On Sunday night, when Scottish-born actor
Moviegoing audiences may have most recently caught Capaldi, 55, portraying a medical professional with a different relationship to the Hippocratic oath -- an actual doctor for the WHO -- a World Health Organization medic in the
But Capaldi -- who won a 1995 Academy Award for live action short for “Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life,” which he directed -– casts a long shadow in British film. He burst on the scene with a breakthrough performance in the 1983 comedy-drama “Local Hero.” Appearing alongside “Animal House” alum
Showing a range that has crossed all genre boundaries, the actor can also be seen in 1988’s “The Lair of the White Worm,” joining forces with Hugh Grant to battle -– you guessed it -- a giant blood-sucking worm and its attendant platoon of evil vampire queens; in the comedy “Bean”; the drama “Smilla’s Sense of Snow”; the period sex romp “Dangerous Liaisons”; and alongside
But if Capaldi seems familiar to denizens of "Who"-ville, it's because the actor -– a self-described life-long "Doctor Who" fan -- has already popped up in relation to the series twice. In "Doctor Who" Season 4, he portrays historical Roman citizen Caecilius, and he guest starred in five episodes of the "Doctor Who" spin-off series "Torchwood" in 2009.
The "Doctor Who" selection process has been shrouded in secrecy for months, known internally within the BBC as "project Houdini," with only 10 people reportedly allowed inside the circle of trust regarding the actor's hiring.
"It is so wonderful not to keep this secret anymore," Capaldi said Sunday on British television. "For a while, I couldn't even tell my daughter. Being asked to play the Doctor is an amazing privilege. Like the Doctor himself, I find myself in a state of utter terror and delight. I can't wait to get started."