New Doctor Revealed!

The Twelfth Doctor is Peter Capaldi, who has been one of the popular favourites in the ongoing speculation.

Peter Capaldi

Peter Capaldi is the new Doctor.

Yes, it’s the news we’ve all been waiting for since Matt Smith announced his departure back in June. In a special programme broadcast on Sunday 4 August at 7pm, the BBC revealed The Thick Of It actor Peter Capaldi as the new face in the TARDIS.

At 55, Capaldi is 29 years older than Matt Smith was when he was cast in the role. He’s also the same age that William Hartnell was when he was cast as the First Doctor.

The actor has made two previous appearances in the Whoniverse. In 2008 he played Pompeii resident Caecilius in “The Fires Of Pompeii” (an episode which also, bizarrely, featured future companion Karen Gillan). In 2009 he had a major role in Who spinoff Torchwood: Children Of Earth, as Home Office civil servant John Frobisher.

Speaking to Zoe Ball, Capaldi explained how he’d prepared for his audition piece.

“I haven’t really played Doctor Who since I was nine, in the playground, so as an adult actor I’d never worked on it. So what I did, I downloaded some old scripts from the internet and practised them in front of the mirror.”

And that mirror reflection is looking a little different now, it seems…

“I’m surprised now to see Doctor Who looking back – that’s what’s really strange. I do look in the mirror and suddenly, strangely, he’s looking back, and it’s not me yet, but he’s reaching out, and hopefully we’ll get it together.”

Like David Tennant, Capaldi is a lifelong fan of the series. Speaking to SFX in 2008, Capaldi discussed his youthful love of the show.

“When I was a kid, being a huge Doctor Who fan, I wrote numerous letters to the Doctor Who office largely inquiring about how the show was made.”

It was 1972 and Doctor Who was entering its ninth season on BBC 1.

“I was thrilled to have delivered to me a large package from the BBC containing two full studio scripts for the Jon Pertwee serial ‘The Mutants’, which they were making at the time.

“The package also contained set designs and studio floor plans for these episodes and a delightful letter from [producer] Barry Letts giving me an idea what all this stuff was.

“It was a fantastic exciting insight into both Doctor Who and television production generally. I had never seen a script in any form whatsoever before then and was immediately fascinated by the documents. And of course Barry’s kindness was a trigger to my ambition to work somehow (I didn’t know how) in TV. The scripts are still sitting on my bookshelf downstairs.”

Peter Capaldi "The Fires Of Pompeii"

Peter Capaldi guest starred as Caecilius in 2008′s “The Fires Of Pompeii”.

In 1995, Capaldi won an Academy Award for his short film, Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life, which he wrote and directed. The film featured actor Crispin Letts.

“I knew Crispin’s name was Letts but never thought any more about it until at dinner one night he revealed that his dad was a producer and had produced, among many other things Doctor Who,” Capaldi remembers. “Subsequently I was able to meet Barry and thank him personally.”

That’s not all. Aged 15, Capaldi wrote to the Radio Times to congratulate them on a Doctor Who-themed special issue.

Summing up his latest casting choice in three words, showrunner Steven Moffat described the actor as “Not like Matt”.

Read about Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who fanzine article from 1976.
Read how Peter Capaldi wanted to run the Official Doctor Who Fan Club.
See Peter Capaldi rocking a bow-tie in a 1981 photo of his post-punk band.

The SFX forum is still down for maintenance (awesome timing) so let us know what you think on Twitter or FacebookWe’ll be discussing the team’s reaction to the news in issue 239 of SFX, on sale later this month.