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.

10 Things You Might Not Know About Angus Young

It’s been nearly four decades since Malcolm Young invited his kid brother, Angus, to join a new band he was putting together. Who could have imagined, at that time, that all these years later AC/DC would still be churning out some of the world’s greatest riff-rock?

Through the years, legions of guitar players and fans have delved deeply into Angus’ background, perhaps looking for the secrets behind his artful riff-making. Still, we managed to uncover some biographical facts that might have escaped all but the most diehard followers.

He still owns the very first Gibson SG he bought – 42 years ago.

Young purchased a late ’60s Gibson SG from a music shop located within walking distance of his family’s home in Sydney, Australia, when he was just 16 years old. To this day, it remains one of his main go-to guitars. “I think it was the little devil horns [that sold me],” he told the New Zealand Herald, in 2010. “I’ve still got it and it’s still my favorite guitar of them all.”

His main pre-AC/DC job prepared him well for the band’s bawdy lyrical content.

Young left school before his 15th birthday. Not long afterwards, he took a job working as a typesetter at a “men’s” magazine that sported the title, Ribald. Malcolm, incidentally, had by then put in a couple of years doing sewing machine maintenance for a company that manufactured bras.

His older sister, Margaret, suggested something even more important than Angus’ trademark schoolboy uniform.

Most AC/DC fans know that it was the Young brothers’ sister, Margaret, who encouraged Angus to wear his schoolboy get-up on-stage. But fewer fans realize that it was also Margaret who christened her siblings’ band “AC/DC” after noticing the letters on a vacuum cleaner. According to biographer Susan Masino, Angus and Malcolm liked the fact that the letters denoted power and electricity.

He’s a closet fan of jazz great Louis Armstrong.

In a 1992 interview with Guitar magazine, Young hailed Louis Armstrong as “one of the greatest musicians of all time.” He went on to explain: “I went to see [Armstrong] perform when I was a kid, and that’s always stuck with me. It’s amazing to listen to his old records and hear the musicianship and emotion, especially when you consider that technology, in those days, was almost nonexistent. There was an aura about him.”

He regards solos as the easiest part of what he does.

Young once told Guitar Player that, while he couldn’t fill Malcolm’s shoes as a guitarist, Malcolm could likely fill his, at least with regard to solos. “That’s the easy part,” he said. “There’s no great thing in being a soloist. I think the hardest thing is to play together with a lot of people, and do that right. I mean, when four guys hit one note all at once – very few people can do that.”

He was “totally shocked” when Malcolm asked him to join the band.

“In the beginning, we never used to play together, even at home,” Angus told Guitar, in 1992. “Malcolm would be in one room with his tape recorder putting tunes together, and I would be in the other room pretending I was Jimi Hendrix. When I’d walk in to see what he was up to, he’d go, ‘Get out!’ I was amazed when he asked me to come down to a rehearsal and play.”

His riffs helped oust former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega from power.

In 1989, American government officials bombarded Manuel Noriega’s embassy refuge in Panama with “Hells Bells,” “Highway to Hell” and other choice riff-rockers. The tactic worked so well with Noriega, who was known to be an opera lover, that it’s since been employed by U.S. officials in other similar situations.

He’s always been a teetotaler.

Bon Scott was known for his prodigious consumption of alcohol. Through the years, Malcolm Young has imbibed his share of booze as well. Not so with Angus. “Angus was always drinking a big glass of chocolate milk or coffee,” Nantucket guitarist Tommy Redd once recalled, years after touring with AC/DC. “Malcolm, however, used to walk around with Jack Daniels in a bottle that was as big as he was.”

One of his closest friends during the making of the Back in Black album was … ELP’s Keith Emerson.

In the wake of Bon Scott’s death, AC/DC traveled to the Bahamas to recover from the shock, and to record Back in Black. Especially therapeutic were the afternoons when Emerson, Lake and Palmer keyboardist Keith Emerson, who lived in Nassau at the time, took Angus and the other band members out on his fishing boat. “I think it was great excitement for them, and kind of introduced them to my way of the Bahamian life,” Emerson later said. “I think they grew to like it and it [helped them] settle into recording.”

He expects he’ll still be wearing his schoolboy outfit on-stage well into his 60s.

When asked by Guitar if he would still be donning his trademark “get-up” at age 64, Angus described his attire as distinguished and “classic.” “Have you seen what some of the younger [artists] are wearing nowadays?” he asked. “They look like they’ve stolen their mothers’ skirts! If that’s fashionable, then you could say I’ve maintained a distinctively classic look.”