Theatre News

Thick of It and Ladykillers star Peter Capaldi named new Doctor Who, continues strong stage connection

Peter Capaldi has been named as the 12th Time Lord in the 50th year of the BBC’s iconic sci-fi television series. He continues in a line of modern time travellers with strong stage connections, following in the footsteps of Matt Smith, David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston

Hot favourite Peter Capaldi, star of The Thick of It on TV and most recently seen on stage in The Ladykillers last year (see our ‘Theatre DNA‘ feature), has been named as the 12th Doctor Who.

Peter Capaldi
Peter Capaldi
© Dan Wooller

The Glaswegian, 55, takes over from Matt Smith as the Time Lord. His casting was revealed on Sunday night (4 August 2013) during a live BBC One show.

“Being asked to play the Doctor is an amazing privilege. Like the Doctor himself, I find myself in a state of utter terror and delight. I can’t wait to get started,” he said.

Capaldi had emerged as the favourite in recent days, surpassing stage regular Rory Kinnear, who had previously been hotly tipped.

Although primarily known for his screen work, including The Thick of It and The Hour, Capaldi recently returned to the stage, starring in Graham Linehan‘s WhatsOnStage Award-winning adaptation of The Ladykillers.

His first acting job in London was at the Young Vic, where he had small roles in productions including The Duenna and Twelfth Night. His other notable theatre credits over the years have included: Alistair Beaton‘s political satire Feelgood (2001), in which, pre The Thick of It, he played a dogsbody speechwriter working for Henry Goodman‘s ruthless spindoctor; the West End premiere of David Hare’s The Judas Kiss (1998), in which he was Robbie Ross opposite Liam Neeson‘s Oscar Wilde; and Absurdia (2007), Douglas Hodge’s production of three short absurdist plays, by NF Simpson and Michael Frayn, at the Donmar Warehouse.

In a 20 Questions interview with ahead of the Absurdia opening in 2007, Capaldi explained why he wanted to become an actor in the first place: “I just liked the idea of hanging about theatres, and the sort of performance element of it. I think that that’s just a cover for saying showing off really! And then you get stuck with it!”

Thespian Doctors

On announcement of his heading the BBC’s iconic sci-fi series, outgoing Time Lord Matt Smith – who himself owes his early career to the stage, having had his breakthrough in the 2007 premiere of then 19-year-old Polly Stenham‘s debut play That Face, at the Royal Court and later in the West End – said: “I wish my successor all the best and say good luck and good on you for getting it, because I know he’s both a huge fan of the show and a really nice guy.”

Prior to Matt Smith, the other two modern Doctor Whos – Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant – also both boast strong stage credentials. Eccleston’s theatre credits include Bent, Abingdon Square and, just last year, Antigone at the National Theatre; Miss Julie in the West End, A Doll’s House at the Donmar; and Hamlet at West Yorkshire Playhouse.

David Tennant started his career on stage in his native Scotland, frequently appearing at Dundee Rep and the Royal Lyceum. In the 1990s and early 2000s, he appeared almost continuously on stage for the likes of the RSC, National Theatre, Donmar Warehouse and Royal Court and in the West End, with notable productions including The Herbal Bed, The Real Inspector Hound, Vassa, Comedians, Push-Up, Lobby Hero (for which he was Olivier nominated) and the world premiere of Martin McDonagh‘s The Pillowman.

Tennant’s stage appearances since he was The Doctor, Hamlet at the RSC and Much Ado About Nothing with Catherine Tate in the West End, caused hysteria amongst fans. He returns to Shakespeare once again, tackling Richard II for the RSC, later this year.