After all the tension, the debates and the scorn from non-Whovians who say it just doesn’t matter, the Twelfth Doctor has been revealed as Peter Capaldi, a 55 year-old Scottish actor who has so far appeared both on TV and in films.
Peter has been active in the acting world for around thirty years, but it may also have been easy to overlook him in the past unless you watch certain things; Doctor Who’s young fans are even less likely to have seen him before, since he is best known for an extremely sweary character.
I first noticed him as Sid’s aggressive father in series one and two of Skins, creating a character that actually terrified me a little in his angry alcoholism. He is, however, most famous for his role as aggressive Media Advisor Malcolm Tucker in both the BBC’s The Thick of It and its spin-off film In The Loop, in which he was basically the only person playing the same character – Malcolm Tucker had become integral to the brand.
Capaldi has actually popped up in many other programmes over the years; he’s become a veteran of the trade and has worked his way up as many do (unlike Matt Smith, who was unknown before becoming the Doctor), with the comparatively recent success of The Thick Of It and this announcement now the culmination of a great deal of hard work. He even appeared in the final act of this year’s zombie blockbuster, World War Z, and, since Sunday night, many have pointed out the foreshadowing of this casting on his IMDB page:
Of course, Whovians have actually seen Capaldi before: he appeared in the show’s series four episode The Fires of Pompeii in 2008, in which he played Caecilius, a Pompeii citizen, and he also appeared in five episodes of the Who spin-off, Torchwood, in 2009. This suggests that Capaldi was able to make a well-informed decision about what he was getting himself into (equally, he wrote to the Radio Times about Doctor Who when he was 15, so certainly would have been eager!) although I have already heard a couple of complaints about overall continuity.
The brilliant thing about Peter Capaldi’s casting as the Twelfth Doctor is that he undoubtedly has the breadth of talent to add a much darker element to the show. Showrunner Stephen Moffat was clearly aiming for a more sinister vein throughout the last series or two, but it never quite worked as it should have done; with a less bouncy and eccentric Doctor (sorry Matt, I like you really!) there is a lot of potential there. Both the new promo picture (above) and teaser video (below) show Capaldi with a slightly evil vibe…
Reactions from my Facebook friends range from “I have not stopped smiling” and “YEEEEE” to “Well I’m immensely disappointed” and “mixed feelings about it atm…” I definitely agree with the former opinions, as Capaldi will bring a massive change from the young, excitable but just slightly dark vibe that both David Tennant and Matt Smith, the two most recent Doctors, relied upon. Capaldi can bring more experience to the role as well as a completely different attraction to the show, marking an appropriate change as should be the case with such a drastic idea as regeneration; Stephen Moffat described him in three words as “different from Matt”, and that’s surely exactly what we needed.
My only concern would be that Peter Capaldi is so well known in a certain type of role, and he will have to act quite differently to that in Doctor Who as it is obviously family friendly entertainment. However, I don’t doubt that he can pull it off, and this could be the exact step he needed to further his ever-blossoming career. We’ll just have to wait and see if he’s allowed to channel Malcolm Tucker in some sort of late night special, as many are currently joking about on Facebook and Twitter!