Twelfth Doctor

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The Doctor
The Twelfth Doctor
Portrayed by Peter Capaldi
Tenure 25 December 2013–
First appearance "The Day of the Doctor"
Companions Clara Oswald
Preceded by Matt Smith (Eleventh Doctor)
Series Series 8 (2014)

The Twelfth Doctor is an incarnation of the Doctor, the protagonist of the long-running BBC television science fiction programme Doctor Who. He is portrayed by Scottish actor Peter Capaldi.[1] Within the series' narrative, the Doctor is a time travelling, humanoid alien from a race known as the Time Lords. When the Doctor is critically injured, he can regenerate his body, and in doing so gain a new physical appearance, and with it a distinct new personality; this plot mechanism has allowed the Doctor to be portrayed by a series of actors over the decades since the programme's inception in 1963.

Capaldi made his first, very brief appearance as the Doctor in the show's fiftieth anniversary special "The Day of the Doctor" (2013), as one of the thirteen incarnations of the Doctor who are summoned to save Gallifrey from destruction. Capaldi's first full appearance was at the end of the 2013 Christmas special "The Time of the Doctor".[2][3] He will be accompanied in the eighth series by incumbent companion Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman).[4]


Peter Capaldi portrays the Twelfth Doctor

Matt Smith, who played the Eleventh Doctor, announced his departure from Doctor Who on 1 June 2013.[5] Prior to the revelation of Capaldi as the next Doctor, there was extensive media speculation on the subject.[6] On 3 August 2013, bookmakers William Hill suspended betting when Capaldi became the five to six favourite to be cast.[7] Capaldi's casting was revealed on 4 August during a live broadcast on BBC One, titled Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor.[8] The live show was watched by an average of 6.27 million in the UK, and was also simulcast in the United States, Canada and Australia.[9]

While Capaldi was the first choice for the role, other actors were also approached in case Capaldi should turn the offer down. Ben Daniels, who was an early favourite following the announcement of Matt Smith's departure,[6] said that he had been approached with a view to assessing whether he would be interested in playing the Doctor, with his name remaining as a potential contender until just before the live BBC broadcast.[10]

Doctor Who head writer and executive producer Steven Moffat said that Capaldi "briefly flicked through [his] mind" while casting the Eleventh Doctor, but that he dismissed the idea, thinking he was not right for the part at the time.[3] Ben Stephenson, the BBC's drama commissioner, said that Capaldi was suggested months before the August revelation and that a secret audition was held at Moffat's home.[2] Capaldi prepared for the audition by downloading old Doctor Who scripts from the Internet and practising in front of a mirror. He discovered he had been given the part during filming for Adrian Hodges' The Musketeers in Prague; after missing a call from his agent, Capaldi rang back to be greeted with "Hello, Doctor!"[3] At 55 years old when originally cast, Capaldi is almost the same age as William Hartnell (the First Doctor) when he was cast in the role (with Hartnell having been only a few months older than Capaldi was when he was cast for the role),[3] and will be the oldest actor since Hartnell to star in the show.[11] Moffat felt that an older actor would work best following the youngest actor, as it would both provide a change and lessen comparisons. He commented, "I can absolutely believe that the strange old-young Matt Smith will turn into the strange young-old Peter Capaldi."[12]

Capaldi has previously appeared playing other roles in the Doctor Who franchise. He portrayed Lucius Caecilius Iucundus in the 2008 episode "The Fires of Pompeii" and John Frobisher in Children of Earth, the 2009 serial of the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood.[3][13] Moffat has stated that he plans on explaining over time why there are three characters in the Doctor Who universe with the same appearance; his predecessor Russell T Davies had once explained to him a theory for the first two, and upon Capaldi's casting assured Moffat that the explanation would still work.[14] Capaldi's casting marks the second time an actor has previously appeared in the series and then been cast as an incarnation of the Doctor, the first being Colin Baker.

Capaldi briefly appears in the 50th anniversary special. Moffat stated that it was his "plan from the start" that all the Doctors would fly in to save Gallifrey, and he knew there would be a new one at that time. He wrote it before knowing who would be cast.[15] Capaldi filmed his appearance on 3 October 2013, long after principal photography for the special had ended, and the same day he filmed his debut scene for "The Time of the Doctor".[16]

Speaking on his decision to keep his native Scottish accent, Capaldi said he did it so he could feel closer to the character.[17]



The Twelfth Doctor's clothes consist of a signature dark blue Crombie coat with red lining, harking back to Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor, dark blue trousers, a white shirt buttoned to the top with no tie, a navy cardigan or waistcoat as well as black boots. The look was created by Doctor Who costume designer Howard Burden.[18] His costume was described as "No frills, no scarfs, no messing, just 100% rebel Time Lord.[19] Capaldi said that the costume took a long time to find. The reason he settled on his final costume was because, “I think it’s quite a hard look. I always wanted him to be in black — I always just saw the Doctor in dark colours. Not tweed," in reference to his immediate predecessor's original costume. "Matt’s a really young cool guy — he can wear anything, but I wanted to strip it back and be very stark.”[20] He also described it as "back to basics."[18] Moffat described the look as "A stick-insect sort of thing". He also said that Clara calls him "a grey-haired stick-insect at one point".[21] Capaldi also stated that he chose the Twelfth Doctor's costume so fans of the show could easily copy it for cosplay.[22]


Capaldi has said that his Doctor is "more alien than he's been in a while." He has stated that unlike his previous two incarnations who cared about humans and tried to understand them, this incarnation "doesn’t quite understand human beings or really care very much about their approval.” Jenna Coleman said of this Doctor, "He’s more removed, you can't quite access him in the same way", referring to the way you could with the more friendly accessible previous incarnation.[23] Capaldi also said that the Doctor will not flirt with his companion the way his previous incarnation did. This was something Peter Capaldi specifically requested.[20] He has also been described as a "total adrenaline junkie". Steven Moffat has said of this Doctor, "He's a much fiercer, madder, less reliable Doctor".[24] "He’s not as immediately approachable and he’s not necessarily looking for your approval, when he says ‘Wait here, I’ll be back’, you’re not absolutely convinced... what he’s not doing is reassuring you very much.”[25] Mark Gatiss said that Capaldi's Doctor was "sort of Tom Baker, Jon Pertwee and even Christopher Eccleston’s someone who’s not immediately going to be your best friend and can be quite abrupt and rude.”[26] Moffat added to this analysis of the character by saying, “He has a tremendous ability with throwaway humor and a lot of it is around the fact that sometimes he is terribly rude. I think kids will think he is the rude Doctor [...] You might want to cuddle him but he really will resist.”[27] It has been said that part of the Doctor's personality will share “a certain acid wit” of Malcolm Tucker, the role Peter Capaldi is most famous for, "specifically the attitude, the wisecracks and the energy...he can be edgy, volatile and dangerous".[28][29][30] Capaldi has stated that all of the previous actors who had played the doctor were channeled in his portrayal[31] and that his particular influences were; Hartnell, Pertwee and Davison.[29] He has been described as an "older, fiercer, trickier Doctor".[32]

In spite of his darker personality, Capaldi has said that the Doctor is still, "funny, joyful, passionate, emphatic, and fearless". While Jenna Coleman added that this time, the Doctor is more "enigmatic, mysterious, complex, worn, and unmannered," when compared to his immediate two predecessors. Steven Moffat joked that he's, "more Scottish than last time".[33]


The Twelfth Doctor makes a first (and uncredited) appearance in the programme's fiftieth anniversary special, "The Day of the Doctor", when thirteen incarnations of the Doctor unite to save his home planet of Gallifrey from destruction during the Time War. At first, Time Lords in Gallifrey's war room spot twelve blue TARDISes approaching and encircling the planet. This count is then corrected to thirteen, and Capaldi's hands, eyes, and forehead are fleetingly shown.[34] The Twelfth Doctor then makes his full debut at the end of the next episode, "The Time of the Doctor", after the Eleventh Doctor, about to die from old age, is remotely given a new regeneration cycle from the Time Lords, who remain hidden in a pocket universe. He is set to return in "Deep Breath", the first episode of the eighth series.[35]


  1. ^ "Oscar winner Peter Capaldi unveiled as 12th Doctor". The Irish Times. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b The Doctor Who Team. "Peter Capaldi exclusively revealed to the nation as the Twelfth Doctor". BBC. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Peter Capaldi revealed as Doctor Who's new lead". BBC. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  4. ^ Lazarus, Susanna (12 March 2013). "Doctor Who: Jenna-Louise Coleman confirms her return for series eight". Radio Times. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Doctor Who (1 June 2013). "BBC – Blogs – Doctor Who – Matt Smith announces he is to leave Doctor Who – UPDATED". BBC. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Sources that refer to the extensive media speculation about the identity of the Twelfth Doctor include:
  7. ^ Gough, Deborah (3 August 2013). "New Doctor Who may be Peter Capaldi from The Thick of It". The Age. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  8. ^ "Doctor Who: Fans await announcement". BBC. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  9. ^ Glanfield, Tim (5 August 2013). "Doctor Who: Almost 7m watch Peter Capaldi revealed as 12th Doctor". Radio Times. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  10. ^ "Ben Daniels Was Considered for 12th Doctor". 17 October 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  11. ^ Masters, Tim (5 August 2013). "Doctor Who: Is Peter Capaldi a good choice?". BBC. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  12. ^ "Doctor Who: 'We needed an older Doctor' says Steven Moffat 'because Matt Smith was perfect'". Radio Times. 5 August 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  13. ^ "John Frobisher". BBC. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  14. ^ Jones, Paul (30 September 2013). "Doctor Who: Steven Moffat has an explanation for Peter Capaldi’s earlier appearances". Radio Times. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  15. ^ Jeffrey, Morgan (25 November 2013). "'Doctor Who' Moffat on Capaldi cameo: "It was the plan from the start"". Digital Spy. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  16. ^ Cook, Benjamin (January 2014). "The Clock Strikes Twelve". Doctor Who Magazine (Panini Magazines) (469): 19. 
  17. ^ Mark Jefferies (8 August 2014). "Doctor Who series 8: Peter Capaldi reveals why he made Time Lord Scottish". The Mirror. Retrieved 9 August 2014. 
  18. ^ a b "BBC unveils costume for 12th Doctor Who Peter Capaldi | Mail Online". Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  19. ^ The Doctor Who Team. "Blogs – Doctor Who – Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who Costume Revealed in First Look Picture". BBC. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  20. ^ a b "Capaldi was Adamant About No Flirting in Series 8". Doctor Who TV. 27 July 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  21. ^ Antonia Molloy (1 August 2014). "Doctor Who series 8: Peter Capaldi wanted a 'stick insect' look – News – TV & Radio". The Independent. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Capaldi’s Doctor More Alien, Less “human-friendly”". Doctor Who TV. 2014-07-29. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  24. ^ @CultBoxTV. "'Doctor Who' news summary: Everything we know so far about Peter Capaldi's Doctor". CultBox. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  25. ^ "Moffat: Series 8 Not A Fairytale, There Are Consequences". Doctor Who TV. 21 July 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  26. ^ "Doctor Who series 8: Mark Gatiss on Peter Capaldi's Doctor". Den of Geek. 1 August 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  27. ^ "‘Doctor Who’: Steven Moffat Teases ‘Doctor Rude’; New Season 8 Images". Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  28. ^ Methven, Nicola. "The spin Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi on why he's bringing Malcolm Tucker to the Tardis - Mirror Online". Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  29. ^ a b Smith, Mikey. "Doctor Who Day: Malcolm Tucker would be "incredibly envious" of Peter Capaldi becoming the Time Lord - Mirror Online". Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  30. ^ "Empire Gets Our First Look At Peter Capaldi in Doctor Who | Movie News | Empire". Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  31. ^ Methven, Nicola. "The spin Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi on why he's bringing Malcolm Tucker to the Tardis - Mirror Online". Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  32. ^
  33. ^ Trenholm, Rich. "'Doctor Who' takes a 'Deep Breath' in season 8 premiere". CNET. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  34. ^ Steven Moffat, Nick Hurran, Marcus Wilson (23 November 2013). "The Day of the Doctor". Doctor Who. BBC.
  35. ^ "Series 8 Airdate Confirmed, New Trailer & Image". Doctor Who TV. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 10 July 2014.