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


Just ‘Who’ is Peter Capaldi anyway?

A guide to help catch up on the Scottish actor’s filmography before he debuts as the new Doctor later this year.


In Europe, many folks thought that Peter Capaldi had a fairly good shot of being the next star of the British sci-fi show Doctor Who.

When the news was announced in a BBC America special on Sunday afternoon, the response for many in the USA probably was , “Who?”

Capaldi, the Scottish-born actor who will become the 12th Doctor later this year, has had a busy career in his native U.K., both on TV and in movies — plus in some films that you don’t have to be an Anglophile to know.

Before Matt Smith “regenerates” into the 55-year-old Scotsman in the Doctor Who Christmas Special, here’s a guide to catch up on all things Capaldi:

The Thick of It. Let’s hope there is a “No swearing” sign somewhere in the TARDIS — Capaldi shows a true talent for hurling four-letter curses in the political comedy, which can now be streamed on Hulu. He won the British Comedy Award for best TV actor twice (in 2010 and 2012) as his acerbic and volatile government PR man Malcolm Tucker. (His R-rated encapsulation of Star Warsis a thing of brilliant, NSFW beauty.)

In the Loop. Capaldi reprised his role as Tucker in a Thick of It spinoff movie in 2009 that parodied the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq by taking a tongue-in-cheek look at all the behind-the-scenes machinations. Also noteworthy for those who stream it on Netflix: the late James Gandolfini as a military assistant to the U.S. Secretary of defense.

Prime Suspect. The third season of the British cop drama in 1993 — which starred Helen Mirren as Scotland Yard detective Jane Tennison — revolved around a child pornography and prostitution ring, and Capaldi had a dramatic supporting role as a transsexual. (Episodes can be streamed on Amazon Prime, or just wait for the Prime Suspect: The Complete Collection to arrive on Blu-ray Aug. 27.)

Dangerous Liasions. Come for John Malkovich’s over-the-top and scheming Sebastien de Valmont in Stephen Frears’ 1988 period drama, stay for Capaldi as Valmont’s loyal-to-a-fault valet Azolan.

The Lair of the White Worm. Hugh Grant, Catherine Oxenberg and Capaldi vs. a giant dragon/snake/worm hybrid in 1988. ‘Nuff said, really.

The Hour. Before The Newsroom, there was The Hour, a British series about an English current-affairs program during the Cold War. Capaldi played Randall Brown, the eccentric 1950s-era head of news that garnered him a BAFTA nomination for supporting actor.

Doctor Who. Yep, Capaldi’s turn as the Doctor won’t be his first time on the series. In the 2008 episode “The Fires of Pompeii” opposite the 10th Doctor, David Tennant, Capaldi starred as a Pompeii merchant who has bought the Doctor’s time-traveling TARDIS and is found by the Time Lord one day before Mount Vesuvius erupts.

Torchwood: Children of Earth. Set in the same sci-fi universe as Doctor Who, the third Torchwood series in 2009 featured Capaldi as John Frobisher, a government type who was — unfortunately for him, as the whole thing turned out — picked to be a liaison between the prime minister and a race of malevolent aliens known as the 456.

World War Z. If you can’t find it at your local multiplex, check out the Brad Pitt zombie movie when it comes out on Blu-ray Sept. 17 to see Capaldi as a World Health Organization doctor who helps Pitt’s Gerry Lane find a cure before the whole world is zombified.

Strictly Sinatra. Capaldi has had success behind the camera, too — he won a best live-action short Oscar in 1995 for Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life, which can be streamed at Amazon. Head on over to Netflix, though, to check out Strictly Sinatra, Capaldi’s 2001 film about a singer who gets in trouble with the Mob when a gangster’s wife falls for him. The actor also is slated to direct the comedy Born to Be King, scheduled for release next year and starring Ewan McGregor and Kate Hudson.

Peter Capaldi: The next Time Lord

Peter Capaldi


Peter Capaldi has been named as the 12th actor to take on the lead role in BBC series Doctor Who.

At 55 – the same age as William Hartnell when he was cast as the first Time Lord in 1963 – he has an impressive list of credits to his name on both film and TV.

The Glasgow-born star is the first Oscar winner to play the part after winning the Academy Award for best live action short film in 1994 for Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life.

He became a household name thanks to his performance as foul-mouthed spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker in BBC series The Thick of It.

That role saw him win a Bafta TV award for best male performance in a comedy role in 2010, and he was nominated for the same award in 2006, 2008 and 2013.

His performance as Tucker in 2009 spin-off film In The Loop also saw him nominated for acting honours at the British Independent Film Awards, as well as London, Los Angeles and New York film critics’ awards.

Peter Capaldi in The Thick Of ItCapaldi won a Bafta for his role as spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker in The Thick Of It

Capaldi attended the Glasgow School of Art and it was while studying there that he landed his breakout role in the 1983 drama Local Hero directed by Bill Forsyth and starring Burt Lancaster.

Early roles in TV series Minder and Hollywood film Dangerous Liaisons led to a string of parts on shows such as Prime Suspect, the Crow Road and Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere.

More recently he appeared in Skins, The Devil’s Whore, Torchwood: Children of Earth and BBC mini-series The Nativity.

Capaldi has also written several TV shows, including a documentary about 500 years of Scottish portrait painting broadcast on BBC Four and Cricklewood Greats – a spoof about the heyday of the British film industry.

He also wrote 1993 film Soft Top Hard Shoulder – which was nominated for a Scottish film Bafta – as well as writing and directing the 2001 gangster film, Strictly Sinatra.

Capaldi’s stage credits include Professor Marcus in The Ladykillers at the Liverpool Playhouse, which later transferred to the Gielgud Theatre in the West End.

A lifelong fan of Doctor Who, landing the role of the Time Lord is a dream come true for Capaldi.

He even wrote a letter to the Radio Times when he was a teenager in 1973, praising the magazine for its Doctor Who special celebrating the show’s 10th anniversary.

Peter Capaldi's letter to the Radio TimesPeter Capaldi’s letter to the Radio Times in 1973 praising its Doctor Who coverage

The Doctor Who casting comes after a busy year for the actor, who was seen on the big screen in zombie film World War Z and in BBC Two drama series The Hour, for which he was also Bafta nominated.

He is currently filming new BBC One drama series The Musketeers, in which he plays Cardinal Richelieu and which will air next year.

He will also appear in the forthcoming Julian Assange film The Fifth Estate as Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and Disney’s Maleficent – a take on the Sleeping Beauty tale, starring Angelina Jolie.

Peter Capldi as The Doctor



I’m not sure how I feel about this casting. On one hand it’s nice to see an established actor have the roll. It might bring a darker, more mature Doctor than before. On the other hand, I think he might be a touch too old. But, like I did with Matt Smith, I’m going to give him a chance to grow into the role and see what happens.

I don’t think it’s fair for any of us to pan his ability to be The Doctor without seeing how he does first. He may surprise us with a very complex, and intriguing portrayal as Smith did.

It will be interesting to see how things turn out, but I’ll tell you one thing: I’m betting the regeneration is during the 50th anniversary special. Why? Because there’s something River said the Clara and The Doctor. To enter your own time stream is fatal, that the winds of the vortex would tear you apart. Ok, so where’s the Doctor? Inside his own time stream. How will he get out if it’s fatal? Sounds like a regeneration to me.

Always pay attention to the words spoken during a Moffatt episode. He writes from the back to the front, so a lot of them foreshadow the climatic episode.