Peter Capaldi Almost Stayed On ‘Doctor Who’

By February 17, 2017

Fans might be campaigning for various actors like Tilda Swinton or Ben Whishaw to take on the title role in Doctor Who. But incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall actually did a bit of his own campaigning earlier this year – to try and keep Peter Capaldi in the Tardis.

Obviously, Chibnall was unsuccessful, as Capaldi announced his departure last month. Still, it didn’t happen without at least some significant pushback from the man who will be in charge of the Time Lord and his universe.

Steven Moffat, who will leave Doctor Who as its showrunner following the upcoming season, told Broadcast Chibnall really thought he could convince Capaldi to break the unwritten rule about how long actors should stay on the series.

“It took Peter a long time to make up his mind. Chris tried to persuade him to stay. I knew it was a possibility that he’s leave because Doctors tend to do three years. I thought that he might want to opt out, rather than go through the trauma of a change in command and maybe leaving a year later anyway.

“But I think he came close to staying.”

Capaldi took over the role officially in 2014, although he popped up for some brief moments during the 50th anniversary celebration of the franchise and its aftermath the year before. He replaced Matt Smith, who was the first actor to take on the role during the Moffat era.

Capaldi is a lifelong Doctor Who fan, appearing in a 2008 episode when David Tennant was carrying the sonic screwdriver, and then playing a meaty and dark role in the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood in 2009.

Moffat also admitted he realized it was his time to go during his third season on the show when Smith was planning his departure. He felt that he wasn’t enjoying the work as much, and that the series was “slipping away” from him.

“I didn’t want to leave like that, so I tried to persuade Matt to do another year. But he was determined to go. And then having cast a new Doctor, I had to stay – and I wanted to, because I was thoroughly enjoying working with Peter.”

Capaldi will begin his farewell tour in late April on BBC America. Chibnall is expected to name the actor’s replacement in the title role by late summer or early fall.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael began what has become nearly 19 years of entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based out of New York City where he is the editor of a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in the Bronx.