spoon.
    • And while it was offscreen, he apparently won another swordfight with a daffodil.
  • Indy Ploy: Seems somewhat fond of them, even counting on others to participate. (When trapped inside a Dalek, he calls on Clara to do "a clever thing". Then he goes to show a Dalek something that'll change its mind forever. What exactly? "Not a clue".) From "Time Heist":
    Saibra: That's your plan? A "thing" will happen?
  • Innocently Insensitive: This incarnation's tendency towards No Social Skills and alienness frequently leads to this. He often slips up in interactions with others by seemingly not realising where the boundary between being sarcastic and being rude to people lies.
    • The way he treats Danny in "The Caretaker" suggests that he was teasing him and making jabs at him in what he considered a playful way, but to Danny, Clara and everyone else, it just seems like he's being a jerk for no logical reason (in retrospect, however we also know that he was being a bit of a Green-Eyed Monster too). The Doctor later begrudgingly backpedals on this, even if he doesn't directly apologise until he tries (and fails) to do it in the finale episode. That he keeps nicknaming Danny "P.E." even as he's dying doesn't help...
    • While his decision to avoid helping solve the problem in "Kill the Moon" is ultimately based on good intentions, he doesn't realise until the very end that he scared and insulted his companion and guest and acted in a way that might seem very haughty and patronising towards humanity. The latter is a particularly sad take on this, as he was convinced he did humans a favour by honouring their free will and independent decision-making — perhaps having learned from his mistakes as Ten.
  • Insult of Endearment: Mockingly calls humans "pudding-brains" on multiple occasions, but he does it in a cheeky way instead of being mean-spirited.
  • Insufferable Genius:
    • Every Doctor is an insufferable genius, but Twelve has to take the cake. From "Deep Breath":
      The Doctor: I hate being wrong in public. Everyone forget that happened.
    • Best lampshaded in ''Mummy on the Orient Express":
      Perkins: You know Doctor, I can't tell if you're a genius or just incredibly arrogant.
      The Doctor: Well, on a good day I'm both.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Initially this Doctor is basically not nice to anyone at all unless their name is Clara Oswald, which is in part due to seeing everyone's intelligence as inferior to his own. He makes an effort to be warm, but impertinence and ignorance severely test his temper in the heat of the moment. When the dust settles, he's a humble, sympathetic hero deep down.
  • Internal Homage: His clothing and serious demeanour call to mind the Third Doctor. The lavish use of odd body language, on the other hand, strongly evokes the Fourth.
  • In the Hood: After his first series, he started alternating between his usual smart suit and a more laid-back coat and hoodie combo.
  • Ironic Echo: Twelve spends most of Series 9 catastrophizing about losing Clara, something he knows must happen someday (not necessarily tragically) due to his existence as a near-immortal. The irony is that, Clara ends her time with the Doctor as someone who is effectively immortal, will never age, and is probably indestructible to boot. If not for that memory wipe, the Doctor finally has within his grasp a companion who he'd never have to worry about again - either in terms of her safety and in terms of aging, as she could theoretically outlive him. To put a bow on it, she invites him to just fly away with her instead of pushing the button.
  • It's All My Fault: He blames himself for Clara's death in "Face the Raven", having seen her act like a cocky Fearless Fool during all of Series 9 and only halfheartedly trying to rein her in. That said, he's still furious at Ashlidr for manipulating the situation that led to Clara's death in the first place, and hungers for Revenge against both her and the enemy she's delivering him to. In the end, he understands that it wasn't his fault that Clara made the choices she did, but all the trouble his "saving" Clara leads to is; when he realizes he'll lose his memories of her, he accepts it as just punishment.
  • It's Not You, It's Me: After seeing generations of humans live and die on Trenzalore and seeing Clara (initially) take the regeneration rather badly, he assumes that he has misjudged his place and pulls one of these on Clara. So both the 1st and the 12th episodes of Series 8 end with them deciding what's better for the other without consulting them, and in both cases, it causes more drama than it averts.
  • I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: He opts not to go for the scarf look again, and finds bowties embarrassing (and in the Titan comics he expresses similar embarrassment about the fez...). However, First Doctor-esque ribbon ties are okay for a special occasion. His reaction to Adrian's and Osgood's similar attires suggest that he's a lot fonder of his bowtie wearing days than he'd like to admit, and this is further confirmed in "The Magician's Apprentice" when it's revealed he temporarily returned to some of his old sartorial choices (including the scarf) during The Last Dance. Indeed, he wears Second Doctor-style plaid pants in several Series 9 and 10 stories.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: A sardonic curmudgeon, the Twelfth Doctor is often grumpy and pragmatic, displaying a more guarded, no-nonsense attitude when compared to his predecessors. However, beneath his cynical and abrasive exterior, he is a deeply compassionate individual with a strong moral compass. Throughout his tenure, the Twelfth Doctor showcases immense personal growth, enabling him to embrace his role as a hero and reveal a softer, wittier and happier side beneath his seemingly unyielding personality.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: In "Listen", he steals a security guard's cup of coffee; in "Twice Upon A Time" he picks up a random cup of coffee on the battlefield.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Might be a bit too aloof to others at times, but as he notes in his introductory episode, people are never small to him. He might snark at you without remorse, but he'll always treat you with respect and will do his best to help those in need. And though he vocally doubts and even dismisses it at one point, he likes to keep up hope for the Daleks being curable of their evil and obsession with destruction. ("If I could turn one Dalek, I could turn them all...") This is key to his actions at the top of Series 9: his regret over not saving young Davros when he has the chance to — he could have saved the boy's soul, but instead probably started his destructive ways — drives him to prepare for The Last Dance by way of atonement. In the end, he winds up being the boy's saviour, and while the evil of the Daleks still comes to pass, this Doctor is the reason they understand the concept of mercy.
  • Kubrick Stare: Fond of these. They turn up in "The Day of the Doctor" and "Hell Bent", during the Series 8 trailer, and in the opening credits.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia:
    • This incarnation has a habit of occasionally "deleting" unnecessary memories, which can lead to awkward situations, such as in "Last Christmas" when he deletes the names of the base personnel immediately after leaving them the first time, forcing him to resort to nicknames, and in "Before the Flood" when he realizes he's forgotten how to correctly interpret sign language.
    • This gains a darker significance when he intends to mind wipe Clara of her memories of him to keep her safe from his enemies after he saves her from her moment of death, but she gets wind of the plan and tampers with the device that will do so, insisting that she has a right to those memories even if she must die. He's not sure if it will actually wipe his mind if it's used, but insists someone has to lose their memories; they agree to use it together. The result is that he's the one who forgets her. Although he manages to remember his adventures with her, and the lessons of his experiences, he cannot recall or recognize her appearance, etc. He regards this as an appropriate punishment and atonement for his loving but selfish actions.
    • In "The Pilot", he intends to do this to Bill Potts by way of keeping The Promise he has made regarding the vault beneath St. Luke's, but is convinced not to do so when she objects and unknowingly reminds him of how it felt to lose his memories of Clara when she objected.
    • The neural block is lifted from him in the denouement of "Twice Upon a Time", restoring all of his lost memories shortly before he regenerates into Thirteen. He is then able to bid an avatar of Clara goodbye.
  • Lean and Mean: His fitted, high contrast outfits accentuate his very thin build and long limbs, giving the appearance of a "stick insect" according to Clara. Of course, being an Anti-Hero he's not a full example, but rather a downplayed one.
  • Leitmotif: He has two different themes during his seasons that play when in the middle of particularly epic or heroic moments.
    • His main theme is called "A Good Man?", which follows the same level of magnificence as "I Am The Doctor" while being darker.
    • Beginning with the awe-inspiring climax of "Heaven Sent", a sweepingly grandiose piece called "The Shepherd's Boy" becomes strongly associated with him. It plays at two other pivotal moments of his life: his final stand against the Cybermen in "The Doctor Falls", and his regeneration in "Twice Upon A Time".
    • Twelve also occasionally inherits leitmotifs from his previous incarnations, like "The Doctor's Theme" from Nine, or "The Mad Man With A Box" and "I Am The Doctor/The Majestic Tale" from Eleven.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: More than most companions, Clara becomes this to him, largely because he has such a hard time interacting with others. Their bond only grows with the horrible tragedies they undergo in the Series 8 finale, and he becomes her crutch in Series 9. He genuinely has no idea what he'll do without her. When she dies, though she warns him not to let being alone change him into something evil, he proves unable to cope with her loss in a healthy way, partially because of the vicious torture he undergoes immediately after he loses her. Thus, he becomes a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds who will risk destroying the universe just to get her back. In the end, she helps him realize that they must be parted for the greater good, and he accepts losing her and even memories of her so he can be his best self again. While he is travelling alone in "The Husbands of River Song" and grumpy and broody at the start, he turns out to be in much healthier emotional shape when another tragedy looms.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Like his previous incarnations, he talks about the drawbacks to immortality but ultimately he comes down on this side of the fence. One of his confessions in "Heaven Sent" is that, even after millennia of adventures and heartache, he's still afraid of dying; nevertheless, by the end of Series 10, Twelve makes a serious attempt to avoid regenerating, feeling he's too old and has lost too many people to want to keep going. Only at the last minute does he decide the universe is worth one more go-round.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Decides to try defying the laws of time and space to save Clara in "Hell Bent" despite his many experiences of how dangerous and impossible this can be, thanks to being Driven to Madness in "Heaven Sent".
  • Love Makes You Evil: Temporarily. His out-of-character actions in "Hell Bent" stem from his fury and grief at losing Clara, exacerbated by the torture he underwent afterwards. He wants to make those involved, however indirectly, in her death pay — and deposes Rassilon and his council once he makes it back to Gallifrey. That isn't so bad, but he's also willing to do anything to get her back, never mind that this threatens the stability of the universe and disregards her feelings. Luckily...
  • Love Redeems: Clara is painfully aware that she can't act as a Morality Chain to the Doctor in "Hell Bent" and has to convince him about the wrongness of his actions in a different manner. It takes a lot of begging, friendly appeals, and even some minor threats, but ultimately she manages to mellow him out from an increasingly irrational, narrow-minded state, by making him realize he's hurting her and their love. In the end, the Doctor is still sensible enough to understand he should respect Clara's wishes about her fate and memories, admitting he's just prolonging the inevitable and has gone too far in breaking his own rules. When he winds up mind-wiped instead of her, he tells her it's okay and his fault for going too far, and reminds her "Never be cruel and never be cowardly. And if you ever are, always make amends."
  • Love Triangle: Series 8 brings a triangle between the Doctor, Clara and Danny, and illustrates Clara's attemps to maintain her relationships with both men.
    • After Danny's passing the Doctor and Clara become even closer, but there goes Missy who desperately wants her friend back. From there, one of Ashildr's theories about the Hybrid in "Hell Bent" is that the reason Missy originally brought the Doctor and Clara together was in hopes of making him more like Missy via Love Makes You Evil, since the two of them push each other to extremes and the end result would be more love of chaos. Missy also seems to have hoped that when he inevitably lost Clara, she could be there to pick up the pieces and glue them into more suitable shapes.
  • Mad Scientist: All the Doctor's incarnations of the Doctor are this to some degree, but this incarnation particularly is - his Establishing Character Moment is using a piece of chalk to scribble equations all over the walls and floor, a habit he keeps up by having a blackboard set up in the TARDIS. He's also more prone to hare-brained schemes and even has Rotwang-style Einstein Hair towards the end of his tenure.
  • Manchild:
    • Twelve is rude and spiky to almost everyone around him, especially authorities, but sometimes shows a more caring side, and when alone he spends most of his time brooding. In essence, he is a rebellious teenager in the body of a grown man.
    • His dislike of having to take orders is very similar to Four. The difference is Four's dislike of taking orders was a reaction to Three's forced exile on Earth and being stuck with UNIT (along with serving as the Time Lords' occasional Rogue Agent). Here it's more Twelve's ego at work, with a bit of residual Time War and Trenzalore PTSD mixed in.
    • In "Last Christmas", when he and Santa Claus engage in Snark-to-Snark Combat, Clara says "behave Doctor"! After things have cooled, he geeks out over flying Santa's sleigh.
    • The above is just one example of Clara finding herself acting in a pseudo-mother ("Listen") or even teacher role ("The Caretaker") with the Doctor.
    • The Doctor reacts to the impending loss of Clara in "Face the Raven" in an almost childlike manner. ("What about me?")
  • Mayfly–December Romance: With an emphasis of the "mayfly" with regards to Clara. Ashildr discusses this directly with the Doctor in "The Woman Who Lived" and this becomes an ongoing issue with the Doctor in Series 9 as he spends part of it obsessing over the possibility of someday losing Clara ... and then he does.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: Becomes this over the course of his torment in "Heaven Sent", and spends most of "Hell Bent" in that state — broken by torture and loss, obsessed with a Tragic Dream, and willing to risk the destruction of the universe to make it possible. It's tragically telling that only Mind Rape can fully restore him to his best self.
  • Merlin and Nimue: After seeing the extent of Clara's capabilities all throughout Series 7, he comes to rely on them as a strategical asset. She adapts to his world, which involves becoming a more pragmatic person, but they both realize that this isn't necessarily a good thing in every context, given that one of the skills she acquires is being a Consummate Liar. There is even a "betrayal scene" where she attempts to trap him somewhere. While she, a girl who once believed that "people always have plans", learned the value of improvisation from him, ("It's not a plan, it's a thing") and certainly sees him as an inspiration or muse, Clara (as explicitly stated by Word of God in an interview discussing "Kill the Moon") does not, in any way, see herself as the junior partner in their team. The title "The Magician's Apprentice" explicitly references this archetype (though it also refers to his impact on Davros), and of course they look the part now! The Doctor worries he's only made her want to be something she can't be — him — and his guilt over her death in "Face the Raven" is huge. He saves her from the moment of death in "Hell Bent", but his going too far to do so leads to him forgetting her he never learns that her ultimate fate is to travel around the universe in a TARDIS of her own until the day she must return to her death, with Ashildr as her companion! It's worth noting that the 1989 story "Battlefield" establishes in canon that a future incarnation of the Doctor would become Merlin!
  • Moe: Clara certainly sees him as this, both in terms of her desire to hug him as much as possible, and also because she often acts almost like his mother. Reaches heartbreaking proportions in "Face the Raven".
  • Morality Chain: Clara is his, more than usual. She's fearful of the Doctor travelling alone, though she's estranged from him for a while after "Kill the Moon". In "Listen", his increasing paranoia terrifies her. Reversed in "Dark Water" and in the epilogue of "Flatline", where it falls to him to be hers, bringing the motif of role reversals in their relationship arc full circle. Doubly subverted in "Death in Heaven" where instead of the usual scenario of keeping him from going too far, she makes sure he doesn't go soft on the Mistress, who has repeatedly proven too dangerous to contain. In Series 9, the reversal continues — as a Distaff Counterpart who now thinks the way he does she rarely questions him; when she does, it's to encourage him to go as far as he can to help others even if it means morally grey actions and terrible risks, things he's trying to discourage her and himself from. This contributes to his impulsive choice to revive Ashildr in "The Girl Who Died"; he's the only one, initially, who doubts he's done the right thing, even though not saving her would have violated his principles as a healer. Ashildr/Me theorizes that the Mistress brought the Doctor and Clara together because Missy loves chaos and wants the Doctor to love it too.note  Her impulsive risk-taking leads to her demise in "Face the Raven", and though she tells the Doctor that he must hold back instead of harming others in hopes of being a Morality Chain Beyond the Grave, she learns in "Hell Bent" that he is no longer capable of this and instead is risking the entire universe in the completely vain hope of saving her life. In the end, they mutually realize that they can no longer serve as this trope for each other and must part because he will become Beware the Superman otherwise.
    • "Extremis" reveals that Nardole made The Promise to River Song to serve as this for the Doctor after she died, which is how he became a companion. In the end, the Doctor reverses roles with him, too, leading/bullying Nardole to stay with and protect the human refugees on the Mondassian colony ship.
    • Bill takes on this role several times in Series 10, either by asking What the Hell, Hero? or just by giving the Doctor someone to be a better person for.
  • Morality Chain Beyond the Grave: Clara is Killed Off for Real in "Face the Raven". This results in a Freak Out on his part, and before she goes to her death, she warns him not to become a vengeful warrior again — i.e. hurting others and/or seeking revenge for her demise. While he does exile Rassilon and the High Council bloodlessly, it's apparently as much over what they did in the Last Great Time War as anything else (as well as part of his ploy to be named Lord President, allowing him to use the extraction chamber to get Clara). When she is pulled out of time, Clara is horrified to realize he was Driven to Madness and from there gave up on his principles in order to save her life.
    • "Extremis" reveals that River Song became this for him after her passing and implies that this directly influenced his decision to not execute Missy.
  • Morality Pet: He serves as this to the now-immortal Ashildr/Me in "The Woman Who Lived". Because of her bitterness over what he did to her, despite his good intentions, she isn't initially willing to listen to him most of the time. But when her bargain with Leandro proves the Deal with the Devil the Doctor warned her it would be and she realizes her self-centredness is hurting innocents, she regains empathy and helps him stop the threat. From there she decides to take The Slow Path, looking after others the Doctor inevitably leaves behind — and thus becomes another person who will help keep him in line, albeit in a different way from his companions. However, to protect the trap street in 2015, she is willing to betray him. She tries to serve as this in "Hell Bent" to convince him to give up his Tragic Dream of saving Clara, but utterly fails at it because she does not understand why he can't just let her go.
  • Must Make Amends: In "Hell Bent", the Doctor honestly believes that by saving Clara from the grave and giving her an ordinary life by mind-wiping her of her memories of him, he can make amends for being a bad influence on her and setting her on the path of heroism that led to her Senseless Sacrifice. But as both Ashildr and Clara explain to him, it was not his fault that the latter's fate was what it was, for it was her choices that shaped it. In the end, he realizes that he doesn't have to make amends for her death — instead, he must make up for being unwilling to accept her loss and respect her wishes, almost destroying the universe in the process. Thus, he amends his creed to "Never be cruel and never be cowardly. And if you ever are, always make amends" as he succumbs to the mind wipe himself.
    • Wants to do this in "World Enough and Time"/"The Doctor Falls" for Bill when he isn't able to save her from being shot. He's determined to rescue her from the other end of the ship — but thanks to Time Dilation and the Master, he's too late to save her from Cyber-conversion. Then he promises he will restore her humanity...but once they're all stuck on Floor 507 with the TARDIS inaccessible, other innocents in danger from the Cybermen, and his body trying to regenerate, with two Masters circling him like vultures, he admits to her that he can't fulfil his promise. She's ultimately restored by her long-lost love Heather instead, while he undergoes a Redemption Quest in defeating the Cybermen.
  • My Greatest Failure: He is unwilling to discuss what might have driven him to be more open about his personality. In later episodes of Series 8 and throughout Series 9, he is visibly distraught when he realises Clara picked up some bad habits from him; meanwhile he looks decidedly embarrassed when Danny rightfully chews him out over his previous behaviour to him. He undergoes this trope several times in Series 9 and 10, not realizing that he's actually developing a bad Guilt Complex.
    • First, he sees not saving young Davros when he had the chance as the catalyst for Davros creating the Daleks. In the process of atoning for this, he becomes the boy's savior instead. Davros still became evil on his own... but the Doctor is the reason Daleks understand the concept of mercy. From there...
    • He almost immediately fears his choice to revive Ashildr will prove to be this if she turns out to have been immortalized. When he learnes that she was, his empathetic efforts to reach out and help her have some positive effect in "The Woman Who Lived". In the end, however, No Good Deed Goes Unpunished since Ashildr's deal with a villain in "Face the Raven" indirectly leads to...
    • Clara's death, which on the surface appears to be the culmination of both his positive and negative influence on her personality and his choice to revive Ashildr. He's a doctor and he couldn't save the person he cared about the most, and people he did save — Ashildr and, as it turns out, the Time Lords — chose to betray him. He does wind up finding a way to save Clara and tries to give her a life free of him, but goes so far in the process that he not only loses her again but his memory of her appearance, etc. is wiped (he remembers/pieces together aspects of their adventures but he basically loses the memories related to being in love with her). This has a bittersweet upside in that Clara and Ashildr are able to travel together for many years to come before the former meets her final death, and the Doctor is free of his anguish and can be his best self again. But he still has a "Clara-shaped hole" in his memory until just before the end of his life, where he regains his memories of her.
    • In "World Enough and Time"/"The Doctor Falls", Bill ends up converted into a Cyberman as an indirect result of his attempt to redeem Missy, an effort that as far as he knows does not take. It is clear that he feels terribly guilty about both failures, but especially the first as he was not able to fulfil her faith in him (and his own personal vow) that he would rescue her, though whether he ever really had a chance to is debatable. (He could have tried to board the lift with the wounded Bill instead of staying behind and explaining Time Dilation to the others while waiting for the lifts to return, but he might have been in more trouble if he had. Also, the Harold Saxon Master's presence at the other end, and his manipulation of events, can't be ignored — with Time literally on his side he was pretty much ready for anything the Doctor would try.) Bill manages to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence thanks to Heather so she gets a Happy Ending, and the Doctor does find out about this though he never sees the original Bill again, at least not in this lifetime (rather, he learns it from an avatar of the Testimony) — meaning her living self doesn't (yet) know he didn't die in a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Necromantic: Becomes this in "Hell Bent", pulling Clara out of time at the moment of her death, which renders her Only Mostly Dead. But he cannot figure out a way to fully bring her back to life, the initial act threatens to destroy the universe as it is, and she isn't happy at all to find he's willing to go to such lengths to begin with.
  • Nerdy Bully: His contempt for jocks and military types is pretty brazen. For the most part, it's played for laughs, since you wouldn't expect such an old-looking man to act like a snotty high school kid. Like most bullies, there are complex emotions and pain behind it, especially PTSD from the Time War (recently reinforced by Trenzalore) leaving him wanting to distance himself from all things military.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead:
    • Tactless as he may be, one of the indications that he's ultimately a decent person is that he still adheres to this even with people he cannot stand one bit. Once he learns of Danny's death, he immediately tones down the hostility, starts using his name (at least when talking to Clara) and tries to help him with everything in his might. This is also how the lies from the end of "Death in Heaven" ultimately come to light — in "Last Christmas", thinking that Danny is alive, and therefore, fair game for random outrageous/insuting remarks to distract Clara from the Dream Crabs' psychic assault, he enrages her enough for her to reveal the truth through a kneejerk reaction to enforce this trope.
    • Inverted in the case of the Time Lords and Gallifrey — now that he knows that they did not all horribly die by his hand, he's free to state that the place he considers "his world" is Earth.
  • The Nicknamer:
    • He takes to addressing people he's met as "that one" (in Clara's case, the "asking questions one"), or by their appearance ("This is Gun Girl. She's got a gun and she's a girl"). It's unclear whether this is due to his wafer-thin attention span, or if he really cares that little, as shown with "P.E." (a.k.a. Danny Pink). This trope quickly becomes a signature quirk of his both in the show and the Expanded Universe.
    • In "Flatline", he dubs Rigsy "Local Knowledge." In "Face the Raven", it's when he calls Rigsy by his "proper" name that the young man realizes something serious is happening. (Ironically, "Rigsy" is itself a nickname.)
    • He goes overboard in "Last Christmas" where after he "deletes" the names of the Arctic research crew he calls them "pudgy one" and "sexy one"!
    • He doesn't even bother to learn any of the villagers' names (aside from Ashildr's) in "The Girl Who Died", as he doesn't have the time when he's trying to prepare them for a battle the next day. He skips straight to the nicknames! (But the name of Ashildr's father, Einarr [whom he nicknamed "Chuckles"], stuck with him at the very least — he mentions it in "The Woman Who Lived".)
    • In "The Zygon Invasion", it turns out he even nicknames himself! Call him "Doctor Disco" or "Doctor Funkenstein"!
    • Generally, Clara avoids getting the nickname treatment. A notable exception is in "Heaven Sent" when he starts calling her "Teacher".
  • Nightmare Fetishist: He's excited when he's inside a Dalek, enthusiastically tries to find out the cause of his childhood nightmare, and gets positively giddy over finding out the existence of ghosts. He also at least tries to look on the bright side of being trapped within his nightmares in the confession dial. After all, "Hell is just Heaven for bad people."
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Tries to take a step back from the Chick Magnet nature of Ten and Eleven. He ends up being hugged by Clara and snogged by Missy despite his protests, and a sign of his Character Development as Series 9 begins is that he actually hugs Clara upon his reunion with her in "The Magician's Apprentice" and again in "The Girl Who Died" (this after accepting, with evident pleasure, a kiss on the cheek from her in "Last Christmas") and no longer objects to being hugged by Clara - in "The Woman Who Lived" he clearly enjoys a spontaneous mini-glomp Clara gives him. Finally, after one last hug, he kisses her hand before she heads off to her death in "Face the Raven". (All There in the Manual: The original shooting script for "Hell Bent" had the Doctor wrap Clara into a hug as he told her about her heartbeat; this was never filmed and instead Clara rebuffs his attempt at hugging her in the final episode.) He seems to have gotten over the aversion to hugging in Series 10; as his companion is the wrong orientation, the kissing part never really comes up.
  • "No More Holding Back" Speech: He makes epic speeches very frequently, often bemoaning the fact that he can do anything with the powers at his disposal, but may have to compromise his own rules and morals in order to exercise them. He can overcome any obstacle, escape any trap, resurrect the dead, reign hell down on every enemy in his path, alter the web of time itself. Indeed, when he does decide that the situation calls for some rule-breaking, expect his enemies to get very, very scared.
  • No Social Skills: While most Doctors fail to grasp social norms, they at least have a jovial and friendly attitude to make up for that. Twelve outright seems to consider common courtesies and pleasantries superfluous and a waste of time, so he comes off as more egotistic, callous, and arrogant. It eventually drives Clara away for a brief period in Series 8 when his well-meant choice to let her and humanity choose Earth's fate in "Kill the Moon" appears condescending and cruel. The introduction of Clara's cue cards in Series 9 was an attempt by Clara to help the Doctor improve his social skills, with the writers and actors confirming so (even naming the trope) in interviews.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Not nearly as easily and overtly as Eleven anyways, mostly through a combination of being Oblivious to Hints and his usual absent-mindedness, which causes Clara a bit of consternation at first. He's still quite capable of implying that Danny is screwing Clara's neighbor as a means to provoke her into an emotional reaction, offhandedly referring to a random bystander as "Sexy One", or brazen little forays like the "compelling masculine figure" incident, which Eleven probably couldn't even have pronounced without blushing and stuttering. In a more innocent example, he's amusingly clueless about Clara's looks when asked by her whether she's dressed well for a date with Danny. Although he remains above such considerations in Series 9, he no longer makes any negative comments about Clara's appearance and in fact pays her a public compliment in "The Magician's Apprentice" by playing the opening riff to "Oh Pretty Woman" when he spots Clara in a crowd, and even flirts with her by saying she's the only one he saw among all the faces in the crowd. Later in the season, he specifically mentions Clara's eyes as a feature he'll miss, and his last request to her in "Hell Bent" is for her to smile for him one last time.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • A Darker and Edgier Doctor he might be, but he's still the Doctor from the start. In "Listen" he's seen reading a Where's Wally? book in an attempt to connect with a young child — only to be told it's not a Where's Wally? book. This ticks off the Doctor, because he apparently thought you could find Wally in literally every book.
    • In "The Magician's Apprentice" he's been living at a medieval castle in Essex for three weeks and when someone challenges him to an axe fight he brings a guitar axe and does an awesome riff on top of a tank. It's not how a Time Lord usually has The Last Dance, but mere meditation and contemplation just isn't his style.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: His enemies regularly point out he's just as bad as them.
    • "Rusty" the Dalek points out the Doctor has as much rage in his heart as the Daleks he hates in "Into the Dalek".
      Rusty: I see into your soul, Doctor. I see beauty, I see divinity, I... see... hatred!
      Doctor: Hatred?
      Rusty: I see your hatred of the Daleks and it is good.
    • The Doctor also gets this one-liner at the end of "Into the Dalek":
      Rusty: I am not a good Dalek. You are a good Dalek.
    • Missy's plan in Series 8 is to show the Doctor is just as bad as her by giving him ultimate power.
      Missy: I need you to know we're not so different! I need my friend back.
    • This continues into Series 9 and 10: Series 9 ends with the Doctor realizing via Me that Missy may have set him up with Clara to lead him to the point where he would give up his morals and desire to help others in favour of only helping himself, making him embrace chaos and destruction like she does (in this case, happily, Love Redeems). In Series 10, he decides to spare Missy's life when she pleads with him to teach her goodness. This is not only because it's the action of a good person but because, as he explains to Bill in "World Enough and Time", they are so much alike. After all he's done, he feels that if he doesn't think she can be redeemed and doesn't try to help her, he really is no better a person than she is.
    • At the top of Series 9, his failure to save young Davros makes him realize on his own that in abandoning the boy, he probably "created" the creator of the Daleks. When this comes to haunt him externally, he's ready to die by way of atoning...but in the process reveals how different from them he actually is, and becomes not a creator of evil, but the reason his foes understand the concept of mercy!
    • In a (usually) more positive way, he and Clara continue to have certain parallels. As he's her friend, he becomes rather unnerved once he notices she's been picking up some habits and attitudes from him that she shouldn't have (lying especially), and in Series 9 is concerned she'll come to a bad end. He's right, and in the end they must be parted forever both to keep the universe stable and to be their best selves, as together they just egg each other on.
    • In another positive way, Robin Hood, having learned who the Doctor is from Clara, commented that he and the Doctor have a few similarities;
      Robin Hood: Is it so hard to credit? That a man born into wealth and privilege should find the plight of the oppressed and weak too much to bear... until one night, he is moved to steal a TARDIS? Fly among the stars, fighting the good fight?
    • He quickly realizes that his rash, well-meant decision to save Ashildr/Me's life dooms her to a perpetually lonely existence as an immortal, watching everyone she comes to care about die. He knows that feeling, and leaves her with the means to have an immortal "companion" of her own — but she never finds one "good enough". She becomes callous towards others and bitter towards him as centuries pass, but his understanding of her plight (and the ways it differs from his; for instance, her memory isn't nearly so long) helps her come around to empathy again. The reason he cannot make her a companion is because their hearts would "rust" and lose sight of the true beauty of existence without the perspective of mortals who cherish their fleeting lives. Initially, he became fond of her upon realizing she was The Storyteller (see below) and was seen as an odd duck in her village, much the way he was seen as an oddball on Gallifrey.
    • His climactic monologue in "The Zygon Inversion" has him tearfully explaining to Bonnie — a Zygon rebel commander who wants to provoke a war her kind likely won't win, with no concern over the suffering that will result — that as the War Doctor he was not so different from her...he was much, much worse, in fact.
    • In a more positive example along the lines of "Robot of Sherwood", when he complains to Nardole about Grant Gordon going against his instructions not to use his powers in public and becoming a Superhero in "The Return of Doctor Mysterio", Nardole points out that Time Lords aren't supposed to interfere with the goings-on of the rest of the universe. Both Grant and the Doctor have chosen to defy their "superiors" in the name of helping the helpless!
  • Not So Stoic: Underneath the gruff exterior, he's actually the same jovial and kind-hearted fellow he's always been. He just doesn't show it much.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Missy reveals herself to be the Master in "Dark Water".
    • In "The Magician's Apprentice", he finds out that the young boy he's trying to save from a mine field is Davros...
    • "Face the Raven": Both he and Clara have one upon learning that Ashildr can't lift the death sentence Clara conferred upon herself from Rigsy — and thus Clara will be Killed Off for Real in a few minutes because not even the Doctor has a means of doing so.
    • Has an epic one in "Heaven Sent" when he finally works out what's going on, that leaves his body poleaxed with an anguished Thousand-Yard Stare while his psyche rants and whimpers to Clara's image inside his mental TARDIS.
    • Played for Laughs in "The Return of Doctor Mysterio" when he realizes that young Grant swallowed the gemstone, believing it to be medicine.
    • Peter Capaldi was great at pulling this face, because he got to pull off another one at the end of "World Enough And Time" where he is subsequently confronted with the first Mondasian Cyberman, then that the Cyberman is Bill Potts, THEN Missy (who was in the midst of a Heel–Face Turn) and THEN Simm's Master.
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: The Series 10 finale has him facing the Saxon Master, who is younger than him both In-Universe and in terms of their actors' ages (John Simm is twelve years younger than Peter Capaldi).
  • One Head Taller: He is this to "short and roundish" Clara.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Happens to him in the finale two-parter of Series 8, where he gets to show more of his mellow and vulnerable side. In a moment of grief and anger, after realising the Master had cruelly given him false hope, he calmly walks over to the TARDIS console and then explodes in a fit of pent-up rage, smashing the console with his fists while bursting into tears. Only several scenes after that, we see him and Clara meeting some time later, preparing to part ways. When she hugs him, he overcomes his usual attitudes and returns her hug for the very first time.
    • As much as he tries to avoid hugs, he overcomes himself and gives Clara a very kind one before they part ways for a few months) at the end of "Death in Heaven". Earlier in that same episode, though he hates the Master, he surprises her by kissing her on her lips and explaining that he nevertheless understands the reasons that drive her to tempt him to do evil. At the end of "Last Christmas", he also accepts Clara giving him a tiny kiss on his cheek.
    • His noticeably more distracted, wackier behaviour during The Last Dance in "The Magician's Apprentice" and its precursor short "The Doctor's Meditation" is remarked upon by others; it's the result of his guilt over abandoning Davros and from there fear of what he now sees as an inevitable, deserved death. When he actually hugs Clara she realizes that he is under incredible stress. However, after the crisis of this story is over, he is still willing to enjoy playful pastimes.
    • The final three episodes of Series 9 put the Doctor through the wringer and leave him at the Despair Event Horizon. He threatens Ashildr and the trap street's residents with destruction upon realizing Clara is about to die in "Face the Raven". By "Hell Bent", he's acting purely out of rage and self-interest, with no one who can hold him back in his efforts to save Clara — not even Clara herself — because he simply can't bear coping with her loss. It's only when she demands he not mind wipe her that he realizes he's become a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
    • During "The Return of Doctor Mysterio", Nardole notices that the Doctor's a little too eager and gleeful to undo Harmony Shoal's plot by setting the bomb both of them are inside on course for New York City and points out he's trying too hard to tamp down his lingering melancholy over his final separation from River Song. "I know you miss her, but couldn't you just write a poem?"
    • On a lighter note, when Jenny turns up in a multi-Doctor event in the Titan comics, he is openly delighted to see her, hugs her, gives her an affectionate noogie, and openly refers to her as his daughter - all of which is very unusual for one of the most emotionally closed off Doctors.
  • Parental Substitute: In Series 10 for Bill Potts since she has very frosty relations with her foster mum, and he gives her the parental pride and affection that she lacks in her home life.
  • Perpetual Frowner: His brow is constantly furrowed into an unhappy-looking expression.
    The Doctor: Look at the eyebrows! These are attack eyebrows! You could take bottle tops off with these! They're cross!
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Misses relatively obvious points in popular culture. He is surprised to find out that every book isn't a Where's Wally? book (expanded universe reveals Eleven also had this misconception), and has difficulty understanding that it's common knowledge that Clark Kent is Superman. Possible subversions, as both times he is communicating with young children and may be establishing a rapport. However, he is spacey when it comes to movies. While oblivious to sci-fi classics such as Alien, The Terminator or The Thing, he has watched Frozen (2013).
  • The Power of Friendship:
    • Despite their numerous fallouts and rough spots in Series 8, he and Clara stick together through each other's darkest times and end up learning more about themselves and each other in the process. This comes into play in the opening two-parter of Series 9 — both Clara and Missy are willing to track him down because of this, though the natures of their respective relationships with him are substantially different. Sadly, this is turned against him by his enemies.
    • In Series 10, he honestly believes that this could help finally induce a Heel-Face Turn in Missy, which leads to tragic consequences in the Season Finale.
  • The Power of Hate: His hatred for the Daleks is such that when he links his mind to that of the repaired Rusty, the Dalek finds it so much more powerful than its programmed hatred that it goes back through the Heel–Face Revolving Door into being willing to exterminate its own kind. The Doctor is heartbroken to learn he has such hate within him; he wanted to convert the Dalek via The World Is Just Awesome.
  • The Power of Love: A cycle of suffering and death unfolds over billions of years in "Heaven Sent" because it's the only way he can get back to Gallifrey and achieve the means of saving Clara's life. Sadly, between his love, grief, and rage, this sends him into Love Makes You Evil territory temporarily, as saving her risks universal destruction. But Love Redeems, too.
  • The Power of Trust: Subverted in "Kill The Moon". The Doctor and Clara both absolutely trusted each other, but it still ended in a major fallout, as he didn't want to play God with humanity's fate as an outsider and avoid another thing like deposing Harriet or the Mars debacle, leaving everything in the hands of people he deemed more capable — although he never meant to patronize, disrespect or let her down in any way, she still perceived it that way (and his "stabilizers of the bike" line and general lack of people skills surely didn't help). Part of it was also due to her immense fear of losing control of things and the challenge this posed her perfectionist/idealist self image as someone who finds the right solution no matter what. ("I almost didn't press that button!") There was no 'obvious right option' or 'third option' here, but when one of the options wound up less destructive than she thought, she assumed that the 'right' reason was simply witheld from her for some kind of mind game — we're not given any reason to suspect that he actually knew any more than he said he did. Ultimately doubly subverted in the end: While she refused to talk to him for several months, she ultimately forgave him and came to understand his point of view in the next episode; If anything, their bond came out much stronger in the end, although the experience also left Clara with a more pragmatic world view. In the S8 finale, she still proudly declares that he's the one man she'll always trust no matter what.
  • Pragmatic Hero: While still trying to do good and help people, he shows a greater willingness to be ruthless and cut his losses in order to complete his goals. If he thinks a bit of collateral damage is unavoidable, he won't go out of his way to prevent it, but rather try to see if there is some way he can use said damage to his advantage anyway. Sometimes, as he puts it to Clara in "Flatline" when she has to invoke this trope for a day, "Goodness [has] nothing to do with" being the Doctor, and he doesn't feel good about it when that's the case. To make matters worse, when he goes the extra mile to save Ashildr in "The Girl Who Died" (which comes after he was chewed out in "Before the Flood" for letting O'Donnell die for pragmatic reasons), it causes more trouble for him in the long run than the cold, "heartless" choice (let her die after she helped him and bereaving a family to boot) would have.
  • Pretend Prejudice: Despite claiming he really hates soldiers due to their "shoot first, ask later" tactics, he can be decent to them if he has some understanding of their plight or a previously-established relationship with them. In "Mummy on the Orient Express" he seems pleased to finally give a semi-immortal soldier who just can't stop fighting peace. In "Death in Heaven" he gives the Brigadier, whom he gradually steered towards more diplomatic solutions in his past lives, the one thing he never got from those previous selves: a salute. Part of the reason he is able to convince Zygon rebel leader Bonnie to stand down from waging a doomed war on humanity is because he understands the cycles of rebellion and war and how easy it is to let a cause and sense of "rightness" blind one to the suffering of innocents, having fought in the most brutal war the universe has ever known, and is capable of forgiving her for her dirty deeds up to this point (which he sees as not a drop in the bucket compared to what he did).
  • The Professor: A genius, as are all incarnations of the Doctor, but also becomes a literal professor at St. Luke's University in Series 10. (Or a lecturer. Or as Bill calls him: 'Doctor What?') It also comes out in his final words, which become instructions to his next incarnation in how to properly continue the Doctor's legacy.
  • The Promise: "The Pilot" establishes that since the events of "The Return of Doctor Mysterio", he and Nardole have been on Earth 50+ years, rarely venturing elsewhere, because he's made this to someone regarding the mysterious vault beneath St. Luke's University. Something or someone is in it that must be guarded, but what it is and why he's taken an oath to be its guard, he won't say. This promise is so important that at the end of this episode, he almost mind-wipes Bill to protect it. Almost. The Reveal in "Extremis" is that the oath is to look after the body of Missy, whom he was assigned to execute, for 1,000 years in case it does anything. But the oath didn't specify it had to be DEAD. She is alive inside the Vault, as he spared her life.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: His arc in the final three episodes of Series 9, which begins with Clara's death, climaxes with his willingness to risk the universe to get her back, and ends with his redemption as he repents and has the burden of his pain lifted from him via mind wipe, allowing him the chance to be his best self again. There's Foreshadowing of this arc throughout the season, as his concern over losing Clara gradually increases and his actions to save her become more desperate, and as he makes a rash decision to save Ashildr's life out of grief, self-pity, and a desperate need to hold himself to his duty of care as a doctor.
  • Protectorate: He's got a "duty of care" towards Clara, which he takes seriously up to tragic extremes.
  • Puny Earthlings:
    • "Pudding brains", indeed! He's not particularly nice to the humans he meets, but it is possible for them to eventually gain his respect and praise.
    • His solution to the "Tell Courtney she's special" problem is a novelty: When he eventually caves in to Clara's insistence, he doesn't say "Courtney, you're special." Instead, he says 'Wanna be the first woman on the Moon? That'll be special!'.
  • Rasputinian Death: Gets electrocuted, holds off regenerating for a couple of weeks, then in quick succession gets hit by a Cyberman's death ray TWICE and caught in a massive explosion. Even after all that he still manages to hold off regeneration for hours before relenting (Bill's revitalising him probably helps there).
  • Reaching Towards the Audience: His pose for showcasing his official outfit, with his little finger also outstretched.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Delivers a pretty heartbreaking one to Clara after she fails his Secret Test of Character for her in "Dark Water". Doesn't mean that he hates her. He follows it up immediately with an offer to help, as he sees she's been hurt and needs to get a grip on herself.
    • The Doctor's anti-revolution speech/rant in "The Zygon Inversion" includes elements of this addressed to Bonnie and her insurgents. Twleve outright calls Bonnie an idiot at multiple points for ignoring his pointed question about the fact that she can't stop a Full-Circle Revolution, and that both sides will kill countless people before they do what they should have done in the first place: sit down and talk.
  • Renaissance Man: He is a man of many talents: explorer, engineer, doctor, bank robber, musician (guitar), caretaker, scientist. His renovation of the TARDIS also has a great many more books than his previous incarnations — and not just in the huge library but the control console.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Somewhere between "Last Christmas" & the prologue to "The Magician's Apprentice", both the Doctor and Clara stopped tiptoeing around each other and, per Word of Saint Paul & Word of God, finally realized they loved each other.
  • Revenge: In the wake of Clara's death, he wants to make anyone who had a hand in the plot that left her dead pay. Before she dies, Clara orders him not to seek this and/or harm others in his rage and grief, but "Heaven Sent" and "Hell Bent" reveal he's not particularly inclined to listen. He does manage to depose Rassilon and the High Council without violence (and it's not just over her death, but over their exploits in the Last Great Time War), and the only person hurt is the General when the Doctor shoots him to flee the extraction chamber with the rescued Clara — and the Doctor only shoots when he's sure he'll regenerate (the published shooting script contains cut dialogue that makes this clearer). But he ultimately can't keep her forever.
  • Revisiting the Roots:
    • NuWho started with a fairly young Doctor and they got increasingly younger and more childish. Twelve is visibly an old man and usually downright grouchy, hearkening all the way back to Will Hartnell. He also dallied around with two schoolteachers and a student for awhile, in memory of the very first companions on the show, and his relationship with UNIT and Missy was a direct callback to the status quo of the Third Doctor.
    • Though actually most of these turned out to be momentary callbacks and Red Herrings; the two-teachers-and-a-precocious-student ensemble was built up but altogether they only shared a single adventure (which didn't even involve space/time travel), and his relationship with UNIT was brief and featured him as the reluctant leader, plus some significant deaths.
  • Rogues Gallery: The Half-Face Man, the Daleks, Gus, the Boneless, Missy, the Cybermen, Davros, Colony Sarff, the Fisher King, Ashildr, Bonnie the Zygon, Rassilon, King Hydroflax, the Shoal of the Winter Harmony, Emojibots, John the Landlord, the Prophets of Truth, the Ice Warriors, Light-eating locusts, and the Saxon Master.
  • Second Love: River Song. As much as River loves the Doctor, she reveals in "The Husbands of River Song" that she never thought he truly loved her back, and came to believe he was above that particular emotion. But she's thinking of his previous self. As demonstrated, not just with Clara, but with Sarah Jane Smith and Rose Tyler, the Doctor is not above love at all; in fact, when Clara died he tries to save her by risking all of space and time, just like River once did for Eleven — and he was so broken that he needed Mind Rape to return to his best self and let her go. However, this left him with a new, healthier understanding of love. When his path crosses with River's again, he is absolutely delighted to see her and subtly jealous of her other husbands...and heartsbroken to realize how unloved she feels with regards to him. It was the Eleventh Doctor who married River Song, but it is the Twelfth Doctor who is truly her husband, who stays with her for twenty-four years — and has the strength to let her go to her destiny in the end. It breaks his hearts again to do this, and "The Return of Doctor Mysterio" reveals he is trying to hide his pain from others, even new companion Nardole. He knows he just has to keep running and find new happiness rather than linger on the past.
  • Science Hero: More overtly so than most incarnations, Twelve is (at first) primarily driven by his insatiable scientific curiosity, best seen in early Series 8 episodes like "Listen" where he gleefully throws himself and others into mortal peril purely to test his hypotheses.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: The Doctor seems to enjoy playing up the "forgetful old man" angle just a wee bit.
    Danny: (for the umpteenth time) I'm not a P.E. teacher, I'm a maths teacher.
    Doctor: No. No, I can't retain that. It's just not going in.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Explored in Series 9. In "Before the Flood" he is willing to try and defy the rules of time and space in the former to save Clara at least (after he is chided for not doing more to save O'Donnell; it turns out threatening Clara was a way to spur him into action), and in "The Girl Who Died" breaks the rules of life and death (something he'd just condemned the Fisher King for) to save Ashildr in a way that leaves her unable to die. He regrets that decision long before he knows its actual consequences. He doesn't want to be a god (that's Screw the Rules, I Make Them!), but he is willing to defy the gods to preserve life, because saving people is what a doctor does. In her case, when faced with To Be Lawful or Good he's choosing good. Tragically, his choice leaves her unhappy and will ultimately pave the path to Clara's death in "Face the Raven", and then he goes even further with this trope in "Hell Bent" by saving her in a way that threatens the stability of the universe. Since she's already Killed Off for Real, whereas Ashildr's life was still capable of being saved at the time he made that choice, he's not being lawful, good, or right, but selfish and wrong — and again it involves disregarding what the woman in question might want (though Ashildr can't tell him at the crucial moment and Clara can). Thus, saving Clara is a deconstruction of the trope.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Twelve favours a rather stylish suit that evokes the Third Doctor without the frills, with a rotation of dress shirts. Sometimes he's wearing the matching vest with his red-lined jacket, sometimes not. ("I was hoping for minimalism — but I think I just came out with magician.") Notably among Doctors he does not sport any kind of neckwear (scarf or tie) at all. The only other Doctors to eschew those items were Five and Nine. This look softens in Series 9, thanks first to a hoodie introduced to the suit in "Last Christmas" and a red velvet coat in the finale 3-parter.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: His speech to Bonnie in "The Zygon Inversion" shows that, even after several regenerations, he's still haunted by what he did in the Time War.
  • Sherlock Scan: Takes after Eleven's habit, giving one in "Mummy on the Orient Express" about someone's personal and medical history just by looking at them.
  • Ship Tease: Despite telling Clara "Clara, I'm not your boyfriend" in his first full episode, that statement was later revealed as some Blatant Lies. To elaborate:
    • Her comments on the Twelfth Doctor's accent and the 'mood lighting' thing.
    • "Beat that for a date" at the end of "Time Heist".
    • "Mummy on the Orient Express" is particularly stuffed with it, especially with Jenna Coleman's statement that her deliberately loud "I love you" at the end was not primarily intended for Danny.
    • Maisie, Robin Hood, and even Danny himself assume that there's something between them in Series 8.
    • In "Last Christmas", while under the mistaken assumption that they hadn't seen each other for 62 years, the Doctor asks her if she ever married. When he first assumes it was because she never got over the loss of Danny, she goes as far as to outright state that there was one other man she would have deemed a worthy husband: The Doctor. The episode ends with her kissing him on the cheek like she always did with Eleven, and the two of them running away hand in hand for further adventures.
    • Then, of course, the BBC's official twitter put out 12/Clara themed Valentine's Day Cards in a 2015 set that otherwise contained only canon marriages or established official couples like 10/Rose or Amy/Rory.
    • Mid-"concert" in "The Magician's Apprentice", upon realizing Clara's in the crowd the guitar-playing Doctor plays "Pretty Woman"! Not long after this, he hugs her of his own accord (granted, he is under extreme emotional duress at the time). (Some fans think the song is meant for Missy, but this is not the case, both based upon the shooting script and the fact the Doctor later plays "Mickey", the Toni Basil song Missy had co-opted as her own theme tune, for his other "friend".
    • In "The Girl Who Died," the Doctor makes this decidedly un-platonic statement regarding what might happen if he ever lost Clara: "One day, the memory of (you) will hurt so much that I won't be able to breathe, and I'll do what I always do. I'll get in my box and I'll run and I'll run, in case all the pain ever catches up. And every place I go, it will be there."
    • At last, he kisses Clara's hand before she goes to her death in "Face the Raven". While YMMV as always, between this, what he does to save her from her demise in "Heaven Sent" and "Hell Bent", and confirmation from Steven Moffat, Peter Capaldi, and Jenna Coleman themselves, the Doctor had fallen hard for Clara, going back to when he met her properly in "The Bells of Saint John", though he was of course drawn to her echoes previously in "Asylum of the Daleks" & "The Snowmen". This was the first time since Rose Tyler that the Doctor had romantic feelings for a companion (River Song, who the Eleventh Doctor married, is not actually officially considered a companion); in fact, it could be argued that Clara was the closest he ever had to a soulmate — and this was why he had to part with and forget her in the end, because he couldn't be the Doctor if he had a need to put their relationship first.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: His later outfits, combined with his hairstyle, help to make him look more approachable.
  • Silver Fox: Played by an actor in his mid-fifties with a silvery head. However, the only person he's truly romantically involved with and views him like this is River Song, who absolutely loves the fact that the Doctor has gone from looking like a cheeky twelve-year-old to someone very seasoned.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: There is a deliberate class conflict going on between the working class Danny and the "upper class" Doctor. Although this might just be all in Danny's head/his bad first impression, given that the Doctor is actually pretty anti-authoritarian and (equally mistakenly) seems to think that there is instead Nerds vs. Jocks going on.
  • The Slow Path: Is mostly confined to this as Series 10 begins. Due to his vow to protect the Vault, he's had to take up residence as a university professor at St. Luke's and hold down the fort for decades, starting in the 20th century. He occasionally takes time-space trips, especially after Bill enters his life, but must always return to the Vault.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: For a guy that's against banter, he trades sarcastic quips with a lot of people. And some of his back-and-forth with Clara is epic, especially during their "sounding out each other" period in Series 8. "Last Christmas" has his doing this with Santa Claus, while "The Return of Doctor Mysterio" picks this up with Nardole.
    Doctor: No. No. No, no, no. Line in the sand. Santa Claus does not do the scientific explanation.
    Santa Claus: Alright, as the Doctor might say: [imitates Doctor] "Aww, it's all a bit dreamy-weamy."
    Doctor' Why don't you just go and make a naughty list?
    Santa Claus: I have made it, and you're on it.
    Doctor' Don't give me that. You're supposed to be warm and friendly and cheerful.
    Santa Claus: Oh yeah, look at your great bedside manner.
    Doctor: Don't be so hostile.
  • Stable Time Loop: In order of appearance:
    • He gives the final push for the salvation of Gallifrey, making it possible for the Time Lords to later allow his existence.
    • At the top of Series 9, he is trying to save a frightened young boy from a hand minefield — encouraging him to focus on surviving, and tossing him the sonic screwdriver — until he realizes the boy is Davros, creator of the Daleks. Abandoning the boy after this realization apparently traumatizes the boy enough to send him down an evil path, and it's suggested that the screwdriver is reverse-engineered into Dalek guns. The Doctor is burdened by guilt and shame, but in trying to atone comes to realize that he is actually the reason the Daleks have an understanding of mercy. He just needs to complete the real loop by returning to that battlefield and saving the boy at last.
    • The death of Clara counts. In order for him to later save her (or, at least, extend her life a while) he has to see her die in agony in front of him, leading him to execute his confession dial gambit. He attempts to break the loop in "Hell Bent" but is unsuccessful in doing so; however, this ultimately allows Clara to delay the inevitable for so long as she chooses.
    • In "The Husbands of River Song", the starliner he and River Song are on crash-lands on Darillium — which he knows to be the planet where she enjoyed her last night with him, at a restaurant looking out upon the Singing Towers. Upon saving themselves via TARDIS and his seeing that the ship landed not far from the towers, while she is unconscious he gives the priceless diamond she "married" to a bystander and instructs him to sell it and use the money to build a restaurant on the spot. Travelling a few years forward in time, he makes sure that this comes to pass (and that he can get reservations) and when she comes to he is in the new suit she mentioned him as having, gifts her the sonic screwdriver that she will have in a certain library, and they enjoy one last night together...a night that will last twenty-four years.
    • And inarguably the most important loop of all: In "Twice Upon a Time", the Twelfth Doctor's kind act for the Captain's sake helps convince the scared original Doctor to regenerate instead of die for good.
  • Snooty Sports: Downplayed, but Twelve is dismissive of popular sports like football (in contrast to Eleven, who adored it) and favours languid, "old bloke-y" games like darts. His initial contempt for Danny is also driven by his stubborn belief that Danny must be a P.E. teacher, implying that he looks down on the entire subject.
  • The Stoic: While Eleven was a hyperactive Sad Clown, Twelve keeps his sense of humour and emotions hidden behind a calm, serious and (usually) introverted exterior.
  • The Storyteller: In "The Witch's Familiar", he has a monologue suggesting that he sees himself as more this than a hero — "a bloke in a box, telling stories" who sees the name he's chosen for himself as the reflection as what he strives to be and sometimes is. As Series 9 progresses, "story" becomes one of the Arc Words as he and other characters share stories with each other and he finds himself effectively writing/rewriting new stories with his travels, trying to bring them to good endings, with mixed results. His affinity for Ashildr partially stems from recognizing her as a straight example of this trope. In "Hell Bent", he reconstructs his recalled, vague memories of his final days with Clara into a story that he tells her without ever realizing who he's talking to.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker: Known to tag when he's asking or answering a question.
    "Question: Why do we talk out loud even when we know we're alone?"
    "Conjecture: Because we know we're not."
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: The ice side predominates from the beginning and has to defrost a bit (see Defrosting Ice King above) in Series 8 so that the sugar side can show through more/better. Even then, his softer side usually comes out only around specific people — Clara, children, Osgood, and River Song in particular.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: A major theme of Series 9: Despite his ruthlessness he shows amazing compassion to some of his enemies, like Missy, Davros, and Bonnie the Zygon, as well as to the resentful post-revival Ashildr. In Bonnie's case it helps her do a Heel–Face Turn, while Ashildr/Lady Me is brought back from being The Sociopath in "The Woman Who Lived". This presages his gigantic Freak Out and new potential for ruthless behaviour in the final three episodes, starting with his reaction to Ashildr's betrayal of him in "Face the Raven" going awry and leaving Clara dead. This continues into Series 10 with the reveal that he saved Missy from execution and she is the person in the Vault.
  • Tame His Anger: He is constantly struggling to control the anger that has built up in him over 2,000+ years — hence his noticeably pricklier personality than most incarnations and at least two Berserk Buttons. He comes down hard on villains who can't be reasoned with, as in his Badass Boast to the Boneless in the climax of "Flatline", and his riskier exploits in Series 9 stem partially from frustration that he's not supposed to do more to save others' lives due to those pesky rules of space and time. When Clara is Killed Off for Real and his enemies effectively torture him for four-and-a-half billion years, he emerges from their prison as The Unfettered Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, so damaged that the only thing that can tame and restore him to his best self is forgetting her, though he manages to recall the experiences he had with her. In the Expanded Universe novel Silhouette, he actually survives being dosed with concentrated human anger because he's had so much experience controlling his own — and proceeds to weaponize it to keep an Emotion Eater from killing him, overwhelming him with both the human anger and some of his own.
  • Tempting Fate: His predecessor vowed to never forget one day as being that particular Doctor as part of his last words. As soon as he regenerates into Twelve, he temporarily forgets how to fly the TARDIS! And eventually, he must forget what his dear Clara looked like, sounded like, said, etc. (though not the time he spent with her), lest he stop being the Doctor for good. However, he has those memories restored shortly before becoming Thirteen, so the promise holds after all.
  • Thinking Out Loud:
    • In "Listen" Twelve theorizes the reason people think aloud is because their subconscious realizes that they're not, in fact, alone and that there's something hiding with them.
    • "Heaven Sent" is essentially an hour of the Doctor thinking to himself (for the viewers; for the Doctor it's billions of years).
  • This Banana is Armed: Better not laugh at an old guy who can send you to the cleaners with a spoon. Robin Hood learned the hard way!
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: His post-regeneration empty-eyed stare at Clara after regenerating in "The Time of the Doctor".
  • Took a Level in Cheerfulness: In Series 9 onwards, alongside becoming nicer and kinder, he seems genuinely more excited going about his adventures, where previously he was usually moping and grumpy. ("Listen" was an exception — but Clara was pretty creeped out by his enthusiasm over that one!)
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Twelve is more abrasive, aloof, and less jolly than his previous incarnations. He's still a good person, but his attitude really rubs people the wrong way. His Lack of Empathy is played for Black Comedy, though sometimes for drama ("Kill The Moon").
    • Once Eleven was aware of Amy's infatuation with him, he worked as a Shipper on Deck to get her back with Rory. When Twelve discovers that Clara is seeing Danny Pink, he gets jealous and tries to sabotage their dating life by distracting Clara with exciting adventures that wear her out.
    • The last three Doctors disliked soldiers because they were still coping with the Time War. Twelve at first sight apparently dislikes them more because they take orders and he doesn't (he gives them or rebels against them) and likes other people to think for themselves. "The Zygon Inversion" reveals just how sore a spot his actions in the Time War remain with him.
    • In Series 9, he seems to have re-taken a level in kindness, hugging Clara willingly and treating strangers a lot better. The events of the final episodes, starting with Clara's tragic death in "Face the Raven", threaten to completely undo this and worse, but he comes through.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: He has really mellowed out in Series 9, shedding his previously cold, hostile exterior. He's kinder to his companions like Clara and Bill, and doesn't scorn every stranger he comes across. This continues into Series 10, culminating in his speech in "The Doctor Falls", his penultimate episode. He's going to do anything he can to protect the solar farmers solely because it's the kind thing to do. By his Final Speech in the 2017 Christmas Special, he's urging his next incarnation "Remember, hate is always foolish, and love is always wise", and "Always try to be nice, but never fail to be kind", a far cry from the character who looked back on his previous incarnations and himself and wondered "Am I a good man?" back in Series 8.
  • Torture Porn: In "Heaven Sent" poor Twelve, mortally wounded by the Veil, with his burned clothes, blooded hands and particularly horrible burn on his face, spends about a day-and-a-half dragging himself up through the whole castle, back where the teleporter chamber is. This is only to sacrifice himself in order to recharge the teleporter and create a new copy of his younger self to restart the cycle. And he goes through this for four-and-a-half-billion years. For Clara.
  • Totally Radical:
    • In Series 9, his sonic screwdriver is replaced in favour of sonic sunglasses and he's introduced in several episodes playing the electric guitar. So much for him being more willing to act his age.
    • In Series 10, his attempts at being "down with the kids" make Bill's hair cringe.
  • Trademark Favourite Food: More subtle than the others, but Twelve really enjoys coffee. He's also seen chowing down on Chinese takeaway in several breather scenes.
  • Tragic Dream: Saving Clara from her final death is this, because it's a fixed point in time and she must be returned to it at some point before the universe is undone — and it isn't what she wants; she'd ordered him to heal himself of his grief and move on. But that was before all that Cold-Blooded Torture drove him mad. He ends up losing both her and his memories of her in the wake of trying to achieve his mad dream, though he reconstructs many of said memories, and is at last freed from the anger and grief that he let drive him too far.
    • Subverted in Series 10 — everything points to his hopes of redeeming Missy as this, but he actually does so. But not only do he and his companions pay dearly to accomplish it, he never learns of her Heel–Face Turn because she's cut down by her previous self before she can stand by his side against the Cybermen.
  • Tragic Hero: Becomes this over the course of Series 9. His long-standing, personal duty to save everyone he can, already problematic due to Chronic Hero Syndrome, causes him great grief when he saves Ashildr by turning her into a functional immortal who eventually collaborates with the Time Lords to capture him — which inadvertently leads to Clara's death. Losing the woman he loved and then being stuck in a torture chamber drives him around the bend with rage and anguish. He decides to fight his way out of it (which takes four-and-a-half-billion years) and back to his home world to find some means of saving someone who's already Deader than Dead. He becomes an Anti-Villain heedless of anyone's desires save his own, risking the safety of the entire universe because he just can't take the pain anymore. In the end, the first step in restoring things to rights is not only his losing her again, but losing his memories of her, and he realizes this is only right and proper punishment for his selfishness. He is a sadder, wiser man as "Hell Bent" concludes, free to be his best self again.
    • The Monks Trilogy in Series 10 sees his pride and fear get the better of him after he is blinded. He is unwilling to let anyone know about this and this leads to tragedy in "The Pyramid at the End of the World" when he ends up trapped in a locked lab rigged to explode, unable to use the combination lock. When he tells Bill he has to die, she is so upset that she willingly consents to the Monks enslaving humanity if they will restore his eyesight, that he might live. The result of this is that Earth becomes a Villain World and he ends up having to infiltrate the Monks for a time.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • Just acts quietly disappointed in Clara when she betrays his trust in "Dark Water", only to start yelling at the end.
    Doctor: You betrayed me. You betrayed my trust. You betrayed our friendship. You betrayed everything that I've ever stood for. YOU LET ME DOWN!
    • When Twelve is angry, he doesn't shout at first. He hisses with rage very quietly.
    • He's firmly in this mode at the end of "Face the Raven", warning Ashildr that she should steer clear of him from now on owing to her part in the plot that resulted in Clara's death. His last words to her are basically a growl.
    • The Doctor's first spoken words in "Heaven Sent", in a scene taking place moments after the above, are again delivered as a growl.
    • In the opening (post-titles) stretch of "Hell Bent" he's seething — not even speaking as he prowls the Gallifreyan Dry Lands, not giving so much as a word to the massed might of the Gallifreyan military until Rassilon himself arrives. Just in case you missed that, the Doctor, a character prone to doing Character Filibusters in all of his incarnations, doesn't speak for an extended period of time.
  • Tsundere: A sort of opposite to Eleven (who acted happy and childish but was shown to have a darker side), Twelve acts more serious and grumpy but can be affectionate and childlike at times, especially as his Character Development kicks in.
  • Undying Loyalty: For Clara. He explicitly calls her his friend in "Death in Heaven" and she states it as well in that same episode (though not in his presence). Even after she attempts to threaten him in "Dark Water" into saving Danny, he still wants to help her.
    The Doctor: Do you think I care for you so little that betraying me could make a difference?
    • He also shows this to Bill Potts in Series 10, even after she is transformed into a Cyberman and he is Powerful and Helpless with regards to how he can help her beyond providing emotional support.
  • The Unfettered: Becomes this temporarily in "Hell Bent"; to save Clara from her fixed-point-in-time death, he throws out all his rules. He remains sympathetic: His selfish behaviour stems from extreme grief and rage compounded by the torture he underwent in "Heaven Sent", leaving him The Mentally Disturbed.
  • The Unsmile: Frequently dons the wide Tom Baker - esque grin when in a particularly manic mood. Occasionally, he will flash a genuinely sweet, happy smile.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: The first Doctor to make use of the gigantic wardrobe in the TARDIS and change his clothes with great frequency. In contrast to his predecessors, he possesses the most diverse set of outfits over the course of his run that do not follow a single theme.
    • His original getup was inspired by a magician's outfit: an austere ensemble with navy blue Crombie coat (with red lining for a splash of colour), dark blue waistcoat, dark blue trousers, black Doc Marten boots, and a white shirt buttoned to the top. He also wears a signet ring (although that's because Peter Capaldi refuses to remove his wedding ring for roles, so they covered it with something more Gallifreyan). He mixes it up a bit in his first series, wearing different shirts or a holey jumper with the Crombie coat as his signature clothing article.
    • In series nine, his style takes a very different turn when he goes from a classy magician to a laid-back rockstar with longer, wilder hair. Maintaining the Crombie coat from last series, he now dons a hoodie under it along with labelled t-shirts, the holey jumper, baggy plaid trousers or dark trousers that all vary from story to story. To top it off, he wears a pair of sonic sunglasses in place of his screwdriver.
    • By the end of Series 9, he discards the staple navy Crombie coat and hoodie in favour of a red velvet Crombie coat combined with a white shirt, waist coat and dark trousers, harking back to his original style.
    • In Series 10, he mixes the two styles from the previous season, giving him more of a university professor vibe. He often wears a selection of hoodies under a black velvet frock coat with a blue lining, but sometimes wears velvet Crombie coats with or without a hoodie, holey jumper or a white shirt and waistcoat. A interesting variant includes a weathered grey coat, worn during more serious occasions rather than as a casual outfit.
  • Villain Protagonist: Spends most of "Hell Bent" as this; due to being Driven to Madness by a Trauma Conga Line he exiles Rassilon and the High Council from Gallifrey (not so bad) and becomes obsessed with a Tragic Dream of saving Clara from her fixed-point death and almost destroys the universe to pull it off (very bad).
  • Violent Glaswegian: In "The Caretaker," decked out in janitor's overalls and insulting humanity left and right, he's like a Time Lord version of Groundskeeper Willie from The Simpsons. He generally plays this trope for all it's worth. His accent is far more noticeable than Seven's, and he's the dourest and angriest Doctor since the First. He rarely gets physical, though, and he's still a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Still, he's the first New Who-Doctor to have gotten violent with someone outside self-defence. When Lord Sutcliffe starts shouting racist and sexist abuse at his companion Bill, the Doctor taps his shoulder, then slugs him in the face as soon as he turns back around.
    The Doctor: I'm not Scottish, I'm just cross.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Clara. Though they constantly tease each other, and even get into arguments about conflicting values on occasion, they still care very deeply for one another. The kind and tender moments between them really shine through. The finale of Series 8, when both come face to face with one awful tragedy after another, brings out the best in them. They even both outright declare in front of other people that they are friends, unconditionally, and will never betray each other. (This is particularly heartwarming in light of them both failing each other in their weaker moments in some earlier episodes.) Thus, the romance they developed in Series 9 was almost inevitable.
  • Waistcoat of Style: Occasionally, he would replace his cardigan with a waistcoat, with colours ranging in dark blue and plain black.
  • We Used to Be Friends:
    • "Mummy on the Orient Express" has this to a degree as Clara, though she cannot hate the Doctor, nonetheless has been pushed too far too often by him and has agreed to go on one last adventure before, effectively, terminating their relationship/friendship. The Doctor has clearly agreed to this and actually doesn't put too much effort into trying to change her mind.
    • He has prickly quasi-friendships with both Ohila and post-revival Ashildr/Me that are severely damaged, if not ruined, over the course of the Series 9 finale. He holds a grudge against the latter for betraying him and accidentally getting Clara killed in the process, although he ultimately chooses not to leave her to die at the end of time (allowing her to become a companion to Clara, as it happens). Ohila is furious with him over both his choice to exile Rassilon and the High Council and his desperate efforts to save Clara in "Hell Bent", which she sees as cowardly betrayals of his principles. Considering that neither woman extends compassion to the Doctor for the suffering he went through that drove him to these actions — Ohila is actually more concerned for Rassilon than him — the Doctor might be better off without them. Even when the universe's survival is at stake, picking on someone who is both The Mentally Disturbed and a torture victim isn't a mark of a good person. (In the Expanded Universe, Ohila and the Doctor's post-"Hell Bent" relationship is examined in "The Lost Flame" audio short story. She notes to another character that she never referred to herself as his friend...but while it's harder for the TARDIS to materialize on Karn now, she doesn't bring up the whole Clara thing or anything like that in their interactions.)
    • And as always, with the Master. He assumed they were Birds of a Feather as children, but they turned into arch-enemies whose relationship is defined by their attempts to kill each other.
  • Wham Shot: His cameo in "The Day of the Doctor" points to an incarnation of the Doctor beyond the 12 limit.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Poor guy gets called out a lot on his Anti-Hero tendencies and even outright heroic acts when they prove to have downsides.
    • Clara gives him a tight slap in "Into The Dalek" for being happy that the "good" Dalek going on a killing spree reinforces his belief there are no good Daleks.
    • Clara shouts him out at the end of "Kill the Moon", for not being her friend when she needed him and for acting patronising towards humanity just to prove a point. The Doctor is at first baffled by this reaction, but soon realises what he did wrong, despite his genuinely good intentions.
    • The Doctor returns the favour in "Dark Water", telling Clara she betrayed him and everything their friendship stood for by trying to threaten him into saving Danny by changing time. This doesn't change their relationship but the anger of the trope is still present and played straight.
    • Danny gives him crap for being a Boomerang Bigot, as a "commander" who hates soldiers, in "The Caretaker" and "Death in Heaven". In the latter case, the Doctor is more willing to admit that it was wrong for him to act that way, but he shows embarassment at most.
    • Davros, of all people, delivers one to him for abandoning him as a child on Skaro in "The Magician's Apprentice". He even replays the Fourth Doctor's words from "Genesis of the Daleks" at his current incarnation.
    • In "Before the Flood", Bennett chews him out for not doing more to prevent O'Donnell's death when he realizes the Doctor had reason to believe she'd be next to die at the Fisher King's hands based on the message the Doctor's future ghost was relaying. (The Doctor advised her to stay in the TARDIS, in fact, but when she insisted on coming he didn't put up a fight.)
    • In "The Woman Who Lived", Ashildr/Me chews him out for choosing to save her life in a way that made her immortal and ageless, then moving on — leaving her lonely as everyone she ever cares for dies. Never mind that the other option was just letting her die and violating his principles as the Doctor.
    • He calls Ashildr out on this more than once in "Face the Raven" over her callous attitude towards keeping the peace, allowing dangerous creatures like Cybermen to live on the trap street, and finally her complicity in Clara's death.
    • His severely out-of-character, self-centred behaviour in "Hell Bent" gets him a lot of lecturing from the General, Ohila, Ashildr, and Clara. Because he is at the Despair Event Horizon after his horrific suffering in the previous two episodes, the Time Lords and Ashildr both had a hand in said suffering, most of them (save Clara) have No Sympathy and instead only encourage his anger with their inability to show compassion to his plight, and Clara's the whole reason he's going to extremes, their objections don't affect him the way they ordinarily would. It's only when Clara objects to being mind wiped that he is moved, and even then only the wiping of his memories of her fully return him to his best self.
    • Nardole calls him out at the end of "Oxygen" for letting his Chronic Hero Syndrome and wanderlust almost get them all killed on Chasm Forge, reminding him that the Vault still needs to be protected. This leads into the reveal that the Doctor was permanently blinded in saving Bill's life.
    • In the Cliffhanger of "World Enough and Time", the Cyber-converted Bill Potts can only repeat (upon the Doctor causing her to recall who she is) "I waited for you", blaming him for not reaching her in time to save her from conversion. She also tries to chew him out in the next episode upon her personality being fully reasserted, when he tells her to calm down about her situation. She realizes too late that she's a danger to others when she's that upset, which is why he's trying to calm her. Sadly, he arguably doesn't deserve all this — the deck was stacked against a happy outcome to her situation between Time Dilation and Harold Saxon/the Master's treachery; things might have been worse for Bill had he arrived earlier.
    • He gets to deliver one of these to Bill in "The Lie of the Land", pointing out that she sold out humanity to save his life in "The Pyramid at the End of the World" when he explicitly told her that he would rather die in the wake of the mistakes that left him trapped in the lab than see her world subjugated by the Monks.
  • What You Are in the Dark:
    • During one of his travels without Clara at the top of "The Magician's Apprentice", Twelve stumbles upon a war-torn planet and tries to help a young boy trapped in a mine field...and then he finds out that the boy is Davros. Though the boy's still relatively innocent, it doesn't stop Twelve from getting the hell out of Skaro and back to the TARDIS leaving a scared and confused little boy behind. And Twelve is all too aware of what he has done. In the second part of this story, "The Witch's Familiar", he makes up for this mistake.
    • Discussed in Extremis: "Only in darkness are we revealed. Goodness is not goodness that seeks advantage. Good is good in the final hour, in the deepest pit, without hope, without witness, without reward. Virtue is only virtue in extremis."
    • He repeats "Without hope, without witness, without reward" as he heads to his Final Battle with the Cybermen. He's split up from Bill, Nardole's led the farmers to safety, and the two Masters have (as far as he knows) abandoned him. He could try and run away, knowing that destroying the Cybermen will be his end as well, but he is perfectly accepting of his final death at this point and does not falter in doing what is right and kind. Only Heather's return to Bill allows him to live again at all.
    • As "Twice Upon a Time" comes to its end, the Doctor — having insisted to everyone that he is ready to die for good rather than keep living a lonely life of endless fighting for the side of Good — is alone in the TARDIS. He could just die here and let the TARDIS be his tomb, but instead decides that he cannot abandon the universe after all and decides to regenerate.
  • When She Smiles: For all his frowning, whenever his cocky grin shows up he's rather hilarious.
    • In "Deep Breath", he tries to smile at Clara in the restaurant but she's having none of it because she's upset with him for (apparently) playing some obscure game to contact her.
    • When Clara decides to keep travelling with him at the end of "Mummy on the Orient Express", his face melts into an expression of genuine, unfiltered happiness. He's honestly delighted that his companion changed her mind and will keep travelling with him.
    • In "The Zygon Inversion", Osgood says she's never seen the Doctor really smile before when the Doctor can't stop from grinning once he realizes that Clara is still alive. Later in the episode, the Doctor gives Bonnie a very kind smile when he finally convinces her to see reason.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Has the occasional moment of this. While he will die for good one day, the nature of his existence and travels means he'll outlive many of the people he loves, and he thus spends his days running through time and space partially to escape Survivor Guilt, as he explains in "The Girl Who Died" (Was it a loss that caused him to flee Gallifrey to begin with?). However, despite moments like this, while he does acknowledge the drawbacks he still overall falls firmly on the Living Forever Is Awesome camp — until "The Doctor Falls", when he's so broken that he really is ready to die for good and for Good rather than regenerate. "Twice Upon a Time" has him in this state up until the final minutes, when he accepts that the universe needs him too much for him to deprive it of future incarnations.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Temporarily becomes this in "Hell Bent" thanks to the Trauma Conga Line of the previous two episodes driving him around the bend — never mind the fate of the universe, he just wants Clara back! Technically, he actually begins heading towards becoming a Woobie, Destroyer of Time.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: The lead-in to Clara's Final Speech to him in "Face the Raven" is partially this, as she insists that his threats to destroy Ashildr/Me and the trap street are fundamentally hollow: "Your reign of terror will end with the sight of the first crying child, and you know it!"
  • You Are What You Hate: This Doctor wants to move past his bloodstained days as a soldier/commander in the Time War, etc., but the nature of his travels and friendships effectively precludes it. Friends of the Doctor inevitably become those who fight alongside/under him, even if his battles aren't those of traditional warfare. That Danny Pink realizes this and resents him for it is a huge reason they don't like each other, and the Doctor worries greatly about how much Clara changes over the course of their travels.
  • You Look Familiar: In-universe and out of it: Capaldi previously played John Frobisher in Torchwood: Children of Earth, and Caecilius in "The Fires of Pompeii". In-universe because even the Doctor acknowledges it, finally figuring out why it happened in "The Girl Who Died": to remind him of what happened in Pompeii, remind him of Donna asking him to save someone, even if he couldn't save the town, and to hold him to that mark. He saves people. But when he makes the choice of "good" in To Be Lawful or Good, tragedy begins to unfold: He makes Ashildr immortal and sets in motion events that culminate in Clara's death. Steven Moffat expanded on this at the 2015 Doctor Who Festival: they couldn't work this detail into the episode, but Frobisher is a descendant of Caecilius whose Pater Familicide ends that bloodline — time itself compensating for the Doctor's interference. Twelve reclaims the face of both men as an act of defiance along the lines of his Badass Boast ("And if anyone happens to be listening, and you've got any kind of a problem with that, then to HELL with you!").
  • You Remind Me of X:
    • Unflatteringly tells Clara she reminds him of an old teacher of his (possibly the much-hated Borusa).
    • He appears to pick Bill as a companion because she reminds him of his granddaughter Susan.
  • You Will Be Beethoven: Uses this trope down to the letter to explain the Bootstrap Paradox (ie: say you got back in time to meet Beethoven but discover he's either dead or didn't exist in the first place, so you take it upon yourself to write all of Beethoven's famous music yourself from memory—but where did your memory of Beethoven's music come from if it didn't exist until you wrote it?). The Doctor assures the audience that Beethoven was very much real so there's no need to go back in time and try to impersonate him—though Twelve does end up sporting a very Beethoven-ish wild shock of hair by the end of his existence, for the record.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry!: Unfortunately for everyone, this Doctor is always angry, even for a Doctor, and barely keeps his rage in check. He's almost always a hair's breadth from imparting a Fate Worse than Death on anyone he considers an enemy. Just ask Ashildr:
    The Doctor: She was saving you. I’ll do my best, but I strongly advise you to keep out of my way. You'll find that it's a very small universe when I'm angry with you.

Tropes associated with other media

    Comic Tropes 

Tropes associated with Doctor Who Magazine

  • Rogues Gallery: Umbra, Rutan Host, Rigellan Hyper-Kraken, the Hadax Ura, Corvids, Miss Chief, Josiah W. Dogbolter, the Kolothos Hunt, the Master, Sythorr, the Phantom Piper, the Clockwise Men, and Alexander Truscott.

Tropes associated with Doctor Who Adventures

  • Rogues Gallery: Sibro, the Court of Birds, Captain Ratlett, Stellar Nexus, the Nameless Mist, Djinx, Cyclopes, Skinks, Somnosians, Charles Abbott, the Plant, Ron Cordell, Clint Currie, & S'Qwatch.

Tropes associated with Titan Comics

  • Rogues Gallery: Hyperions, the Family Scindia, Kali, Fractures, the Cybock Imperium, the Lady of Neverness, the Celestial Toymaker, Sea Devils, the Boneless, K2, Cybermen, Rassilon, Spyrillites, Cardinal Richelieu, the Shoal of the Winter Harmony, the Flood, Fenric, the Heavenly Host, Weeping Angels and the Alternate Twelfth Doctor.
  • Sadistic Choice: Is manipulated into this by a deranged alternate version of him, who has manipulated him, Ten and Eleven into the range of a Time War device that pulls its target into a parallel where they made a different key choice, usually in a horribly negative way: Ten leaves Wilf to die in the irradiated chamber and gives into the persona of the Time Lord Victorious, Eleven placidly kicks back in 22 April 2011 and ignores the dying reality as long as he can get his personal peace with River, and Twelve becomes a crazy hermit who refused to forgive Clara for "betraying" him. They quickly realize the device malfunctioned, since it wasn't designed to be used in the presence of more than one incarnation of the same Time Lord, and that they can short it out by making contact with their alternates. Twelve reluctantly agrees his alternate seems to be the least dangerous, and sends everyone to his location by touching him. The crazy Doctor counted on this.

    Book Tropes 

Tropes associated with BBC New Series Adventures

  • Rogues Gallery: The Judge, Orestes Milton, Jason Clearfield, Wyrresters, the Ancients of the Universe, the Shining Men, the Ba-El Cratt Collective, & Grief Leeches.

    Audio Tropes 

Tropes associated with Big Finish
Voiced by: Jacob Dudman (2019-present)

In 2017, Big Finish announced they will be bringing the Twelfth Doctor into their Doctor Chronicles audio series in February 2020, with Doctor impressionist, Jake Dudman, playing the role while also narrating.

Alternative Title(s): Twelfth Doctor