Who Is Peter Capaldi? A Look Back at the ‘Doctor Who’ Star’s Roles

In Torchwood: Children of Earth, the always-brilliant Capaldi played John Frobisher, the British Home Office Secretary who becomes a tragic figure when confronted with an unspeakable choice. Capaldi is best-known for playing the profane and monstrous PR guru Malcolm Tucker on the political comedy The Thick Of It, which has been commissioned for a fourth season. Last winter, he played against type as one of the Magi in the BBC's adaptation of The Nativity (see pic).

In Torchwood: Children of Earth, the always-brilliant Capaldi played John Frobisher, the British Home Office Secretary who becomes a tragic figure when confronted with an unspeakable choice. Capaldi is best-known for playing the profane and monstrous PR guru Malcolm Tucker on the political comedy The Thick Of It, which has been commissioned for a fourth season. Last winter, he played against type as one of the Magi in the BBC’s adaptation of The Nativity (see pic).

Peter Capaldi has been announced as the Twelfth Doctor, succeeding Matt Smith as star of Doctor Who. The 55-year-old star is the same age that William Hartnell was when he first appeared in the TARDIS back in 1963. The actor is best known for his role as Malcolm Tucker, the cantankerous and foul-mouthed spin doctor from The Thick Of It, as well his role on the ’60s BBC newsroom saga The Hour.

And he’s appeared on Doctor Who already, as Caecilius in the Season 4 episode “The Fires of Pompeii”:

And he had an additional appearance in a different role, as the tragic John Frobisher in Torchwood: Children of Earth:

If you want to see the full profundity of Capaldi’s tremendous gifts of emotion, look no further than his role as the hard-edged head of news Randall Brown on the dearly departed The Hour. Here’s one of the scenes that should have made him an Emmy contender this past year:

And then there’s his signature role as the extravagantly NSFW Malcolm Tucker, which he also played in the Thick Of It film, 2009′s In the Loop:

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And for a kick, Capaldi in his first major film role, aged 25 opposite Burt Lancaster, in the 1983 Scottish dramedy Local Hero:

What’s your favorite Peter Capaldi role?

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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