The Word: ‘Doctor Who’ showrunner’s second thoughts on Peter Capaldi

"The Thick of It" and "In the Loop" star Peter Capaldi is the twelfth incarnation of Doctor Who. Credit: Getty Images
“The Thick of It” and “In the Loop” star Peter Capaldi is the 12th incarnation of the Doctor.
Credit: Getty Images

Everyone seems thrilled at the casting of Peter Capaldi as the new star of “Doctor Who.” But showrunner Steven Moffat initially didn’t want him.

“Oddly enough [Capaldi] briefly went through my mind the last time and I didn’t think they were right,” Moffat said during the BBC’s half-hour reveal special. “This time … that moment has arrived.”

The “last time” he means is 2009, when he cast then 26-year-old Matt Smith in the role. Smith was the youngest actor ever to play the Doctor, and after a modern era of three successively younger Doctors, it does seem like it was time to go with someone more mature. Otherwise they would have had to cast a member of One Direction.

The strangest part of Capaldi’s CV? He’s an Oscar-winning filmmaker. “Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life” — which he wrote and directed after his wife accidentally confused the writer’s name with that of director Frank Capra — won an Academy Award for best short film in 1995. It stars Richard E. Grant as a brooding Kafka who learns the meaning of Christmas.


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