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[dropcap]P[/dropcap]eter Capaldi, an actor well known for his role in the BBC satire The Thick of It, was announced as the twelfth Doctor Who in a TV special screened yesterday evening. The 55 yr old actor from Glasgow is apparently a big fan of the series, and the oldest actor to play the character since the first Doctor William Hartnell made his debut in 1963. Matt Smith, the current Time Lord, who will be replaced by Capaldi later in the year, was actually the youngest actor to play the character (he was only 26 when he took on the role in 2009).

Actors such as Ben WishawDaniel Rigby and also Idris Elba were apparently also contenders for the role. Surprisingly, there hasn’t yet been an ethnic minority Doctor, or a female one, but maybe that will change one day. One of the great things about Time Lords is they can regenerate into any race or gender.

The series has a huge following and this news will excite fans of the show. Capaldi joins a list of great actors who have played the Doctor in the past, including Tom BakerJon PertweePeter Cushing and Sylvester McCoy. Capaldi said “Being asked to play The Doctor is an amazing privilege. Like the Doctor himself I find myself in a state of utter terror and delight.” The actor has appeared in many films and TV shows including Dangerous Liaisons and Peep Show.

A rule was written into the series during Tom Baker’s run as the Doctor in the 1970s which placed a limit on how many times a Time Lord could regenerate – only twelve, meaning that if the writers stick to the rule, Capaldi will be the penultimate Doctor. Regeneration usually happens when the Doctor is old or badly injured and he regenerates to heal himself. When the Time Lord regenerates he becomes healthy again, and turns into a completely different person; this is a pretty nifty way to introduce a new actor who is cast as the new Doctor Who.

It seems likely that the writers on the show will scrap the rule so the Doctor can go on indefinitely and regenerate as many times as he likes. This will please most fans of the show, as it would mean the writers can continue to keep the show fresh and interesting by allowing a variety of different actors to take on the lead role.

Capaldi will appear for the first time in this year’s Doctor Who Xmas special, so remember to tune in.

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