It's over. The tabloid columns of speculation. The fantasy casting blogs. All the offhand proposals on social media. It's all finally over. (Well, until next time.) Yes, the BBC have officially announced who's playing the twelfth incarnation of The Doctor in series 8 of Doctor Who, scheduled to make their début in this year's Christmas Special, as a the perfect way to end the 50th anniversary year. And that lucky person is: Peter Capaldi.
Of course, Capaldi had become the favourite over the past few days; especially after bookmaker's stopped takings bets on him succeeding as the Time Lord. But, I must admit, I didn't see it coming. I even tweeted a few times rubbishing the rumours; mostly because Capaldi's filming on the BBC's new Three Musketeers series and I didn't think doing both would be possible. It would be like Anthony Head from Merlin also playing The Doctor, or something. But hey, it's happening.
And he's a great choice, I think. We've had a run of young Doctors with David Tennant and Matt Smith, so it will be nice to see someone older playing the role again. The Doctor is always broadly the same character, but every actor brings their own flourishes and quirks. I like to think Capaldi's age (he's 55) will help bring more gravitas, with less of the silliness that both Tennant and (especially) Smith brought to the role. He will naturally cut more of a fatherly figure in the TARDIS.
Capaldi's also a more established actor, which does mean he brings more baggage than Tennant and Smith did. I'm sure some viewers will have trouble erasing memories of The Thick of It's irascible Malcolm Tucker from their minds when he first appears on-screen; half-expecting a barrage of insults to echo around the TARDIS whenever Clara annoys him. But I'm sure that will quickly fade away, and The Doctor will emerge and dominate your perception. Although having a fast-talking Doctor with a temper could be great fun.
It's also nice to see someone who's a lifelong fan of the show get the job, just like David Tennant. In tonight's announcement show (simulcast around the world!), they showed a clipping from the Radio Times where a letter from a 15-year-old Capaldi had been published (an image that had floated around the internet earlier in the week, from Capaldi backers). I love the idea of a teenage Whovian growing up to actually play The Doctor, and I'm sure Capaldi will bring a lot of fan enthusiasm to the part. It's the dream role for him.
So what are your thoughts? A good choice? Too old? Too established? Too Scottish? Too male? Let me know!