So Just Who Exactly Is Peter Capaldi?

Photo: BBC
Photo: BBC

When the announcement was made that Peter Capaldi was becoming the twelfth actor to play the iconic role of The Doctor, I for one was literally jumping for joy.  I did actually know who this older, greying man was simply by his fingertips; however for many especially the international fans, Peter Capaldi was an unknown entity.

As filming starts on Season 8 and the BBC finally show us how this new Time Lord will look, let me tell you about what Mr Capaldi did before he took over the TARDIS.

Peter Capaldi describes himself as “a lifelong fan” of Doctor Who and his role as the 12th Doctor is not his first foray into the Doctor Who universe however his career before Who is a wide and varied one. So if you are ready, settle down and let’s take a trip down Capaldli memory lane.

Way back on the eons of time, well the 1970’s a young Peter Capaldi was in a punk band called Dreamboys whose drummer was Craig Ferguson, yes THAT Craig Ferguson the future US chat show host and fellow Whovian fanboy. Check out this hilarious interview between the old friends.

Capaldi’s first big role in a movie was in the BAFTA winning 1983 hit Local Hero which starred Burt Lancaster.

Following this Capaldi had small parts in movies such as Dangerous Liaisons, which also starred Glenn Close and John Malkovich.  In 1995, Capaldi directed another future star of Doctor Who, Richard E Grant in the short Franz Kafka’s It’s A Wonderful Life.  The project also starred Phyllis Logan, better known today as Mrs Hughes in Downton Abbey.  The film was awarded the 1994 BAFTA for Best Short Film and was awarded the 1995 Academy Award for Live Action Short Film. That’s right people our twelfth Time Lord has an Oscar!!

Following this success, Capaldi finally gained his first starring television role in the BBC Drama Mr Wakefield’s Crusade.  In the drama, he played the eponymous Mr Wakefield who imagined being a witness to a crime.  After this success, Capaldi returned to the realm of bit parts, starring in hit shows such as The Vicar of Dibley, Peep Show and BBC crime drama Waking The Dead.

Capaldi’s true break and the role which brought him to real attention was as the foul mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in critically acclaimed BBC comedy series The Thick of It which ran from 2005 until 2012, and he won the BAFTA for Best Performance in a Comedy Role in 2010. Capaldi reprised the role of Tucker in the 2009 movie In The Loop. Check out the video below to get a taste of the whirlwind that is Malcolm Tucker (warning there may be some strong language)

It was during this time that Capaldi starred in the 2008 Doctor Who episode “The Fires of Pompeii” playing Roman merchant Caecilius who ironically purchases the TARDIS believing it to be a piece of modern art.  His character and family are later saved from the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius by David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor.  However his connection with the Whoverse did not end there, as in 2009 he played the role of Permanent Secretary John Frobisher in Torchwood:Children of Earth.

Capaldi is also no stranger to the good old British costume drama, having played King Charles I in the 2008 drama The Devil’s Whore which also starred The Master himself, John Simm.  He can currently be seen in the BBC epic The Musketeers playing the dastardly Cardinal Richelieu, which was being filmed at the time he received the phonecall telling him he was the next Doctor.

He also recently starred in The Fifth Estate as The Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, the movie also starred Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Essange.  The Scottish star also had a small role in the Brad Pitt movie World War Z in which he played a World Health Organisation Doctor, or WHO Doctor. Many fans saw this as a portent of things to come, especially when it was announced that Matt Smith was to leave the TARDIS.


As well as his screen work, Capaldi also played Professor Marcus in the West End run of The Ladykillers at London’s Geilgud Theatre, a role he played extremely well and I was lucky enough to see him during the run from 2011 – 2012. I was also able to meet him briefly afterwards at a deserted stage door, something that will not happen for him again, as David Tennant could attest to following his sojourn in the TARDIS.

I will make no apologies for being over the moon when on August 3 2013 we were told that indeed this 55 year old fanboy would be the next Time Lord. I know many new Whovians will say he is too old, however he is the same age as William Hartnell was when he first flew the TARDIS 50 years ago.  It feels like the Doctor is coming full circle and I for one can’t wait to see what the “no frills” Doc Marten wearing Time Lord can achieve.

Photo: BBC
Photo: BBC
Kirsty Wallace
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