Peter Capaldi is the new Doctor


A woman would have been nice, as would a non-white actor.

But there’s almost universal acclaim online since the announcement, a little more than a half hour ago, that British character actor Peter Capaldi would play the Doctor, the traveling time lord in the 50-year-old British TV series “Doctor Who.”

Capaldi – who played a WHO (World Health Organization) doctor in “World War Z – is best known as another kind of doctor – a spin doctor – in the BBC series “The Thick of It.”

We’d heard a lot of possible new Doctors – the 12th in the run in the series, including a one-shot TV movie starring Paul McGann but not counting the version played on the big screen by Peter Cushing – to replace Matt Smith. Capaldi had apparently become a favorite in recent days.

Since the modern “Doctor Who” era began in 2005 when the show was revived with Christopher Eccleston in the title role, I’ve caught the series a few times on SyFy or BBC America.

My real background with “Doctor Who” goes back to the 1970s and early 1980s, though, and the heyday of Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor.

This was before the age of home video, so the only way to catch the show was when it aired, usually on some obscure cable channel.

I remember watching “Doctor Who” with friends up near the Region (for those of you who don’t know, that’s Northern Indiana) and enjoying Baker’s scarf-wearing escapades.

The modern-day Doctors have been younger romantic lead-types. The 55-year-old Capaldi brings a slightly older, more distinguished feel to the role.

One additional thought: It’s funny that Twitter was alive this afternoon with anticipation and reaction to the announcement of the new Doctor. The changing of the series’ lead actor has drawn some attention in recent years, but for much of the show’s early history, the change didn’t get a lot of notice around the world and especially here in the states.

It’s further proof that the geeks have inherited the Earth.


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