It’s somehow heartening that, years after it was written off as a joke, shoved into limbo and left to moulder, Doctor Who has now evolved – or re-generated – into something special enough to warrant an entire live show built around the annoucement of the next occupant of the TARDIS. Now, in its 50th year, we know that the 12th incarnation will be Peter Capaldi.
Capaldi, who is still probably best known as the foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker from The Thick Of It (and to some, forever as the Angel Islington from TV's Neverwhere), will be outsmarting evil, running around, making silly jokes and generally being a meddling mad man with a box. Matt Smith will re-generate into Capaldi's form during the Christmas special this year. “I’m surprised to see the Doctor looking back in the mirror,” he said in the announcement show. “He’s not there yet, but he’s reaching out.”
Bets have been taken for months on the identity of the new Doctor, since the role has these days taken on the fervour of a huge sporting event or picking the new Pope. Suggestions have run the gamut from bookies’ favourite Capaldi to baby Prince George. But without any disrespect to the third in line to the throne, Capaldi is a fantastic choice, someone with some age and experience on his side. Plus, he has form with Team Who, having appeared in 2008's The Fires Of Pompeii and Torchwood's Children Of Earth. He even wrote to The Radio Times about his love of the Doctor when he was only 15, so you know he's not faking enthusiasm to get the role (unless he's been planning this for a very long time).
The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special meanwhile, will be broadcast on November 23.