Doctor Who Casts Torchwood Vet Peter Capaldi as New Time Lord -- Yay or Nay?

Peter Capaldi Doctor Who Cast Twelfth DoctorThe Doctor has officially regenerated.

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.

RELATED | Doctor Who‘s Spoiler-Proof 50th Anniversary Plan

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.”

RELATED | Matt Smith’s Final Doctor Who Episode — The Emotional Goodbye

“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).

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  1. Liana says:

    Should have been a woman – don’t care whether black or white, just not another boring male. There were female Time Lords, you know! Jeez how patriarchal is this!

    • Alan says:

      yeah and they were called time ladies, not time lords, they were clearly stated to be a different gender.

      • Anon says:

        No, it is established within the show that the timelords can change genders….Moffat mentioned it himself in the live special….

        Doesn’t mean they have to, but within the parameters of the story it is not out of the question.

        I don’t think it is intentionaly patriarchal…I think if the perfect female audition they would have been cast…I think it just happens that the current creators felt this guy was the right one.

        I love when superfans of Doctor Who get cast as the Doctor….but I still will grieve for Matt Smith’s Doctor.

  2. Cate53 says:

    Peter Capaldi is a great choice! He is a really good actor – watch Torchwood Children of Earth and so many other things he has been in. He can be funny, scary, emotional, just about anything! They have done the young wacky Doctor with Matt Smith, I think Capaldi will bring real class to the show again. Great choice.

  3. Midori says:

    Let’s all cry!

    “It’s another white guy, they are clearly racists, sexist, homophobes!!!!”

    Grow up people, just grow up.

  4. Dina Barr says:

    I wanted David Hewlett to be the next Doctor :)

    • Bouncy Castle, UK says:

      As a female Brit, who thinks the part should always be played by a male Brit (no matter what colour) I could totally go for David Hewlett as The Doctor!! Loved him in Stargate.

  5. nannarpite says:

    Love Peter Capaldi. Glad to see him get this role!

  6. ShanyLu says:

    Decent choice, although he had a big role in Torchwood, so that bothers me a bit. I am thrilled that all the come lately fan girls will be leaving because they wanted someone young and hot. Of course I never understood anyone who thought Matt Smith was hot….

    • Alex says:

      LOL, are you aware that Colin Baker, the Sixth Doctor, actually appeared on a DW serial during the run of his predecessor, Peter Davison? And Naoko Mori was in a DW episode not that long before starting as Tosh on Torchwood. It is NOT a big deal!

  7. BrianR says:

    Looks a little like Peter Cushing.

  8. Anon says:

    I was hoping for a ginger!

    I don’t like him at all…but probably because I always hate the new Doctor for the first bit…and then I inevitable fall in love.

    This makes Matt Smith all the more sadly real!

  9. Lois says:

    Did they pick a 55-year-old actor for the new Doctor because the First Doctor was played by a 55-year-old actor, as some kind of 50th Anniversay tribute? Bringing the show back to the beginning?

    • Didgeridoomen says:

      No, they picked him because he’s a good actor.

      • RobD381 says:

        There are plenty of “good actors” out there. Something else was afoot with this selection I think.

        • Alan says:

          it was the illuminati who manipulated things to put him into the role, everyone get your tinfoil hats we need to stop them from reading our thoughts.
          seriously? you actually think this? you think that they would overlook the best person for the job because “something else was afoot”? you think they wouldnt want to make the best show possible just because of some “agenda”, this is still their jobs and they live and die by the quality of it.

          • RobD381 says:

            Haha. This wasn’t about who killed Kennedy. This was about a TV show that, for some reason, made a big U-Turn and went back to older Drs. From an editorial on the net I read, Moffat is SuperEgo and threatened ComiCon if a preview for the 50th Anniversary was leaked. He can do what he wants, but he can’t convince me he really “searched” for the 12th Doctor when he himself said there was never any other choice or audition for the new Dr. but this one. Was he lying? Who knows. This is America, much different from Britain. The reason Dr. Who “came to America” during Matt’s tenure was because of the giant leap in viewership in this country.
            Moffat can please in a stuffy old British way because he always wanted an older Dr. and it probably will survive in Britain, but the enormous gains Dr. Who has made in the US will be lost, I believe, on going back to older Drs. and children companions. Dr. Who was created when there was only the BBC, NBC and CBS. Times have changed the playing field for series shows completely. By the way, Oswald didn’t do it. Cheerio!

  10. Jamie says:

    People astound me. Rather than celebrating the casting of an incredibly talented actor in the most iconic television role on British TV, you all seem to be content at hating the cast for mundane and imagined slights.

    It’s not that The Doctor couldn’t be black, or asian, it’s about finding the right man for the part. Peter Capaldi is the right man and that should be the end of it. Those who seem to think Idris Elba was going to take the role, given how he denied interest when linked, need to seriously revaluate your worldviews.

    As for The Doctor being a woman? Why? What would that accomplish? When you actually stop to think about it The Doctor is the single most positive male role-model young boys have, and girls love him too. Why take away a man who shows young boys that courage is not a man with a gun? Especially since the implicit dialogue you’re then stressing is that the female companion role is worthless, you know these strong females (Rose/Amy/Clara) who’ve actually saved The Doctor, they’re what exactly?

    • liz says:

      I’m one of those staunch ‘let’s have some change’ fans and your argument is the first compelling one I’ve read yet as to why the Doctor should remain a man. You’re right, the Doctor is a fantastic role model for boys/men (especially considering the violence thing) he’s emotional, loving, responsible, etc. You are completely correct. And we need more role models like him for boys. I had not thought about it from that perspective before. Well done. But I still believe that he could be a different race – those young boys need role models that reflect who they are too (and there’s nothing really intrinsict to the Doctor being white that couldn’t change that detail).
      *imaginary top hat*

      • Alan says:

        if you actually think the colour of someone’s skin would stop them from being a role model that’s ridiculous. i’m a white guy who’s favourite actors are morgan freeman and sam jackson, two people who i’ve looked up to for years, just because their skin is a different colour to mine doesn’t mean i can’t look up to them as role models.

        • Jamie says:

          That’s not even close to the point I was making. The point I made towards race is that of course The Doctor can be of any ethnicity, the point to do with role models was focussed completely towards gender.

        • liz says:

          Of course its not a problem for you, you’re white. You grew up having role models who looked like you! I’m white too – and I have many badass white women as role models. And we have the privilege of being able to see other men/women of different races as role models; myself I think Gina Torres is the best damn thing ever. But that’s a privilege.
          The thing is that people of colour do not have the same experience as us. I can list off the top of my head 10 fabulous female characters that inspire me (9 of those are white) and its even easier to do with white male characters. We cannot do the same with characters of colour.
          We’ve had the privilege of having role models who look like us, people of colour have not to the same degree. They can certainly look to white characters, but race is such an integral part of identity, its not ridiculous to think that people of colour would want role models who share that identity.

    • RobD381 says:

      Hmmm. He is the ‘the right man and that should be the end of it’? I thought this was a comments section. The end of it? I pay for watching the show just like everyone else. Free TV is no more in America. I have a right to my opinion as do you. But both of us are supposed to expressing that opinion, not trying to silence anyone disagreeing with you by saying ‘that should be the end of it.’
      Personally I DO NOT think he’s the right man, and Moffat said he had no other choices but him so he didn’t even research it one bit. The burden of proof that he is ‘the right man’ won’t come until people stop watching in America (who have Neilson boxes, so un-democratic) so we will see what the ‘end of it’ is.

      • Jamie says:

        Since Doctor Who is a British show it doesn’t matter one jot if nobody in the whole of America watches at all. Your Nielsen boxes make not one speck of difference to how the BBC’s flagship show is ran, they haven’t in the last 50 years and won’t in the next 50 either. And do you really think that Steven Moffat didn’t audition anyone else for the role? That he just said ‘Peter Capaldi’ and refused to budge? I’m sure he was a forerunner from the off but there would have been other contenders, which Steven is hardly likely to mention at a publicity event for Peter is he? ‘Oh yes well there was him and four or five others who it could have been too’ isn’t a great soundbite.

        • RobD381 says:

          Well, not to call Mr. Moffat a liar, I will repeat that HE said this person was his ONLY choice and ONLY audition. I believe he had final approval on anyone. As for Neilson boxes, which are today an inefficient way to determine viewership, I was speaking about the US. I don’t give a red penny what the BBC or all of Britain thinks, if viewership dies in America, it will no longer be shown here, period. My apologies for you putting words in my mouth that I did not use. I also left my crystal ball elsewhere so I didn’t know Moffat was lying. Congrats on your keen perception.

        • RobD381 says:

          And one more thing. From your language, I assume you are British? I thought this was America. I have tried more than one time to comment on something on British sites and they wouldn’t allow it. I guess if you are in Britain it just shows how more open minded we are to let you comment. Your welcome.

          • Yes indeed I am English. Keen perception and common sense are just two qualities we possess in abundance which seem to be lacking across the Atlantic.Mr Moffat is rather keen on hyperbole in interviews, if you were to look at how he has talked about Matt during his tenure you’d know this. Of course Matt is a splendid Doctor, but we know he won’t be around ‘forever’ as Mr Mofat once claimed, nor is he the only man capable of being The Doctor, proven by the 10 actors before him and the many still to follow.

            I’m sorry you don’t see Peter Capaldi as The Doctor for whatever reasons you have and I’m sure the loss of your viewership will hurt the show. But probably not. In fact definitely not. As already pointed out the whole of America could stop watching and nobody but a few disappointed BBC marketing executives will do more than shrug their shoulders.

          • RobD381 says:

            Since I couldn’t reply to your post, Jamie, I am here. Your attitude is way off course for a TV show, but then that’s your problem not mine. I was never saying the Dr. would end in Britain, just here, because sponsors pay for the shows here and no sponsor is going down with a sinking ship. Let’s just let whatever happens be the judge on my opinions and your opinions (which, as you say, no one cares about, although opinions rule the World right now). Despite your hateful attitude I have to say I have enjoyed Dr. Who for years, never as much as the last 10 or so years, and I hope it has success, and this U-turn into the past isn’t a show killer like I think it will be. Once again I must point out that this is a TV show, and nothing more. No animals (or countries) were harmed in the making of these comments. Carry On!

  11. majamababe says:

    I don’t care who they choose – black, white, green, pink, purple, British, American, Asian, male, femaile, transgendered, gay straight, bi, old, young- whatever! I watch the program because I like the character of Doctor Who and have watched since the 80’s. Go Doctor!

  12. Barb says:

    Very pleased with the casting. Now less snogging, better storytelling and more focus on the Doctor (sorry, but seemed it should have been called the Amy Pond Show for the longest time).

    • CJ says:

      I totally agree. The Amy Pond voice-over intro was the most frustrating thing in the world – it was evidence of the fact that the focus truly had shifted away from the Doctor and over to her. I feel I am in the minority but I really never liked Amy Pond. Rory, yes. Amy, no. I’ll be happy to see the show go back to its roots a bit with Peter Capaldi.

  13. Maggie says:

    I agree with the people that are saying that Peter Capaldi is a good choice. He’s a different Doctor than what we’ve seen in the new Who. But I also think an actor of his fame will only stay for a year. I don’t see him as going 3 or more years. He’s got too good a career going to see himself locked into this role for too long. Capaldi also has played a wide variety of roles, so why stick around too long and risk getting typecast?

    • Viv says:

      Because he deserves a legacy! He’s had a lot of fun roles and I’d bet money he’s a good director too but this will make him a beloved icon to the entire world.

      Malcolm Tucker is an unbelievably hilarious character but the Doctor is known in Township, Tokyo and Timbuktu!

      Yeeea Pete!!! Cannot wait! (Gotta go watch he & Dawn French flirt on Vic of Dib for the millionth time now…)

  14. paula says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing his take on the Doctor. I liked him in Torchwood and as the Pompeii dad in Doctor Who. The only other thing I remember seeing him in is Local Hero. He was adorable in that–“I have a facility for languages” and falling in love with a mermaid. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a watch.

  15. Scribe says:

    I loved the idea of an older doctor and it might actually remove the romantic shipping that’s been part of the equations since Tennant took over.

  16. Boo says:

    I’m done. I have no interest in watching an old doctor. And yes I’m not a tween. Sad day for me.

    • Midori says:

      Yeah because that only worked for the first 30 seasons.

      • RobD381 says:

        Not in America it didn’t

        • Alan says:

          yeah it did or pbs would have stopped showing it.

          • RobD381 says:

            PBS stations in America pay for content on their individual stations. For many years in the middle of the US we could not get Dr. Who, so your assertion has to be qualified. In my backwoods area of the country PBS would rather run Lawrence Welk years after he died than run Dr. Who. I am in the middle of ConservativeLand, where no one can have fun. The only thing we missed was a ban on dancing (yes, it really did happen like ‘Footloose’ (the first one)). We had the Drs. for awhile then lost them for years, finally returning fitfully until BBC America (bless their souls) brought Dr. Who to America for everyone (on cable).

    • Alex says:

      You’re not a tween, but you ARE ageist. Congrats!

  17. shar says:

    if they want to lose the female fans like me, good job.

    • OJ says:

      If they want to keep the female fans like me, good job!

      • Scribe says:

        Ditto! In fact, it annoys me when I hear that because women are always complaiing they cast on a pretty girl for the guys and now it appears we’re no better because they cast a great actor instead of a Back Street Boy was the new doctor.

    • Alex says:

      Good. You won’t be missed. I think we can tell why you were really watching the show, and it wasn’t because you enjoyed the writing, characterization, direction, creativity, supporting characters, etc.

  18. Sara says:

    While I am pretty excited by this casting news, it does bother me a little bit that he had such a prominent role in Torchwood: Children of Earth only because Gwen specifically made that whole monologue about how the Doctor didn’t come to help and where was the Doctor? And now the same actor that played Frobisher is playing the Doctor. While logically, I know that this actor was/is playing two separate roles, part of me is now saying “oh the Doctor was there, he was just causing the whole thing to happen!” And now I am a little angry that the Doctor contributed to Ianto’s death. And yes, I know I am overthinking this. I can’t wait to see what he does with the role!

  19. Fred says:

    ok back to the topic as this guy as Dr Who- I am interested to see what he brings to the character – I am an American – love BBC American – Thank you for the great shows

  20. Viv says:

    Oh. Ma. Gah… In June, he had 20 to 1 odds to win, so I just quit paying attention to the hype but now — BUT NOW!!! Well, well well, We’s gone have some fun now, fellas!!
    YEEEA!!! Worshiped him since Vicar of Dibley. He was amazing on Torchwood. Malcolm Tucker is a god. And he & Craig Ferguson together are hilarity smoking hot personified! Oh baby. Yum.

  21. Mark says:

    I’m glad it’s an older doctor because hopefully it’ll put an end to the companion/Doctor romantic tensions and concentrate on good plots since it is supposed to be a children’s show.

    • RobD381 says:

      Please confirm that. It never seemed like a children’s show. Some of the Dr.s have remarked they had to sneak in and watch it behind a couch (and still had nightmares). I’d never consider letting my grandchildren seeing the Dr Who shows until they’ve reached puberty at least.

      • Alex says:

        DW is widely considered to be a children’s show in England. Simply Google the phrases Doctor Who and children’s shows to see many mentions of this fact. Of course, there are people who question its suitability for kids, but generally it’s categorized as children’s programming in its home territory. That seems a bit odd to me, too, but that’s probably because I’m American and it’s just a difference in cultures.

      • Alan says:

        its officially classified as a family show, not a childrens show.

  22. Harmony says:

    I’m just not sure about him. He’s apparently a brilliant actor, though I’ve never seen him in anything before, but he looks sort of grumpy and sinister. Not like the raggedy doctor that I know and love. :(

  23. RobD381 says:

    I didn’t watch Dr. Who for years because the old guys just didn’t seem to be “with it” and the companions were for the most part unlikeable. Now comes David Tennant at 31 and infuses the Dr. with youth, passion and a great attitude for a new century. Then Matt Smith at 28 took over, and although slowly, took over the helm and continued the greatness of David in his own quirky way. The companions matched them, especially the combination of Amelia and Rory. The good Doctor won over America with its positive attitude and youthful exhilaration. I have nothing against the new Doctor except Moffat said he was his only choice (earlier this year he said he was frightened he might make the wrong choice — he did) and two, his age. He’s 58 now. I’m 68, so forget accusing me of bashing older people.
    Even Moffat indicated he was older by saying “of his Generation” — there’s a clue they didn’t anguish a bit over a choice.
    When he was 31, David’s age, Margaret Thatcher was busily screwing over everyone except the rich in Great Britain. One person on Twitter said he was glad a more ‘mature’ Dr. had returned. Right. He can sit in the Tardis and drink Tea while his adolescent female companion can play with her dollies. Even British imports Sherlock and Downton Abbey have used the same youth and wit. This is a step back for the Doctor, and for me a sad one.
    I would love for them to prove me wrong, for it to not return to a stuffy old British import, but I think they will not.

  24. St says:

    British people like to say: “But almost all originals Doctors were unattractive older men, you silly. What did you expect. It’s Doctor’s universe”. But they forget that at that time there were no Internet where people could say their thoughts. There were NO OTHER competition. Like there were few channels and few shows. People HAD to watch what they were shown. And if you look at other TV shows of those times you could see that Britain was obsessed with older dudes and many-many characters and tv hosts were 55-65 years old.

    Now there are 50 channels and 200 shows. You can choose any. You can watch in repeat shows you missed when there is nothing to watch. Now there are so many shows that people have to choose which ones to watch and which to skip. And shows have to fight for peoples attention.

    I wonder about the ratings of new Doctor. Brits will still watch it no matter what. They are too obsessed with Doctor. But worldwide audience may just let go Doctor Who show. And I seriously wonder about the ratings in USA.

  25. Alex says:

    Me, I’m looking forward to this casting. I will leave judgement aside until after I’ve seen him in a few episodes. Just as previous new Doctors, they all tend to grow on you. I really wasn’t a big Matt Smith fan until the 2nd season, he took a long while to grow on me, but he has.

    That said, I really like the idea of the Doctor moving back to a father/mentor figure, instead of the i’m infatuated with him figure that he’s been for the last 3 incarnations. It why, while I loved Abigail Freeman in the role of Martha Jones, I didn’t love her. It’s why Donna Noble was able to become one of the best companions (imho) for the Doctor so far (Although, I wish the Ponds had stuck around to be part of Matt’s swan song 50th anniversary (now that would have been a time to kill them off!), I really loved them as companions, I loved them more together, then Amy alone actually. I just really think that it’s a good place for the Doctor to go, and I hope he does well.

  26. Moxie says:

    Still not ginger!

  27. KenL says:

    I don’t like the casting, because a Dr. Who actor should be someone like a Matt Smith or a David Tennant who is not widely known before the part OR at least, NOT HAVE ALREADY BEEN ON THE SHOW AND ON ITS SISTER SHOW, TORCHWOOD. When I look at Capaldi, I think of his past two performances. Having said that, he’s a good actor, and I am hoping he does amazing things with the part. As for the whole….lets go with a different race doctor or a woman? Personally, I think that would be an overly PC way to go. Let’s introduce other, strong characters on the show played by women and people of different races, but let’s not mess with the doc.

  28. Brenda647 says:

    Peter Capaldi is awesome!! He was wonderful in “Local Hero” ( I had a big crush on him) and the only good thing In “Torchwood: Children of Earth”. I can’t wait to see what he brings to the Doctor’s new regeneration. I wish him all the best.

  29. Rachel says:

    I think the whole internet has responded to the casting choice with a resounding “meh”. A very predictable choice. I’ll just have to see it to believe it (much like I did with Matt Smith, mind you).

  30. Teresa says:

    Is Peter too old for Clara?

  31. Charlotte says:

    Most importantly, peter capaldi has been a character in doctor who before and an important character in torchwood. Not saying he won’t be good but I don’t think out of all the actors they could have picked, they should have picked someone who has already been related to the show.

  32. peter calpadi is my favourite . i really love it