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BBC Announces Peter Capaldi Is The Next Dr. Who


From space travel to travel through space and time...


WERTHEIMER: Any fan of "Dr. Who" recognizes that sound. It's a whirling blue police call box, a tardis, transporting the main character on the long running BBC program. The plot line has the Doctor regenerating ever so often. Which means a new actor comes in to play the title role, and now the 50-year-old science fiction show has just named its 12th Doctor.

BBC entertainment correspondent Tim Masters joins us from London to talk about this new face. Can you help us out with the time travel part? How does that work?

TIM MASTERS: Well, Linda, yes, the Doctor, right from the very first episode in 1963, where we were introduced to the tardis, which is this police box, which is not something that you really see in Britain anymore, but it was very familiar on the streets at the time, but he's always kept this time and space machine - it has carried him through adventures, as you say, for 50 years.

WERTHEIMER: So who is the new Who?

MASTERS: So the new Who, the 12th Doctor is an actor called Peter Capaldi, who is very well known in Britain. He's best known for playing a role in a program called "The Thick of It," which is a political satire, but he has a very long track record in film and on stage and on television, so he is a familiar face.

WERTHEIMER: Now, my memory is that every time they change Doctors, there's a slightly different take on the whole thing. What are they going to kick off this new series with?

MASTERS: Well, I think what's really interesting about this casting is that Peter Capaldi is 55 years old and so he is the oldest actor to take on this role since William Hartnell played the very first Doctor in 1963, and he follows on from the youngest ever Doctor, and that was Matt Smith, and he was just 26 when he was cast. So I think as an older actor, Peter Capaldi will bring a certain gravitas to the role, maybe a slightly darker edge than we're used to than, say, with Matt Smith's Doctor, who has been quite slapstick at times.

WERTHEIMER: You know, I wonder why there has not come a time when the Doctor is a woman.

MASTERS: That is an age-old question. It certainly - every time there is a change in the actor, it comes up. You know, the book makers had several actresses, Dame Helen Mirren among them, Olivia Colman, they all were names that were in the frame and it hasn't happened yet, and it hasn't happened this time. But the Dr. Who boss, Steve Moffat, said on last night's program, you know, he hasn't ruled it out.

So we may yet see it happen in a future regeneration.

WERTHEIMER: Tim Masters is BBC arts and entertainment correspondent. Thank you very much.

MASTERS: Thanks, Linda. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.