After weeks of speculation following the leaked news that Matt Smith would be stepping down as the Doctor, the BBC are preparing to name the new lead actor for Doctor Who, the twelfth to take the role in the 50-year-old series. The reveal will come live on BBC1 this Sunday night at 7pm in a special programme to be hosted by Zoe Ball. Originally disguised as the recording of a pilot show for a new series celebrating long-running shows, the BBC put out a call for Doctor Who fans to attend in costume.
In front of a studio audience, many of them Doctor Who fans who applied for tickets believing the show was a cover for an announcement, Ball will interview the actor cast in the role that the BBC have been code-naming “Houdini”. In the past day, The Thick of It actor Peter Capaldi (a long-standing Doctor Who fan himself) has suddenly become the bookmakers favourite due to a significant increase in betting on him. The 55-year-old Scottish actor would be the oldest of the modern Doctors, more in line with the age of First Doctor William Hartnell when he started in 1963.
Irish comic actor Chris O’Dowd, of The IT Crowd, has also been linked to the role, as have Daniel Rigby and Sherlock actor Andrew Scott (who has previously worked with Moffat as Moriarty).
Steven Moffat said: “The time has come to reveal who’s taking over the TARDIS. For the last of the Time Lords, the clock is striking twelve.” Moffat has recently said (at San Diego Comic Con) that the team were not ruling out older actors. Rumoured to have tested for the role alongside Capaldi are Michael Smiley and Game of Thrones‘ actor Richard Dormer. It is also possible the role has gone to someone not yet named in the media, although just about every eligible actor has been suggested in recent weeks.
Moffat and current Doctor Matt Smith will be interviewed on the live show, alongside former companions, celebrity guests and famous fans. Charlotte Moore, the new controller of BBC1 said: “BBC One is the home of live events and this special live show is the perfect way to introduce the identity of the next Doctor and share it with the nation. The Doctor is a truly iconic role and I’m more than excited about the booking.”
Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor airs at 7pm on BBC1 on Sunday 4 August and will be simulcast live on BBC America.