‘Doctor Who’: Peter Capaldi is revealed as the new Doctor

Aug. 04, 2013 | 12:45 p.m.
Peter Capaldi will play the 12th version of Doctor Who (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Peter Capaldi will play the 12th version of the Doctor. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

It’s official: Peter Capaldi has been announced as the new Doctor.

The 55-year-old Scottish actor is by no means a “Doctor Who” discovery along the lines of the most recent Time Lord, Matt Smith. In fact, the new Doctor already has his own following from the British political satire “The Thick of It” and the big-screen spinoff “In the Loop.” In both the series and the film, Capaldi played a foul-mouthed political spin doctor named Malcolm Tucker.

But fans worrying that this casting means the Doctor is about to go down an adults-only path should relax. As Capaldi reassured fans just moments after the announcement of his casting: “Malcolm has been banished from the mirror by this new Doctor, who wouldn’t put up with Malcolm’s language.”

doctorwho Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi is revealed as the new Doctor

"Doctor Who" has clocked more than 50 years, transporting fans through time and space on remarkable adventures. Here's a look back at the Time Lord's regenerations over the years. (BBC)

7 Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi is revealed as the new Doctor

Sylvester McCoy played the Seventh Doctor from 1987 until the show's cancellation in 1989.

11 Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi is revealed as the new Doctor

Matt Smith has played the Eleventh Doctor -- the Time Lord's current incarnation -- since 2010. (BBC)

The big reveal was made during a live telecast on Sunday hosted by British TV personality Zoe Ball. The fifth Doctor, Peter Davison, was on hand to talk a bit about what’s to come, not just for Capaldi, but also for the departing Smith.

“In a way, it’s the longest job in television,” Davison said. “It’s a whirlwind time when you’re doing it, but then it continues after you’ve left.”

Capaldi is no stranger to the “Doctor Who” universe. He appeared in the 2008 episode “The Fires of Pompeii” alongside the 10th Doctor, David Tennant. And he’s been a lifelong fan. To prove it, Ball displayed a fan letter a 15-year-old Capaldi had written to the Radio Times to express how much he loved the show.

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As Capaldi explained, “I haven’t played Doctor Who since I was 9.” He was filming the BBC’s adaptation of “The Three Musketeers” in Prague when he got the call, which his agent answered by saying, “Hello, Doctor.”

To prepare, Capaldi said he downloaded old scripts from the Internet and practiced performing them. But he said that current executive producer Steven Moffat has already written some scenes featuring the new iteration of the Doctor.

Though Moffat played the casting of Capaldi close to the vest, he did drop hints about which direction he was planning to go when talking to Hero Complex last month, saying, “I was thinking someone in their 40s, probably… Most of the people we saw in their 20s were no good at all, or were good actors but they weren’t right for it.”

Smith, who has played the 11th incarnation of the Doctor since 2009, announced earlier this year that he was planning to leave the role after the 50th anniversary special to be aired in November 2013 and the Christmas special to air the following month.

It was during Smith’s three-season run as the Doctor that the series saw a huge surge of popularity in the United States, where it had largely been a cult show at best for most of its 50 years. The 2012 season premiere of the series grabbed BBC America’s highest rating ever, with 1.55 million viewers tuning in. (That doesn’t take into account the series’ already large following in the U.K.)

Following this announcement, Smith still has one more go-round as the Doctor since the Christmas special doesn’t film until September.

To close out the live broadcast, Smith sent a videotaped message from Los Angeles to the new Doctor: “I just want to wish my successor all the best and say good luck and good on you for getting it…. It’s going to be a thrill.”

— Patrick Kevin Day | @patrickkevinday


"Doctor Who" actress Jenna-Louise Coleman is photographed in the Los Angeles Times studio in March 2013. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)‘Who’: Jenna Coleman is right in time

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13 Responses to ‘Doctor Who’: Peter Capaldi is revealed as the new Doctor

  1. David says:

    Capaldi is a great choice! This new Doctor will likely be more frantic than Tenant, and much funnier.

  2. David Perkins says:

    Capaldi is a great choice! This new Doctor will likely be more frantic than Tenant

  3. From Malcom Tucker to the Doctor… this should prove interesting

  4. guy says:

    I'm excited.

  5. richard schumacher says:

    Plunge onward, chronic piston!

  6. Dave says:

    I'm not really familiar with Mr. Capaldi, but I'm glad to see they went a little older this time. Matt has not been a bad Doctor… just a bit too young.

  7. ekunsman says:

    I've never seen one episode of Dr. Who, but with Peter Capaldi in it, that will likely change.

  8. Living the Geek Life says:

    I'm excited that they've returning to an older Doctor. And getting such a great actor with great range should be really good for the series. Good call, Moffat!

  9. Gene H. says:

    Peter Capaldi first got my attention in "The All New Alexei Sayle Show" although I vaguely recalled him from "Local Hero". Then he fell off my radar until his performance as the seemingly cursed John Frobisher in "Torchwood: Children of Earth" which blew me away. That prompted me to look into "In The Loop" – which as a policy wonk and political writer made me laugh so hard I nearly hurt myself. He wasn't the first name to leap to mind when considering the new Doctor, but excellent choice. He can bring to bear both the gravitas and humor to make for an outstanding incarnation. Well played, Moffat. I look forward to the new season.

  10. Lee B. says:

    I rewatched 'Local Hero' today to remind myself what Capaldi was like when he was younger. It's a brilliant film,of course,and his performance was superb,even back then. I think Who fans shouldn't worry about the handover. Capaldi is going to be great!

  11. Dan says:

    Only movie I seen him in was "Lair of the White Worm" so he should be able to handle any strangeness to come. Good luck! Dan Sweet

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