Doctor Who has tapped 55-year-old Scottish actor Peter Capaldi (Torchwood, World War Z) to play the Twelfth Doctor after departing star Matt Smith makes his final appearance as Eleven in this December’s Christmas special.
The hilghly-anticipated casting was announced during a live special that aired on BBC America and BBC One on Sunday.
“It’s so wonderful not to keep this secret any longer,” said Capaldi, who counts himself as a “lifelong” Who fan and even wrote a letter about the show to the Radio Times as a teenager. “For a while, I couldn’t tell my daughter… She was getting upset that nobody mentioned me [as a candidate].”
Capaldi went on to attribute the success of the long-running series to the fact that “every single viewer…took it into their heart. It belongs to all of us. Everyone made Doctor Who.”
“It’s an incendiary combination: one of the most talented actors of his generation is about to play the best part on television,” executive producer Steven Moffat said in a statement.
Smith, meanwhile, ushered in the new Time Lord with a videotaped message: “I just want to wish my successor all the best and say good luck and good on you for getting it. I know he’s a huge fan of the show and a really nice guy. The casting of it made me really excited it. I think it’s a really canny choice. Good luck, man. It’s going to be a thrill.”
Capaldi previously guested on Doctor Who as the marble merchant Caecilius in the Season 4 episode “The Fires of Pompeii.” He also appeared on Torchwood: Children of Earth as Permanent Secretary to the Home Office John Frobisher.
Capaldi’s other TV credits include The Hour and The Thick of It. On the big screen, he recently starred in Brad Pitt’s World War Z as a W.H.O. doctor (for the World Health Organization).
Matt quickly won over fans to be voted Best Actor by Readers of Doctor Who Magazine for the 2010 season. He also received a nod for his first series at the National Television Awards, before winning the Most Popular Male Drama Performance award in 2012.
Matt has played one of the biggest roles in TV with over 77 million fans in the UK, USA and Australia alone!
Matt Smith says: “Doctor Who has been the most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke, and that largely is down to the cast, crew and fans of the show. I’m incredibly grateful to all the cast and crew who work tirelessly every day, to realise all the elements of the show and deliver Doctor Who to the audience. Many of them have become good friends and I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the last four years.
Having Steven Moffat as show runner write such varied, funny, mind bending and brilliant scripts has been one of the greatest and most rewarding challenges of my career. It’s been a privilege and a treat to work with Steven, he’s a good friend and will continue to shape a brilliant world for the Doctor.
The fans of Doctor Who around the world are unlike any other; they dress up, shout louder, know more about the history of the show (and speculate more about the future of the show) in a way that I’ve never seen before, your dedication is truly remarkable. Thank you so very much for supporting my incarnation of the Time Lord, number Eleven, who I might add is not done yet, I’m back for the 50th anniversary and the Christmas special!
It’s been an honour to play this part, to follow the legacy of brilliant actors, and helm the TARDIS for a spell with ‘the ginger, the nose and the impossible one’. But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go and Trenzalore calls. Thank you guys. Matt.”
Steven Moffat, lead writer and executive producer, says : “Every day, on every episode, in every set of rushes, Matt Smith surprised me: the way he’d turn a line, or spin on his heels, or make something funny, or out of nowhere make me cry, I just never knew what was coming next. The Doctor can be clown and hero, often at the same time, and Matt rose to both challenges magnificently. And even better than that, given the pressures of this extraordinary show, he is one of the nicest and hardest-working people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Whatever we threw at him – sometimes literally – his behaviour was always worthy of the Doctor.
But great actors always know when it’s time for the curtain call, so this Christmas prepare for your hearts to break, as we say goodbye to number Eleven. Thank you Matt – bow ties were never cooler.
Of course, this isn’t the end of the story, because now the search begins. Somewhere out there right now – all unknowing, just going about their business – is someone who’s about to become the Doctor. A life is going to change, and Doctor Who will be born all over again! After 50 years, that’s still so exciting!”
Having starred alongside three different companions, Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) and most recently Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman), Matt’s Doctor has fought Daleks and Cybermen, as well as Weeping Angels in New York. Regularly heard shouting ‘run’ and ‘Geronimo’, through Matt’s Doctor fans have been introduced to a new culinary combination – fish fingers and custard!
Matt’s spectacular exit is yet to be revealed and will be kept tightly under wraps. He will return to BBC One screens in the unmissable 50th anniversary episode on Saturday 23rd November 2013 – TUNE IN!
The Doctor will continue to travel worlds.
The BBC has ordered an eighth season of Doctor Who, the British broadcaster announced on Saturday night, just as Season 7 wrapped with “The Name of the Doctor.”
Per the announcement, executive producer Steven Moffat is already “plotting a brand new run of adventures for the Doctor.”
On Nov. 23, Doctor Who will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a 3D special starring Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, former doc and companion David Tennant and Billie Piper, respectively, John Hurt, Jemma Redgrave, and Joanna Page.
The festivities will continue later this year with An Adventure in Space and Time, a TV-movie about the genesis of the long-running series, and the annual Christmas special in December.