The BBC announced yesterday what every Doctor Who fan has heard by now: The 12th Doctor will be played by 55-year-old Scottish actor Peter Capaldi. And we think he is a brilliant actor, as we mentioned before here at borg.com, and a brilliant choice to play the next Doctor.
We couldn’t have been more disappointed earlier this year when one of the most exciting television series on the air didn’t get renewed: BBC America’s The Hour. Its second season was turned around and set on an exciting new course because of the new boss, Randall Brown, played by Scottish actor Peter Capaldi. Unfortunately the BBC didn’t love what we loved about the show over here in the States. But it’s a consolation prize to be able to see this versatile actor again in a leading role in Doctor Who. As Brown he showed anger and sadness along with a certain cunning and wry sense of humor–all obvious needs for someone creating the next stage of the Doctor.
Capaldi was seen by a larger audience this summer as the W.H.O. doctor (feel free to insert ironic laugh here) in Brad Pitt’s zombie movie World War Z. We were eagerly awaiting his return to the big screen opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in the 2014 WikiLeaks founder film The Fifth Estate and as the king in the live action Maleficent opposite Angelina Jolie. Capaldi showed up previously in Torchwood and had a his own guest spot on Doctor Who opposite 10th Doctor David Tennant in “The Fires of Pompeii” (along with Karen Gillan in her first Doctor Who role before playing the companion to Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor). Beyond that Capaldi has done a ton of British TV (including a stint as a spin-doctor on a comedy series called The Thick of It), but was only seen in small roles by American audiences in Smilla’s Sense of Snow and the Malkovich/Pfeiffer version of Dangerous Liaisons.
As a great reminder that you can’t make a guess at everything, Capaldi wasn’t listed on any oddsmaker’s lists. Which means only Stephen Moffat & Co. know what they want for the future of Doctor Who, heedless of focus groups or a blind desire to please fans’ expectations. The Doctor Who creators are the kings of keeping everyone guessing. The fact they did not select a well-known actor like Rupert Grint, David Morrissey or Benedict Cumberbatch is a good thing. The masses didn’t know Matt Smith or David Tennant or Christopher Eccleston that well before they had their chance at it. And the fact that they are turning the age of the Doctor around, opting for older than younger, was well-played. Smith was brilliant as a young Doctor but if we can’t have him an older Doctor is most welcome. About the only disappointment we have is similar to the missed opportunity of Prince William and Kate not giving us a future King Arthur last month (c’mon you know another King George is just… boring), and that is the fact that no one is gutsy enough yet to give us the first woman Doctor. Hey–we got a male companion this past round so why not?
Capaldi has a BAFTA for The Thick of It and an Oscar for his behind-the-camera short film Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life. A pretty good pedigree. So now we just wait until our first glimpse of Capaldi as the new Doctor with the Christmas Eve episode at year’s end, followed by his first full episode next spring.