James Legge

Peter Capaldi tackles the tough gig as the 12th Doctor Who

The news was announced during a suspenseful live show on BBC1 - so what has he got in store for us?

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Well the swirling anticipation, bubbling as it did like a Carrionite's cauldron, is finally over.

After the brooding roughness of Christopher Ecclestone; the barely-flappable cool of David Tennant; and the raggedy weirdness of Matt Smith comes....

Who knows? While we can safely assume Peter Capaldi will leave Malcolm Tucker's abrasion and hurled expletives in Westminster, he brings much more career baggage to the role than anyone else since the 2005 reboot.

Despite the press's attempts to paint Capaldi's Tucker as a raging football hooligan, the new Doctor's performance over four series of The Thick of It and a feature film in In The Loop wove among the general horridness a pathos and occasional self-doubt which would put to shame any of his predecessors as the last Time Lord.

Though, as a childhood fan, Capaldi appears to relish taking on one of the biggest roles in the history of popular enternainment, it's a tough gig. Since everyone went crazy about a 26-year-old unknown called Matt Smith getting the nod, the Topman Doctor has had the show twisted around him into a huge-budget international behemoth.

It's gained the series-long story arcs of The Wire, mixed with the visual effects of Pacific Rim, whilst keeping the British eccentricity which makes the show what it is.

To walk into that set-up cold would challenge any actor, but fans - myself included - should look forward to what the new series has in store.

Capaldi's appointment also continues a fine tradition at Doctor Who of promoting supporting players to the headline roles. In the very same episode that the Glaswegian made his mark as the Pompeiian Caecilius, we saw a young Karen Gillan (later Amelia Pond) playing a mysterious soothsayer.

And the heartbreaker that was the Series 2 finale saw Freema Agyeman playing Adeola, cousin of Martha Jones, who she would also portray in Series 3. Even Torchwood's Eve Myles got her Who break as Gwyneth, the humble and devout servant girl, in Series 1. She would later become known as Gwen Cooper, Gwyneth's distant descendant, in the popular spin-off.

Given that Matt Smith's Doctor was (let's admit it) a caricature of David Tennant's, it's good to see a change in trajectory. That growl and unwavering stare which have served Capaldi so well will surely be menacing Daleks and Sontarans before too long. While hardly a prettyboy, he's got presence and charisma to fill even the Tardis, though he'll have to surprise a few viewers if he's to imbue the role with The Doctor's robust moralism.

But details like this can wait until we see our new Doctor at Christmas.

Allons-y!

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