After much speculation, BBC has finally named Number Twelve. Peter Capaldi will take over as the Doctor from Matt Smith, who will depart the role in this year’s Christmas Special.
The TARDIS is getting a new Time Lord, 55-year-old veteran actor Peter Capaldi.
After weeks of speculation, from fans and bookies alike, the BBC finally announced on Sunday who will be taking over as the Time Lord, after the current series star Matt Smith leaves during December’s Christmas Special.
“The decision is made and the time has come to reveal who’s taking over the TARDIS,” executive producer and head writer Steven Moffat had teased ahead of the broadcast. “For the last of the Time Lords, the clock is striking twelve.”
Capaldi being cast as the Doctor was announced during a live BBC One special, Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor, lifting a shroud of secrecy surrounding the highly anticipated casting news. The special featured live and pre-recorded appearances from Smith, Peter Davison (the Fifth Doctor), Colin Baker (the Sixth Doctor), and former companions. Asked for three words to describe the new Doctor, Moffat said, “Different from Matt.”
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Capaldi said that it was a bit of a challenge preparing for the role, though he has been a huge fan of the Time Lord for most of his life.
“It was quite hard because, even though I’m a lifelong Doctor Who fan, I haven’t played the Doctor since I was nine on the playground,” joked Capaldi, who said that he missed the call from his agent with the news of his casting (he was filming BBC’s Three Musketeers in Prague). “She rang me up and said, ‘Hello, Doctor!’ and I just started laughing and I’ve been laughing ever since.”
Capaldi is perhaps best known for playing Malcolm Tucker, in The Thick of It. He also appeared in The Hour, Skins, World War Z, and In the Loop. He also has Doctor Who credits, as he played John Frobisher in spinoff Torchwood: Children of Earth. He also appeared in the “Fires of Pompeii” episode of Doctor Who, opposite future Who star Karen Gillan.
Fan reaction to Capaldi as Smith’s replacement remains to be seen, but even Smith noted that fans didn't welcome him at first. “There was a backlash when I was cast,” said Smith in an interview on Doctor Who Live on Sunday. “I was 26 and I was unknown and people went, that is not Doctor Who.”
“There are no parts like this,” continued Smith. “I think it’s a good time for me to move on. We’ve got the 50th anniversary and it’s the biggest year in the show’s history and… I pass it on with a smile to the next guy and I say, ‘Good luck, buddy. You’re going to have to work hard.’ If I had to pick anyone, I’d pick him. After ‘The Eleventh Hour,’ he came up to me in the street and said, ‘Really well done, mate.’ And I really needed that… It’s been a really cool job. It will be hard to top.”
Capaldi is excited about taking on the mantle of the doctor (or the scarf, bow tie or fez) of one of the most iconic television characters ever. “Being asked to play The Doctor is an amazing privilege,” he said in a prepared statement. “Like the Doctor himself I find myself in a state of utter terror and delight. I can’t wait to get started.”