Peter Capaldi is the Twelfth Doctor Who. The identity of who will next play the Time Lord on the next season of the BBC sci-fi series was announced today simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic. Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor aired at 11 AM PT on BBC America and 7 PM in the UK on BBC One. The actor will make his regenerating debut in the Christmas special later this year, taking over from current Doctor Who Matt Smith. “If I had to pick someone I’d pick him,” teased Smith earlier in the live show without naming his successor by name. Capaldi starred recently in World War Z with Brad Pitt and appeared as the perpetually swearing UK PM’s press secretary in Veep creator Armando Iannucci’s 2009 feature In The Loop. Currently filming the BBC drama The Musketeers, the actor is also in Disney’s upcoming Maleficent with Angelina Jolie. He has actually been on Doctor Who before. Capaldi played Caecillius, a merchant in Ancient Rome, in the 2008 episode The Fires of Pompeii. The Scottish actor is repped by United Agents in the UK. Filming on the new season of Doctor Who is scheduled to start in October with the cycle to debut in 2014.
As revealed on August 1, when today’s special was first set, Smith, and EP Steven Moffat also appeared on the half hour show. Peter Davison, who played the fifth Doctor from 1981 to 1984, was there too as were various companions of various versions of the Doctor and Stephen Hawking. Smith’s departure from the role he’s played since 2009 was officially made public in June. Not that the Eleventh Doctor will be leaving the show in a low-key fashion; Smith will still be the Tardis travelling Time Lord for the 50th anniversary show on scheduled to air on November 23. He’ll be joined by Billie Piper, who played the Doctor’s companion Rose on the 2005 reboot of the series, along with his immediate predecessor David Tennant and John Hurt, who showed up in the most recent season finale, playing a previously unknown Doctor. Having run 798 episodes so far, Doctor Who is the longest running sci-fi series in TV history. William Hartnell originated the role of the Doctor back in 1963. Subsequent actors who’ve played the Doctor have been introduced by the use of the regeneration process which gives the character a new body and a partially new personality as a way of sustaining life after being struck by an otherwise near fatality.