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).