Who is Peter Capaldi? 10 things you can watch online to get to know the new Doctor
James R | On 05, Aug 2013
Photo: RANKIN (BBC Pictures)
“Come the fuck in or fuck the off.”
Those are the words everyone wants Peter Capaldi’s new Doctor to say as he welcomes his new companion into the TARDIS. Everyone, that is, who has seen The Thick of It, in which Capaldi plays the Prime Minister’s sweary press secretary Malcolm Tucker.
But while the Scottish actor has been immortalised as the world’s most versatile potty mouth, that’s not why he’s a good choice for the Time Lord. What has Peter Capaldi been in, you ask? A quick glance through his CV reveals that he’s played kings, demon worm slayers and Roman bankers – not to mention made two appearances in the Dr Who universe already. An actor of great range, even greater hair and extraordinary menace, he marks a step away from the young heartthrobs of recent years towards the intimidating father figures of old Doctor Who. At least, we hope that’s the case.
Want to get to know the new Doctor? Here are 10 things you can watch online now:
The Hour: Season Two (2012)
Forget Malcolm Tucker and get to know Randall Brown, the head of News in BBC2’s fantastic period drama series. Uptight, strict and eternally stiff-lipped, Peter Capaldi’s performance goes from anal to emotional as his facade slowly crumbles. It’s a brilliantly subtle demonstration of the guy’s versatility. Plus he looks sexy in glasses.
Torchwood: Children of Earth (2009)
Another moving turn from Doctor Number 12, Capaldi plays John Frobisher in his second role within The Whoniverse. Caught up in an alien scheme that seems to involve the Earth’s children, he goes through a devastating journey that again shows off his understated side. Plus he looks sexy in glasses.
The Thick of It (2005-2012)
“He’s as useless as a marzipan dildo.” Who said it, Doctor Who or Peter Capaldi? Actually, Malcolm Tucker, Capaldi’s alter ego and Number 10’s eternally angry press secretary. Spinning news like a DJ with pop culture references and genitalia instead of discs, it’s a glorious display of comic timing, vitriolic shouting and the most creative insults since Edmund Blackadder. Plus he looks sexy in glasses – but don’t tell him that or he’ll shove them where the sun don’t shine.
Big Fat Gypsy Gangster (2011)
A straight-to-DVD British comedy film, Big Fat Gypsy Gangster is about a guy released from prison who gets followed by a film crew. You might think Peter Capaldi should be embarrassed by his role as the prisoner’s therapist, but he comes out of it better than Michael Parkinson, who appears in it as himself. According to Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian, it’s actually quite good.
In the Loop (2009)
“’Climbing the mountain of conflict’? You sounded like a Nazi Julie Andrews!”
Malcolm Tucker explodes onto the big screen with a violent spray of swear words and even louder shouting. A textbook display on how to insult Americans, he goes toe-to-toe with James Gandolfini and comes out looking like a foul-mouthed, Scottish genius. Which, incidentally, is exactly what he is. Plus he looks sexy in glasses.
The Devil’s Whore (2008)
A “bodice-rippingly melodramatic” TV show about the fictional adventures of Angelica Fanshawe and the historical Leveller soldier Edward Sexby, the 17th Century drama features Peter Capaldi as King Charles I. Needless to say, he has one heck of a moustache and beard.
Doctor Who: The Fires of Pompeii (2008)
Back in 2008, fans of The Thick of It were surprised to see Peter Capaldi appear in Doctor Who – not any more. Playing Caecilius in The Fires of Pompeii, Episode of Two of Season Four, he spent the 45 minutes walking around in a toga and building a gigantic circuit board out of rock – and giving the episode much of its dramatic pathos. Sadly, no glasses.
The Best Man (2005)
A guy tries to help his best friend win the attention of the girl of his dreams in this 2005 romantic comedy. Peter Capaldi appears briefly as a priest. His name? Priest. In the same year, Capaldi also starred in the film Wild Country. His role? A priest called Father Steve. Frankly, that film looks better than this one.
Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie (1997)
Another of Peter Capaldi’s brief cameos, he pops up in the middle of Bean: The Movie. And yes, you guessed it: he looks sexy in glasses.
Local Hero (1983)
The young Scot impressed back in the days in Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero – not just because of his floppy hair and expressive eyebrows but because of his dorky running. Fast forward to In the Loop and that running style hasn’t changed. Imagine what he’ll be like when holding a Sonic Screwdriver.
The Lair of the White Worm (1988)
Ken Russell’s take on Bram Stoker’s novel stars Peter Capaldi as a Scottish archaeology student who finds himself faced with the monstrous wrath of a giant mythical snake. At one point, he kills a man with bagpipes – proof, more than anything, that’s he’s the perfect choice to play The Doctor. The film’s sadly not available on-demand, but here’s the clip from YouTube anyway.
And while, we’re on bonus video clips, here’s Peter Capaldi singing Lou Reed’s Pale Blue Eyes. Just, you know, because:
And now you know who Peter Capaldi is.
Will he make a good Doctor? People will be arguing about that right up until the Christmas special. The one thing we can all agree on? We really hope he wears glasses.