Deep breath, everyone. It’s time to blow out some candles… today’s The Doctor’s birthday!
When Matt Smith revealed he would depart from Doctor Who in 2013, speculation ran rife about who would be next to step aboard the TARDIS. In August that year, Peter Capaldi was announced as The Twelfth Doctor in a live broadcast – and what a journey he’s been on since!
Whereas his immediate predecessor was a relative unknown at first, Peter Capaldi was quite the opposite. Most famously he played foul-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It (2005-2012) and In The Loop (2009). Capaldi also had success with his work behind the camera – he wrote and directed Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life (1995). The film won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film and a BAFTA for Best Short Film. Capaldi’s other roles include the angel Islington in Neverwhere, Cardinal Richelieu in The Musketeers, and alongside comedy duo Mitchell & Webb in Peep Show and Magicians.
“I’m The Doctor… and I save people!”
However, back in the Whoniverse, we got our first glimpse of The Twelfth Doctor as part of the show’s iconic fiftieth-anniversary celebrations. With a flash of attack eyebrows in The Day of the Doctor, it was clear that he would be a very different beast. Yet, this was not Peter’s first appearance in the show. He previously played Lobus Caecilius in 2008’s The Fires of Pompeii opposite David Tennant and Catherine Tate. He also starred as tragic civil servant John Frobisher in 2009’s Torchwood: Children of Earth. But, as a lifelong fan of the series, Capaldi finally stepped into his dream job on Christmas Day 2013 in The Time of the Doctor. Shame he didn’t like the colour of his new kidneys, though.
Fast forward to August 2014, a whole year after his casting, and Capaldi made his proper debut. Deep Breath was an extended 75 minutes long and broadcast on televisions and cinemas across the globe. Capaldi has since starred in two series and done battle with many famous foes. Daleks, Cybermen, The Master, Davros, Time Lords… and he’s visited both Gallifrey and Skaro! Highlights from his era include the chilling Listen, the genesis of a villain in The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar, the iconic anti-war speech in The Zygon Inversion, and the masterful performance in Heaven Sent. After forgetting Clara Oswald in Hell Bent, Capaldi’s Doctor travelled solo for two Christmas specials but will return tomorrow with new companion Bill Potts for Series 10.
“Everything ends, and it’s always sad…”
Both Peter and his Doctor have gone through a lot in the last couple of years. On screen, the character evolved from an otherworldly grump to a cosmic rock star. Off screen, Peter remains as an extraordinary ambassador for the show, embarking on a World Tour in 2014 and making appearances throughout 2015 to promote Series 9. He even lent his vocal talents to LEGO Dimensions, which also saw him immortalised as a LEGO mini-figure.
Sadly Peter announced in January that 2017 would be his last year as the iconic Time Lord. The Twelfth Doctor will bow out in this year’s Christmas Special, alongside Steven Moffat. We will miss his stellar performances and rebellious time-travelling nature. However, we still have all of Series 10 yet – that’s 13 new episodes to go!
We wish Peter all the best for his 59th birthday today, and we hope you’ll join us in celebrating all of his achievements. Whip out your sonic shades and start shredding the Doctor Who theme on your air guitar! Dun du dun, dun du dun, dun du dun, dun du dun…!