Creator / Peter Capaldi

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Hey, if you'd been cast to star in your favourite TV show, you'd be smiling too!

Peter Dougan Capaldi (born April 14, 1958) is a Scottish actor, hailing from Glasgow, with an extensive career on big and especially small screens. In 1995, he won a Best Live Action Short Film Oscar for writing and directing Franz Kafka's It's A Wonderful Life, and he also has two BAFTA Awards to his name. His acting work ranges from World War Z to Skins to Cardinal Richelieu in a 2014 BBC adaptation of The Three Musketeers to what was his most famous role until 2013: Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It.

In 2013 he was cast as the Twelfth Doctor in Doctor Who, succeeding Matt Smith. A fan since childhood, he wrote a letter to the BBC's Radio Times when he was 15, and later wrote articles and submitted art to the show's various fan magazines. He wasn't even new to appearing on the series, having made a previous appearance on the show as a different characternote ; he also appeared in the spinoff Torchwood as an Anti-Villain in the Children of Earth miniseries.

His first appearance as the Twelfth Doctor was a cameo in the 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor, in which only his hand (pulling a lever on the TARDIS) and his eyes (apparently glaring) were seen. The latter shot gained its own fan club, and once Twelve took center stage in the show, the legend only grew further...

Note: He has no relation with Francesca Capaldi — she's NOT his daughter!

Roles include:


Tropes associated with this actor's work include:

  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: The aforementioned Day of the Doctor close-up is currently the page image for the Live Action TV subpage of this trope, and that says it all (see Death Glare below for more).
    • The Doctor in Lego Dimensions (which Capaldi voiced) says "Basically the eyebrows say 'I'm in charge'"
  • The Cast Showoff: A skilled electric guitar player from his years as a rock musician; the Doctor was often seen playing during Series 9.
  • Cast the Expert: More than just a fan of Doctor Who, Capaldi attempted to become the head of its national fan club, wrote a letter to the Radio Times praising its coverage of the 10th anniversary (see Old Shame, below), and even combined his art-school education with his fandom to write a detailed article for a fanzine about the show's opening sequences.
    • There have been numerous cases of Capaldi making public appearances in character as the Doctor in which he accurately answers audience questions about the character's past, or ad-libs based on Capaldi's knowledge of the show.
  • Cool Old Guy: Third-oldest actor to play the Doctor (after William Hartnell and John Hurt) and indications are that he's having a great deal of fun at it.
    • In Series 8, "Robot of Sherwood" has him swordfighting Robin Hood... with a spoon. The glee is palpable.
    • In the opening story of Series 9, "The Magician's Apprentice" sees the Doctor in the midst of The Last Dance, living it up a bit more than usual in a castle in Essex in 1138. On the last night before he's set to meet his destiny, before a cheering crowd of medieval folk he rides a tank into an arena, while wearing Cool Shades and playing an electric guitar! Even better? That's really Capaldi playing the guitar!
    • "Before the Flood", just three episodes later, has a special arrangement of the main theme featuring a Capaldi guitar solo!
  • Death Glare: Steven Moffat even went as far as to call it "pure evilness" in an April Fools' Day joke. The script for "Deep Breath," Capaldi's first full-length episode as the Doctor, lampshades this, and gave a name to the character's most powerful attack in Doctor Who Legacy: "Attack Eyebrows".
  • Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have: He's in his late 50s and has fangirls young enough to be his daughter. But really, who can blame them? His fashion choices, his adorable nerdiness and his decisions to wear his age on his sleeve make him the perfect sexy older man.
    • Initially there was some Abandon Shipping of Doctor/Clara when he was announced to replace Matt Smith because it was assumed that a Doctor/Clara ship wouldn't work with an older actor (even though the Doctor is millennia older than Clara no matter who plays him). Then Series 8 came out, showing Capaldi had plenty of chemistry with Jenna Coleman, making the Doctor/Clara ship a popular ship again. He's still got it.
  • Girly Run: Does this quite a bit with his characters. It's especially amusing watching Tucker doing this.
  • Happily Married: Has commented that his ideal Doctor Who companion would be "My wife" and stubbornly kept his wedding ring on while filming Series 8 and 9.
  • I Am Not Shazam:invoked Averted with Doctor Who. As seen in the Series 9 Extra interviews, he frequently (and deliberately) called the Doctor "Doctor Who". Apparently, it's because he's referring to the "mythical" character known out-of-universe by the general public.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: It's "Ca-PAL-dee", not "Ca-POLL-dee". Steven Moffat demonstrated this by getting a whole room of Italians to say it together and recording it.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Before playing the Twelfth Doctor (who at times comes close to Mean Character territory, being much more cold and abrasive than his previous incarnations), Capaldi was known for playing vile spin doctor Malcolm Tucker and villainous Cardinal Richilieu. But he is generally hailed as one of the true nice guys of British television off-camera, and has a warm reputation in the Doctor Who fanbase (not surprising, given he's One of Us).
  • Old Shame: Seems to view his Radio Times letter as this, seeing as how he admitted to keeping it a secret from his wife during the live announcement of his casting and, during his Sydney interview, sheepishly facepalms himself when his interviewer starts reading it to the audience.
    • When the letter is brought up during his appearance on The Graham Norton Show, among other things, his facepalms become very hammy.
    • Mention The Dreamboys (a punk-rock band he sang for in his youth, with Craig Ferguson as the drummer) and watch him turn completely red and make embarrassed noises. Though this didn't stop him from agreeing to give the Doctor an electric guitar hobby in Series 9.
  • One of Us: A lifelong Who fan, although during his teen years he hid his geekdom to avoid being bullied. He apparently selected his rather stark costume (no great big scarf, frilly shirt, or crazy colors) to make it easier for cosplayers! In Series 9 he gives up all pretense; the Doctor's been wearing an outfit that consists of the trademark red-lined coat over nothing more than a t-shirt and hoodie (and in some cases, not even the coat)! (Also, a red velvet coat is now in the character's wardrobe for a little old-school throwback.)
  • Promoted Fanboy: A young Capaldi wrote to the Radio Times about his favourite show, hoping it would release a special episode to celebrate 25 years on air. Two-and-a-half decades later, in the 50th anniversary special, Capaldi made his debut as the Twelfth Doctor.
  • Rule of Three: As noted above, in his third appearance in the Whoniverse he becomes the lead.
  • Shipper on Deck: Notorious among some fans for his apparent (but, he later claimed, misconstrued) comments prior to his debut that he wanted his Doctor to have no romance or flirtation with Clara Oswald. However, by 2015, this view had been modified and climaxed with a late-summer 2015 interview with Jenna Coleman and Wil Wheaton in which he openly referred to the Doctor and Clara being "crazy for each other" and in a romance. Even before this, he was already being quoted in interviews as saying that his Doctor should have more kissing (though not necessarily with Clara), and he was never hesitant about talking about the romance between his Doctor and River Song. Ultimately, he described the Doctor and Clara's relationship as an "old fashioned romance".
  • Silver Fox: In a blue box.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Before his role on Doctor Who, he was often considered an example of this thanks to his Star-Making Role playing foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It and In the Loop. In a public service announcement he made about cancer, he noted that he was not talking about "my usual big C". Before the start of Doctor Who series 8 it was a common fanon to have Capaldi's Doctor swearing all the time, and the showrunners have alluded to this as much as possible in a family show, with the reference to the psychic paper containing a large amount of swearing and the PG-rated version of "Fuckity-bye!" with "Shuttity-up". After taking on the role of the Doctor, Capaldi adjusted his public persona accordingly and no longer swore in character as he might occasionally do. An exception occurred in the fall of 2014 when he received GQ's Man of the Year Award for TV Personality, which was presented to him by his co-star Jenna Coleman. In what was seen as a "last kick at the can", Capaldi uttered Malcolm Tucker's iconic "Come the f—k in or f—k the f—k off" catchphrase. Not that he became Mother Theresa in the language department; he did use the word "s—t" a few times during his 2015 San Diego Comic Con panel.
  • Star-Making Role: While he'd had a successful decades-long career beforehand, it was his sweary, raging performance as Malcolm Tucker that really made him a household name - to the point that at least two newspapers reported his casting as the Doctor by saying Malcolm Tucker was taking over the TARDIS. Doctor Who is this for people outside of the UK. According to Capaldi, he was cast as Tucker around the time he was seriously considering abandoning acting.
  • Wham Line: Admitted to turning down an Eighth Doctor audition at the Series 8 DVD launch because he felt the time wasn't right. Even showrunner Steven Moffat was stumped! Leads into a Hilarious in Hindsight moment:
    "Think of the amount of Big Finish you would have done by now."note 

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