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Peter Capaldi: The Doctor who is almost in

There is a new Doctor nearly in town: The 55-year-old Scots actor Peter Capaldi, best known this side of the Atlantic for Armando Iannucci's BBC series "The Thick of It" (loosely the model for HBO's "Veep") and film spinoff "In the Loop," and, going back some, for Bill Forsyth's "Local Hero," has been named as the next star of "Doctor Who," succeeding current Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith. (If you aren't familiar with the franchise, every new Doctor is identical with the last; only the actors change.) The regeneration is set for Christmas.

I've marked this epochal moment with a piece for the Times' Hero Complex blog. You can read it here.

The reveal came Sunday at the end of a dedicated half-hour special, broadcast live on the BBC and on BBC America; though it was a secret, it was not entirely a surprise -- the London bookmakers had Capaldi as the odds-on favorite. Nevertheless, it is a great choice, and if not a radical departure from the Doctors who have gone before -- still white, still male -- his superior years promise something tonally distinct from his most recent predecessors. (Smith was the youngest actor to be cast in the role; Capaldi is as old as the oldest, First Doctor William Hartnell.)

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I think it will be good.

Less famously, Capaldi was also the lead singer in the 1980s Glasgow-based punk band the Dreamboys, whose drummer was late-night TV host Craig Ferguson. They spoke of those days in this 2009 episode of Ferguson's "The Late Late Show." Rock on over space and time, new Doctor!

robert.lloyd@latimes.com

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Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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