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Peter Capaldi steps into the Tardis as the new Doctor

By A Different Matt Smith, CNN
updated 1:54 PM EDT, Mon August 5, 2013
The BBC draws back the curtains to reveal who will be the next British actor to play the famed Doctor. He is Peter Capaldi, seen here attending the British Comedy Awards at the O2 Arena on January 22, 2011. The BBC draws back the curtains to reveal who will be the next British actor to play the famed Doctor. He is Peter Capaldi, seen here attending the British Comedy Awards at the O2 Arena on January 22, 2011.
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Travel through time with Doctor Who
Travel through time with Doctor Who
Travel through time with Doctor Who
Travel through time with Doctor Who
Travel through time with Doctor Who
Travel through time with Doctor Who
Travel through time with Doctor Who
Travel through time with Doctor Who
Travel through time with Doctor Who
Travel through time with Doctor Who
Travel through time with Doctor Who
Travel through time with Doctor Who
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Peter Capaldi named the 12th Doctor on "Doctor Who"
  • He'll replace current star Matt Smith after Christmas
  • He's appeared in previous episodes of the show and a spinoff

(CNN) -- Veteran British actor Peter Capaldi is stepping into the blue police box as the 12th Doctor, the eccentric time traveler at the heart of the BBC's "Doctor Who," the network announced Sunday.

Capaldi is the latest in a series of actors to play the universe-saving chrononaut since the series first aired in 1963. He'll replace Matt Smith, who has held the role since 2010, when Smith bows out at Christmas.

In a televised BBC special announcing the pick, Capaldi described himself as a lifelong fan of the 50-year-old show -- "but I haven't really played Dr. Who since I was 9, on the playground."

He said his daughter, also a fan, was reading speculation online about the producers' new pick and "was getting rather upset that they never mentioned me." After auditioning in secret, he said, his agent broke the news in a phone call by answering, "Hello, Doctor."

Fan: Capaldi born to play 'Doctor Who'

It's not Capaldi's first trip in the Tardis, as the Doctor's time machine -- which appears from the outside to be a London police phone booth -- is known. Capaldi has appeared in a 2008 episode of the series and in its spinoff "Torchwood."

But the Glasgow native is better known for his portrayal of the foul-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in the series "The Thick of It" and a 2009 film offshoot, "In the Loop."

He also won an Academy Award in 1995 as the writer and director of the short film "Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life."

'Doctor Who' celebrates 50 years with biopic and new Doctor

2011: Joy for 'Doctor Who' fans as lost episodes materialize

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