Peter Capaldi Announces That He’s Leaving “Doctor Who”

He Will Be The Doctor for One More Season Starting April 15

Jan 30, 2017
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Peter Capaldi took over as Doctor Who's time- and space-traveling alien The Doctor in 2013, but today he's announced that his upcoming third season in the iconic role will be his last. It's not a huge surprise, as the previous Doctor, Matt Smith, also lasted three seasons. Capaldi's last episode will be the 2017 Christmas Special. There's no word on his replacement, but the rumors and speculation will no doubt start right away. Capaldi's final season starts April 15 on BBC America at 9 PM.

Capaldi revealed the news on Jo Whiley's BBC Radio 2 show today, saying: "One of the greatest privileges of being Doctor Who is to see the world at its best. From our brilliant crew and creative team working for the best broadcaster on the planet, to the viewers and fans whose endless creativity, generosity and inclusiveness points to a brighter future ahead. I can't thank everyone enough. It's been cosmic."

Capaldi was a childhood fan of the show and his performance has been critically acclaimed, but he still felt his time was up. "I've never done one job for three years," Capaldi told Whiley. "I feel it's time for me to move on to different challenges. I feel a bit sad but rather wonderful. What a privilege to have done this. You have to be aware of when it's time to move on. They asked me to stay on-my contract had run out-they asked me to stay. I thought, 'I love this but I don't know how long I can do it and give it my best.' I want to move on to other challenges but there's never been something that's more special to me."

Doctor Who first aired in 1963. The writers worked out a clever way to keep going when its original lead actor, William Hartnell, needed to leave the show in 1966-as The Doctor is an alien, instead of dying, when he is mortally wounded he "regenerates" into a new body and personality, allowing them to cast a new actor every few years while retaining the same continuity. Capaldi is the twelfth actor to play the role and the fourth one since the show came back in 2005 after a 19-year break from the screen.

This will also be Steven Moffat's final season as the showrunner and head writer on Doctor Who. His replacement will be Chris Chibnall, who has already written several episodes of Doctor Who and its spinoff series Torchwood and is also known for creating and writing the acclaimed British detective drama Broadchurch (which stars David Tennant, who used to star as the Tenth Doctor in Doctor Who). This season will also be Pearl Mackie's first as the new companion, Bill.

Moffat had this to say about Capaldi's departure: "For years before I ever imagined being involved in Doctor Who, or had ever met the man, I wanted to work with Peter Capaldi. I could not have imagined that one day we'd be standing on the TARDIS together. Like Peter, I'm facing up to leaving the best job I'll ever have, but knowing I do so in the company of the best, and kindest and cleverest of men, makes the saddest of endings a little sweeter. But hey, it's a long way from over. Peters' amazing, fiery, turbulent Doctor is still fighting the good fight, and his greatest adventures are yet to come. Monsters of the universe, be on your guard - Capaldi's not done with you yet!"

Also starting April 15, airing right after Doctor Who at 10 PM, is the new Doctor Who spinoff Class. It takes place at Coal Hill School, a location that dates back to the very first episode of Doctor Who back in 1963 and where recent companion Clara Oswald was a teacher. The project comes from acclaimed Young Adult writer Patrick Ness and is executive produced by Ness, Moffat, and Brian Minchin. Class already aired in the U.K. last fall on BBC Three. Capaldi's Doctor guest stars in the first episode.



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