Oscar winner Peter Capaldi unveiled as 12th Doctor
Capaldi will take over when current incarnation Matt Smith bows out later this year
The 12th Doctor: Peter Capaldi, who is best known for his role in The Thick of It, will become the 12th Doctor later this year. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Matt Smith, who played the 11th incarnation of the Doctor. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
The new Doctor Who was unveiled live on television tonight, with Peter Capaldi revealed as the 12th Doctor.
Capaldi will take over after Matt Smith, who has played the role for four years, bows out after the Christmas special of the BBC show.
The Glasgow-born actor is the first Oscar winner to take on the role. He won an Academy Award in 1994 for the best short film (Live Action) for Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life, but Capaldi really became a household name thanks to his performance as foul-mouthed spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It. He has also written several shows including a documentary about 500 years history of Scottish portrait painting and Cricklewood Greats — a spoof about the heyday of the British film industry.
Sources close to the show said only 10 people knew the name of the new doctor, who will replace Matt Smith, and they used the codename Houdini to try and keep it a secret.
Bookmakers suspended betting on Capaldi taking the role, after his odds tumbled to 5/6 favourite with William Hill when they stopped taking bets on Friday.
The Scottish actor is a lifelong fan of the show and wrote a letter to the Radio Times about the Daleks when he was a teenager.
Plans for this evening’s half-hour show were kept secret with a repeat of Celebrity Mastermind put in listings in its place.
The Daily Mirror reported that the new Doctor will be sneaked into the studio in disguise to ensure their identity is kept secret.
Other names mentioned as possible contenders included Daniel Rigby, whose award-winning performance as Eric Morecambe in Eric and Ernie beat Smith to the best actor TV Bafta in 2011, and Cutting It star Ben Daniels.
Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction series in the world. The series first aired in 1963 until 1989, before being relaunched in 2005. The 50th anniversary episode of the show will be shown on November 23rd.