Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi on Monday announced plans to leave the Tardis—and Doctor Who—this Christmas.
In conversation with BBC Radio 2 DJ Jo Whiley, the Scottish actor revealed the now-filming 10th season will “be my last.”
“This will be the end for me,” Capaldi said, praising the long-running British sci-fi drama. “I feel sad. I love Doctor Who. It’s a fantastic program to work on.”
Best known for his role as profanity-spouting spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in the BBC’s The Thick of It, Capaldi was cast in 2013 as the Doctor; his first appearance was a cameo in the 50th anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor,” before appearing in the 2013 Christmas special “The Time of the Doctor.”
Profoundly sad that the wonderful Peter Capaldi is leaving at the end of the year. But he is – and always will be – a great Doctor Who.
— Mark Gatiss (@Markgatiss) January 30, 2017
“It’s been a huge pleasure to work with a family,” he told Whitley of the show’s cast and crew. “I can’t praise the people I work with more highly.”
But, according to the actor, writer, and director, it’s “time for me to move on to different challenges,” he said, reminding listeners that “I’m still there; I’m still [the Doctor] for a long time.”
For 327 more days, to be exact.: The 2017 Christmas special—an annual tradition since the show’s revival in 2005—will see the regeneration of the Doctor into its 14th reincarnation (if you include TV Doctor Paul McGann).
Who will materialize out of that fiery rebirth, however, remains to be seen. UK bookmaker William Hill has its money on Olivia Colman, James Norton, and Reece Shearsmith—all of whom have played supporting roles on Doctor Who since 2010. (Then again, so did Capaldi—in 2008’s “The Fires of Pompeii.”)
Other early favorites include Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd), Ben Whishaw (Daniel Craig’s Bond films), Jason Flemyng (Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels), and Rory Kinnear (also Craig’s Bond films).
I’d pay the BBC to cast Colman (The Night Manager, UK Broadchurch), Hayley Atwell (Captain America’s best gal Peggy Carter), or Sandi Toksvig (QI). But also support predictions of Wishaw, Russell Tovey, Ruth Negga, Miranda Hart, Domhnall Gleeson, Gemma Arterton, and David Harewood.
“It would feel like a snub at this point” not to cast a woman, beloved companion
Rose Tyler Billie Piper told the BBC this week. “I think that would be great. Given the spirit of the world at the moment, I think that would be timely.”
Can we all just put aside our assumptions of bias, however, and assume that the next Doctor will not automatically be any ol’ actor from current showrunner Steven Moffat’s Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Andrew Scott, and Lara Pulver are running varied odds) or imminent showrunner Chris Chibnall’s Broadchurch (which, of course, stars David “10th Doctor” Tennant and Arthur “I’m not Rory Williams anymore” Darvill).
“I want to move on to other challenges, but there will never be anything that’s been more special to me,” Capaldi told Whiley this week, expressing sadness and privilege for his role on the iconic show—of which he is a lifelong fan.
“My everlasting memory will be of the affection that people feel for the character,” he added. “To be the center of that, to be the focus of that is extraordinary.”
In the meantime, as Moffat pointed out, “it’s a long way from over.”
“Peter’s amazing, fiery, turbulent Doctor is still fighting the good fight, and his greatest adventures are yet to come,” the producer said in a statement published by Doctor Who TV. “Monsters of the universe, be on your guard—Capaldi’s not done with you yet!”
The 10th series of Doctor Who is scheduled to return to BBC and BBC America on April 15 (a day after Peter Capaldi’s 59th birthday) with the Doctor’s newest companion, Bill (played by newcomer Pearl Mackey).