If you’re new to Dr. Who, one of the odder concepts in the program is that The Doctor periodically regenerates. This is a lampshade on the reality that the actors playing the lead character don’t want to be saddled with the role
for the entirety of their careers, and it allows an “in-universe” canonical way for the writers and show-runners to allow this change to happen. In fan circles, Matt Smith, the outgoing doctor, was “The Eleventh Doctor” (because he’s the eleventh actor to take on the role) and is going to be replaced, when the series comes on again, with Peter Capaldi, a Scots veteran of several BBC productions.
2005 saw Capaldi’s most famous role, before assuming the mantle of a Time Lord: That of spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in the BBC series “The Thick of It,” a role he inhabited through 2012. In that role, he plays a profoundly profane director of communications for the British Government, charged with public relations, cleaning up political gaffes, and ensuring that any dirt about an opposition party member is aired at the most politically advantageous moment. His role was noted for bringing nuance and complexity to a character described as a rabid political hatchetman who didn’t carry grudges – he had them stuffed and mounted on the wall.
Capaldi has previously appeared in Dr. Who as Caecilius in the episode “The Fires of Pompeii,’ which marked the first appearance of Karen Gillan, who went on to play the Doctor’s companion, Amy Pond. Later, he returned to Dr. Who spinoff Torchwood: Children of Earth as John Frobisher, who had a particularly dark turn, killing his own family rather than letting the 456 aliens use them as a human sacrifice.
In the press event where he was announced has having landed the role, Capaldi admitted to having been a fan of the series ever since he was a small boy. For fans of the long running franchise, this promises to be a very enthusiastic incarnation of the Doctor.