In a surprise announcement, Peter Capaldi, the reigning title character of the BBC’s Doctor Who, will call it quits later this year. Less than a year ago, it was reported that Capaldi was being asked to stay onboard for the upcoming 11th season of the series, but he made no promises one way or the other at the time. He’s played the role of the 12th incarnation of the Doctor since joining the show in 2013, though that wasn’t his first time starring in the series. In 2008, he played the role of the ancient Pompeiian, Lobus Caecilius (a role retconned as the face of the 12th Doctor once Capaldi joined in earnest). He also played John Frobisher on the spin-off series, Torchwood. However, he’ll now be leaving the role behind once the 2017 Christmas Special airs.
THR reports that Capaldi shocked listeners while making the announcement on BBC radio on Monday. His exit will coincide with the departure of current showrunner Steven Moffat, who will also take his bow after the Christmas Special has run its course. Fans can probably expect a hand-off between Doctors in that holiday special. Start putting your Doctor Who actor wish-lists together now!
Here’s what Capaldi had to say about his experience on the show and his eventual departure:
“One of the greatest privileges of being Doctor Who is to see the world at its best. From our brilliant crew and creative team working for the best broadcaster on the planet, to the viewers and fans whose endless creativity, generosity and inclusiveness points to a brighter future ahead. I can’t thank everyone enough. It’s been cosmic.”
Showrunner Moffat will also be leaving the mythology of Doctor Who behind when he exits the show after its Christmas Special:
“For years before I ever imagined being involved in Doctor Who, or had ever met the man, I wanted to work with Peter Capaldi. I could not have imagined that one day we’d be standing on the Tardis together. Like Peter, I’m facing up to leaving the best job I’ll ever have, but knowing I do so in the company of the best, and kindest and cleverest of men, makes the saddest of endings a little sweeter.”
With the loss of both the lead role and the showrunner, Doctor Who will have a golden opportunity to take things in an interesting direction. Speculation on who will fill the Doctor’s shoes will likely run rampant for months, but the showrunner role has already gone to Chris Chibnall (Broadchurch). Here’s what the Doctor Who writer had to say about the news:
“Doctor Who is the ultimate BBC programme: bold, unique, vastly entertaining, and adored all around the world. So it’s a privilege and a joy to be the next curator of this funny, scary and emotional family drama. I’ve loved Doctor Who since I was four years old, and I’m relishing the thought of working with the exceptional team at BBC Wales to create new characters, creatures and worlds for the Doctor to explore. Steven’s achieved the impossible by continually expanding Doctor Who’s creative ambition, while growing its global popularity. He’s been a dazzling and daring showrunner, and hearing his plans and stories for 2017, it’s clear he’ll be going out with a bang. Just to make my life difficult.”
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