Peter Capaldi is the new Doctor Who. The announcement was made on 'Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor', a special programme broadcast on BBC1 on Sunday 4th August. Celebrity guests included previous Doctor Who actors, their assistants and famous fans of the show.
Peter Capaldi at the 2013 BAFTA's held at the Royal Festival Hall, London.
The show, broadcast on BBC1 at 7pm and BBC America at 2.30pm, was hosted by Zoe Ball and featured appearances by the current Doctor Matt Smith, his assistant Jenna Coleman, Bonnie Langford, Anneke Wills, Katy Manning, Shappi Khorsandi, Professor Brian Cox, Professor Robert Winston, Jo Whiley, Daniel Roche, Lisa Tarbuck, Stephen Hawking, Bernard Cribbins and Rufus Hound. The cast members and celebrity fans discussed their favourite Doctor, the costumes and the process of regeneration.
Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction series in the world, the opening proclaimed whilst listing the number of Doctors, their assistants and enemies. The show certainly created a sufficient hype showing the various Doctors through the show's 50 year run.
After an initial introduction by presenter Zoe Ball and interviews with guests, Capaldi entered the stage in a haze of strobe lighting. He smiled graciously at the roaring crowd and settled down to be interviewed by Ball.
Jenna Coleman at the Lulu Guinness Paint Project Party held at the Old Sorting Office, London.
Capaldi seemed relieved to have been revealed as the Doctor, he said it's "so wonderful not to have to keep the secret any longer." He appeared excited about the role and described himself as a "life-long Doctor Who fan".
On preparing for the role, Capaldi said he "downloaded some old scripts from the internet and practised those in the mirror." Fans of the show had sent in numerous questions for the new Doctor to answer, including what he was doing when he found out he had the role. He apparently missed the call from his agent, whilst filming The Three Musketeers in Prague, and when he contacted her simply answered the phone with "hello Doctor."
In honour of the occasion two former doctors made appearances: the fifth doctor, Peter Davidson, and the sixth Colin Baker. Davidson has a duel connection with Doctor Who: not only did he star in the sci-fi series, but he is the father-in-law of David Tennant, who played the tenth doctor. Davidson commented on the longevity of the role as the Doctor, he said it "continues after you've left" and went on to say "here I am today, still the fifth doctor."
Peter Davidson at the Harold Pinter Theatre, London in 2013.
The audience were appreciative of the announcement, cheering Capaldi on as he entered the studio. The 'Whovians' had appeared en masse, waving sonic screwdrivers and dressed as the Doctors past and present: including as Davidson who looked on with amusement.
Many of the guests commented on the importance of regeneration in the continuation and revitalisation of the show. They commented on how innovative the concept was. Many were unsure if the audience, watching the first regeneration in 1966, would respond positively to it. Fortunately, the idea was successful and has allowed the show to continue for half a century.
Matt Smith was interviewed from L.A. and discussed his time as Doctor Who. Smith said "I've loved it, I really have and I'll miss it."
He discussed his costume: the tweed blazer seemed to have been an accidental choice at the audition (simply because he had one at the time). Smith said he later added the bow tie but that his favourite addition to his eccentric costume was the fez. His costume linked to the way in which Smith wanted to play the Doctor, he said "I always knew I wanted it to be quite physical and the comedy to be quite physical."
Matt Smith as the Doctor, filming in Trafalgar Square, London.
On the role as the Doctor, Smith claimed "there are no parts like this." He went on to say "I miss playing a character that can jump from A-Z but still be the cleverest person in the room." His decision to leave the show was due to Smith's feeling that "it's a good time to move on" and "when you've got to go, you've got to go."
Smith wished Capaldi, without mentioning his name, the best of luck. He said "I pass it on with a smile to the next guy and say good luck buddy." He continued to say "I wish my successor all the best", commenting on his excitement at the prospect of having a "huge fan of the show" and "a really nice guy" to continue the role he played for four years. He also promised that Capaldi is "going to have a blast" and that "it's going to be a thrill."
Steven Moffat, the current writer, interviewed for the special, gave nothing away as to who the new Doctor would be. He referenced their decision making process and claimed Capaldi had been considered for the role previously. He said there's "a right time for the right person to play it." The BBC interviewers asked Moffat how he would describe the future Doctor; he simply stated he would be "different from Matt".
Writer Steven Moffat at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.
He also joked of the importance of his decision in choosing the next Doctor. He said the "doctor is an icon" and as people as "so invested in it" it is "like appointing the president". He paid tribute to Smith, saying his brilliance as the Doctor lies in his spontaneous acting skills: that he would "do something absolutely barking mad."
As to the future Doctors, there was some speculation that it could be a woman. Hawking said he would like to see a female doctor with a male assistant. Regeneration allows the show the versatility so this is a distinct possibility. For now, fans will have to stick with a male Doctor assisted by Jenna Coleman.
As for Capaldi, the 55-year-old Scottish born actor is best known for his roles in The Thick of It, starring as spin doctor Malcolm Tucker. He has also appeared in films such as World War Z, Dangerous Liaisons and In the Loop.
For fans of the eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith has not left the role yet. He will be appearing at the BBC Doctor Who prom on August 26th at the Royal Albert Hall; on the 50th anniversary of the show, scheduled to be broadcast on 23rd November and finally on the Christmas Special. The latter broadcast will see Smith hand over his role as the Doctor to Peter Capaldi.
Peter Capaldi at the 2008 British Academy Television Craft Awards held at The Dorchester, London.