Doctor Who fans in ageism row as they dub Peter Capaldi ‘too old’ to play the Time Lord

  • Peter Capaldi, 55, dubbed ‘unattractive, too old’ and a ‘bad choice’ by fans
  • ‘The Doctor meant to be someone young, both Matt and David were very cute… now they give us an old guy’ said another
  • Show boss Steven Moffatt said: ‘The Doctor just chooses a face off the rack. He doesn’t care whether he’s young or old’
  •  Actor had been the odds-on favourite to play the part
  • Flurry of bets led bookmakers to change his odds from 40-1 to 5-6
  • Suggestion that the choice for the coveted role was leaked by BBC insider despite top secret campaign


Peter Capaldi was favourite to win with punters, but others were not so enthralled by the decision.

His official unveiling as the new Doctor Who during a live programme on BBC1 led many online to dub the seasoned actor ‘too old’ for the role.

The 55-year-old actor is the same age as first Doctor William Hartnell was when he made his debut in the role in 1963.

One Twitter user wrote: ‘One of sons just said of Peter Capaldi: “Is that the new Doctor? He’s old, he’ll die quicker than the 11th Doctor”‘.

Capaldi, the bullying Malcolm Tucker in political satire The Thick Of It, was unveiled on Sunday night as the 12th actor to play the lead role in Doctor Who.
Debate: Fans of Doctor Who have sparked an ageism row as some have branded the twelfth Doctor Who Peter Capaldi, too old, at age 55


No surprises: Veteran actor Capaldi, who is best known as politico Malcom Tucker from satire The Thick Of It, was the favourite to be unveiled as the new Doctor


And the new Doctor is... Peter walked out to rapturous applause by the studio audience


Some users on the social networking site described his announcement as ‘exciting’ and ‘perfect’, but others were more critical – one wrote: ‘Peter Capaldi is not attractive because he’s old’, while another posted: ‘I’m not watching Doctor Who any more. Peter Capaldi is too old.’

It's ME! Peter Capaldi arrives home after it was announced he's to become the 12th Doctor WhIt’s ME! Peter Capaldi arrives home after it was announced he’s to become the 12th Doctor Who

The unveiling caused a flurry of comments on MailOnline, with many expressing their views on the new Doctor’s age.

Cdst20, from Cardiff wrote: ‘Needed to be someone younger and more attractive to keep Dr Who relevant as did reader Leeb, of Nottingham: ‘I think younger would have been better, to be honest I think this is a bad choice.

Katty of Bournemouth said: ‘I want to say i am going to stop watching Doctor Who, however, i love it  too much. So i am going to give it a go but i don’t want the doctor to be a old guy.’


‘Too old. Same age as the first Dr in 1908. All the others were more than 10yrs younger, shirley1919.

‘Very very disappointed! The Doctor meant to be someone young, both matt and David were very cute and funny doctors, and now they give us an old guy, no offence to the new guy he may be an amazing actor but he just doesn’t fit the part,’ Fara23.


But show boss Steven Moffatt defended his choice saying: ‘The Doctor just chooses a face off the rack. He doesn’t care whether he’s young or old.’

And despite the many comments dismissing him as too old, Capaldi did get some support from fans and celebrities alike.

’55 looks a lot younger and healthier now than it did in William Hartnell’s time. And yes, I do go back to the original William Hartnell series,’ write Day Javue on MailOnline’s comments section.

Quince 57 called Capaldi a ‘Great choice,he is very attractive and so much more watchable than the last Doctor.’

And Emma from Lincoln: ‘I love him! So glad they’ve cast an older gentleman, although the fangirls are probably throwing fits about not having a young pretty boy to squee over.’

Former Doctor Who assistants Karen Gillan called Capaldi, a ‘superb choice. Swear I’ve seen him in Pompeii’, and Freema Agyeman tweeted: ‘Peter Capaldi! The show is in safe hands. Great choice #newdirection.’
Big secret: The BBC are said to have gone to great lengths to keep the identity of the new Time Lord a secret in an operation they nicknamed 'Houdini'


The Scottish star had been the odds-on favourite to become the next inhabitant of the Tardis, and it appears the result may have been known three days ago, when a flurry of bets led to bookmakers suspending betting on him and lowering his odds from 40-1 to 5-6.

They now stand to lose around £100,000.


Joe Crilly, a spokesman for William Hill, said: ‘We have seen people trying to back Peter Capaldi as much as possible at every price available.’

That raised questions last night about whether someone at the BBC had leaked the name – despite the corporation going to great lengths to keep the identity of the new Time Lord a secret in an operation it had codenamed Houdini.

Some 400 Doctor Who fans, some dressed as their favourite characters, were in the audience last night to see the announcement.

Capaldi, who appeared in a 2008 episode of the series alongside tenth Doctor David Tennant, told presenter Zoe Ball of his excitement at taking on the role.

‘It’s so wonderful not to keep this secret any longer,’ he said.

‘For a while I couldn’t tell my daughter who kept on looking on the internet and kept seeing people saying so and so should be the Doctor and she got rather upset.

‘But it has been absolutely fantastic in its own way, so many wonderful things have been happening.’


A lifelong fan of the show, Peter Capaldi even wrote a letter to the Radio Times about the Daleks when he was a teenager.

In the letter, the then 15-year-old who attended the Glasgow School of Art, wrote: ‘Your Special has certainly made the year for Dr Who fans.

‘A rather sad year due to the untimely death of the Master, alias Roger Delgado.

‘But I hope that in 15 years’ time, in 1988, you will publish another Special to celebrate 25 years of wandering in time with the Doctor.’

Lifelong fan: A 15-year-old Peter wrote to the Radio Times about Doctor WhoLifelong fan: A 15-year-old Peter wrote to the Radio Times about Doctor Who


‘It was quite hard because even though I’m a lifelong Doctor Who fan, I haven’t played Doctor Who since I was nine in the playground. I downloaded old scripts from the internet and read those.’

Capaldi will appear briefly in a Christmas special as the current Doctor, played by Matt Smith, leaves, and his first series will be broadcast late next year. Speaking in a pre-recorded video, Smith said: ‘I know what’s coming and he’s gonna have a blast.’

The live unveiling came after weeks of speculation about who would be the next Doctor.

Suggestions included Harry Potter star Rupert Grint, James Bond actors Ben Whishaw and Rory Kinnear, and Homeland actor Damian Lewis.

Peter Capaldi biography

Family man: Peter, his wife Elaine and their daughter Cecily in 2004Family man: Peter, his wife Elaine and their daughter Cecily in 2004

Capaldi was born in Glasgow in April 1958 to an Irish mother and Italian father.

He enrolled at the Glasgow School of Art, but was also a member of the Antonine Players during high school.

During his studies at the School of Art, he fronted a punk band called Dreamboys, whose drummer Craig Ferguson, is now an actor and chat show host.

He made his big screen debut in 1983 film Local Hero and appeared in an episode of Minder two years later.

Over the past three decades, roles followed in Dangerous Liaisons, Peep Show, Waking The Dead, The Crow Road and The Devil’s Whore.

However, it was his role as Government spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in BBC comedy series The Thick of It which earned him the most acclaim.

The Scottish star won the BAFTA Television Award for Best Male Performance in a Comedy Role for The Thick Of It in 2010.

Acclaim: Peter with his BAFTA TV Award in 2010Acclaim: Peter with his BAFTA TV Award in 2010

The same year, he won the first for two Best TV Comedy Actor accolades at the British Comedy Awards for the show, followed by a second in 2012.

As well as TV and film, Peter has also starred on stage, starring in The Ladykillers in the West End last year.

However, Peter is equally talented behind the camera and in 1995 won an Oscar for Best Short Film (Live Action) for Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life.

He has also written Soft Top, Hard Shoulder, which won the audience award at the London Film Festival in 1993.

Recently, Peter starred alongside Brad Pitt in World War Z and BBC2 series The Hour, for which he received a BAFTA nomination.

He has already filmed roles in the forthcoming films The Fifth Estate and Maleficent and is currently shooting BBC drama series The Musketeers.

Peter lives in North London with his wife Elaine Collins and th


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