Peter Capaldi is going from spin doctor to Doctor Who. The BBC yesterday announced that the Scottish actor, best known as venom-spitting political fixer Malcolm Tucker in the sitcom The Thick of It and its film spin-off, In the Loop, is the new star of Doctor Who, the famed science fiction series soon to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
The identity of the new Doctor had been the subject of frantic speculation, and the revelation was made with fanfare befitting one of Britain's best-known programmes - during a live television broadcast.
Capaldi is the 12th actor to play the Doctor, a galaxy-hopping Time Lord who travels in the Tardis, a time machine shaped like an old-fashioned British police telephone booth. At age 55, he's also the oldest since the first Doctor, William Hartnell.
Capaldi, a fan of the show since childhood, said that being asked to play the Doctor was an amazing privilege.
Capaldi has a long list of movie, television and stage credits, and is currently playing Cardinal Richelieu in the BBC drama The Musketeers. He's also an Oscar winner - he directed Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life, which won the Academy Award for best short film in 1995.
Doctor Who is one of the BBC's most popular programmes. It ran from 1963 to 1989, and was revived to acclaim in 2005. Since then, the Doctor has been played by Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith, who took the part in 2010.
Smith will leave after a November episode to mark the show's 50th anniversary and a Christmas special that will see him regenerate into Capaldi. Capaldi's first full episode will air next year.