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Meet the Doctor: Peter Capaldi revealed as next Time Lord in Doctor Who

Actor most famous as expletive-hurling government advisor in The Thick of It bags coveted role

It is hard to know what expletives spin doctor Malcolm Tucker would throw at the 1,000-year-old Doctor Who.

But Peter Capaldi, best known for playing the sweary communications chief in The Thick of It, was last night unveiled as the twelfth incarnation of the intergalactic time traveller.

“I think Malcolm’s been banished from the mirror by this new Doctor, who certainly would not put up with any of Malcolm’s language or attitudes,” Capaldi said on BBC One.

The 55 year-old Scottish actor, a lifelong fan of the iconic show, was introduced as the new Doctor in a special half-hour show after Matt Smith stepped down from the role in June.

Capaldi said he found out he had landed the part when his agent called and greeted him as the Doctor. “I started to laugh, and have not stopped laughing since,” he told Zoe Ball.

“Being asked to play the Doctor is an amazing privilege. Like the Doctor himself I find myself in a state of utter terror and delight. I can’t wait to start.”

The BBC went to great lengths to keep the identity of the new Doctor a secret, referring to him as “Houdini” and apparently sneaking him into the studio last night in disguise.

“It’s so wonderful not to keep this secret any longer,” Capaldi told the studio audience, adding that he had to keep it hidden from his daughter.

Steven Moffat, the show’s lead writer and executive producer, said casting Capaldi as the Doctor was an “incendiary combination” and perfect timing. “One of the most talented actors of his generation is about to play the best part on television,” Moffat said.

But some fans were disappointed the BBC had overlooked casting the first woman or black actor in the role. “And the new Dr Who is… Oh. Another white man,” tweeted Joanne Inglis.

Other names mentioned as possible contenders included Idris Elba, Rory Kinnear, and Daniel Rigby.

Not everyone was thrilled with the way the BBC revealed the new Doctor. Stephen Fry tweeted: “As if we needed more proof the BBC has lost the f****** plot. He’s supposed to bloody regenerate not be on a naff children’s show.”