The 12th incarnation of Doctor Who will be played by Peter Capaldi, the Glasgow born actor and star of The Thick Of It, the BBC revealed tonight in a tense live program broadcast just after 7pm.
The new Doctor Who was unveiled on live television amid tight security in a bid to prevent their identity leaking out prior to broadcast.
Capaldi, who was the bookies' favourite, is the first Oscar winner to take on the role.
He said: "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 get started."
Sources close to the show claimed only 10 people knew the name of the new Doctor who will replace Matt Smith. According to reports staff at the BBC used the codename 'Houdini' to try and keep the identity of the latest actor who will play the Doctor secret.
Mr Capaldi won an Academy Award in 1994 for the best short film (Live Action) for Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life, but really became a household name thanks to his performance as foul-mouthed spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It.
He has also written several shows including a documentary about 500 years history of Scottish portrait painting and Cricklewood Greats - a spoof about the heyday of the British film industry.
Earlier today photographer Rankin - who did a photoshoot with the new Doctor - tweeted: "Just photographed the next Dr Who for tonight's announcement. Let me know what you think of the photo? He's going to be an ace Dr." He thus gave fans a big hint that the new Doctor would not be female as some had suggested.
There had been some speculation that a woman might play the role, with Olivia Colman and Helen Mirren among those touted.
Mr Capaldi was unveiled as the new Doctor in a live BBC show presented by Zoe Ball and featuring interviews with the eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith and executive producer Steven Moffat, as well as celebrity fans and some previous incarnations of the science-fiction hero.
Bookmakers yesterday suspended betting on Capaldi taking the role, after his odds tumbled to 5/6 favourite with William Hill when they stopped taking bets on Friday.
Other names mentioned as possible contenders included Daniel Rigby, whose award-winning performance as Eric Morecambe in Eric and Ernie beat Smith to the best actor TV Bafta in 2011, and Cutting It star Ben Daniels.