For days, fans and bookies alike have been waiting with baited breath to see who would be announced in the coveted role as the Twelfth Doctor. Last night it was announced that Peter Capaldi, best known as The Thick of Its notorious spin doctor, Malcolm Tucker, would be taking over as the last of the Time Lords. “It’s so wonderful not to keep this secret any longer, but it’s been so fantastic,” Capaldi said, shortly after the news broke.
It will be interesting to see what kind of Doctor Capaldi will be – surely less frenetic than Matt Smith’s fez-wearing incarnation and hopefully more Scottish than David Tennant’s (no word yet on whether he’ll be using his normal accent). At 55 years old, his casting signals a definite move away from the string of younger actors to have played the iconic role in recent times and he is in fact the same age William Hartnell, the first Doctor, was when he was cast in 1963. It seems rather fitting that in the year the ground-breaking sci-fi show celebrates its 50th Anniversary, they seem to be honouring the older Doctors and acknowledging that it wasn’t always a young man’s game.
Capaldi comes across as a safe choice – it’s a role which will not only see him plastered across the side of buses and on children’s lunchboxes but will also see him doing endless interviews and press junkets for one of the most talked about programmes on television, and one that is celebrating a huge anniversary this year, no less. I can see why someone who has a bit of experience in the limelight and is already comfortable on chat-show sofas was chosen; he’s taking on a new lifestyle, not just a new role.
The announcement puts an end to weeks of wild speculation – Capaldi had been the bookmakers’ favourite for a long time, despite rumours that Chiwetel Ejiofor or Idris Elba could perhaps take on the role and be the first black Doctor, and there was even some discussion that a woman might be cast; Helen Mirren was even asked if she would accept the part if it was ever offered (she would apparently decline, preferring instead to be a Bond villain). The show’s executive producer, Steven Moffat, said that when casting the role previously, Capaldi had “briefly flicked through my mind,” but that now his “moment had arrived”.
He will make his first appearance as the Doctor in this year’s Christmas special and is expected to begin filming sometime this autumn. Speaking about his casting, Capaldi added, “Being asked to play the Doctor is an amazing privilege. Like the Doctor himself I find myself in a state of utter terror and delight. I can’t wait to get started”.