Sure, he might’ve been the inside favorite of all the bookies in the U.K., but Peter Capaldi’s hire to be the next Doctor caught a lot of Who fans by surprise. So who exactly is this guy who’ll be taking over the TARDIS?
Capaldi, 55, is a Scotland native and lifelong Who fan (he wrote a letter to the Radio Times about the Daleks as a teenager). But you don’t have to look much further than the closest Twitter feed to realize he was a controversial choice, though the guy has one heck of a resume — and should actually be extremely familiar to most Who fans.
It’ll be interesting to see how showrunner Steven Moffat adjusts the tone of the series with an older actor in the title role (he’s the most seasoned by well over a decade when compared to the modern run of Doctors).
So while we impatiently wait for the Christmas special to see Capaldi’s introduction, here’s a quick refresher on the new Time Lord on the block.
He rocked on Torchwood, and has already been in Doctor Who
Yes, Capaldi is already a pretty significant part of the Who-verse via his role on the spinoff Torchwood, specifically during the fantastic miniseries run Children of Earth. Capaldi played the bureaucrat John Frobisher, and he was absolutely chilling in the role. Going a bit further back, Capaldi also played Caecilius in the 2008 Who episode “The Fires of Pompeii.” So he’s no stranger to the franchise, not by a long shot.
He has great comedy chops
Outside of his previous Who-verse roles, Capaldi is likely best known in the U.K. for his starring role in the dark comedy series The Thick of It, where he plays foul-mouthed government director of communications Malcolm Turner. The show was darn good, and led to the hit followup film In the Loop. If you want to get a feel for how Capaldi handles leading a series, this is a good place to start.
He already has a Neil Gaiman connection
Yes, fantasy author Neil Gaiman’s recent contributions have made for some of the best episodes of Doctor Who, and it turns out he and Capaldi are old pals. Way back in the mid-1990s, Gaiman adapted Neverwhere into a short-lived urban fantasy series, co-starring none other than Capaldi. Capaldi played an angel living in the sewers who had previously been tasked with protecting Atlantis. If you can track it down, this would be a fun one to watch during the dog days of summer.
Blockbusters to TV, he’s done it all
Yes, Moffat is getting one of the most experienced actors who has ever stepped into the TARDIS with Capaldi. The guy has been acting since the early '80s, and from a stint in the recent blockbuster World War Z to the acclaimed U.K. period drama The Hour, he’s proven he has the range to take over Doctor Who. He also won an Academy Award in 1994 for the best short film for Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life (among a laundry list of other awards throughout his career). He’s hopped through about every genre that exists, which should be a pretty good prep course for the genre-busting that takes place on a weekly basis on Doctor Who.
He should be more popular than ever soon
Though he’s been around a while, Capaldi has never really broken through in the mainstream that much. Until now. Yes, Doctor Who is one of the biggest roles you can have, but Capaldi also has some appearances lined up in the upcoming mainstream flicks Maleficent and The Fifth Estate as well. Throw in his recent World War Z role (where he was credited as W.H.O. Doctor, ironically enough), and we’re on the verge of a Capaldi renaissance.