Peter Capaldi Doctor Who
Peter Capaldi, the 55-year-old star of The Thick of It, has been unveiled as the new Doctor Who. (Reuters)

Peter Capaldi, the 55-year-old star of The Thick of It, has been named successor to Matt Smith as the new Doctor Who.

Capaldi was unveiled as the twelfth incarnation of the Doctor in a special live announcement made on BBC One. The half hour show presented by Zoe Ball, Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor, saw head writer Steven Moffat and previous actors to play the role speak about Doctor Who, before Capaldi was unveiled.

"It's so wonderful not to keep this a secret any longer," said Capaldi. A lifelong fan of the show, he joked about how secretive the whole process was. "For a while I couldn't tell my daughter, and she was getting rather upset that they never mentioned me".

Steven Moffat said on the show, "There comes a right time for the right person to play it. This person briefly flicked in my mind last time and I didn't think they were right, but this time I thought they had arrived".

The announcement brings an end to frenzied speculation over who would take over from Matt Smith, after the 30-year-old revealed he would be leaving the show on 1 June. On 3 August bookmakers stopped taking bets on Capaldi, the Scottish actor best known for playing foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker in Armando Iannucci's political sitcom The Thick of It, with William Hill offering odds as small as 5/6 on him taking up the iconic role in the Tardis.

Other favourites for the role included Rory Kinnear, star of Black Mirror and Southcliffe, and Ben Whishaw, who has been in TV shows The Hour and The Hollow Crown, as well as playing Q in the latest James Bond film, Skyfall. There were even suggestions that for the first time the Time Lord would become a Time Lady, with Olivia Coleman a favourite with bookmakers to become the first female doctor.

But that appeared unlikely once celebrity photographer Rankin appeared to confirm a male actor in the role when he tweeted, "Just photographed the next Dr Who for tonight's announcement. Let me know what you think of the photo? He's going to be an ace Dr". Alongside Rankin, it had been reported that prior to tonight's unveiling only ten people knew the identity of the next doctor.

Peter Capaldi Doctor Who
Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor, taken by celebrity photographer Rankin. (BBC Pictures)

Capaldi will become the Doctor in what is a special year for the show. A 50th anniversary special will be broadcast on 23 November this year, starring the two latest incarnations of the Doctor, Matt Smith and David Tennant, as well as Billie Piper, John Hurt, and the Doctor's greatest adversaries, the Daleks.

As an alien, the character's ability to regenerate has allowed the show to continue with various actors playing the role for half a century. Smith's Doctor will transform in to Capaldi's incarnation when he regenerates in the Christmas Special later this year.

He will officially become the twelfth person to play the Doctor, with the role previously played by William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, John Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith.


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