Peter Capaldi

Peter Dougan Capaldi (/kəˈpældi/;[1] born 14 April 1958) is a Scottish actor and director. He portrayed the twelfth incarnation of the Doctor in the science fiction series Doctor Who and Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It, for which he received four British Academy Television Award nominations, winning Best Male Comedy Performance in 2010.

Peter Capaldi
Capaldi at the 2019 GalaxyCon Richmond
Peter Dougan Capaldi

(1958-04-14) 14 April 1958 (age 66)
Glasgow, Scotland
  • United Kingdom
  • Italy
EducationGlasgow School of Art (BA)
  • Actor
  • director
  • writer
  • musician
  • producer
Years active
  • 1974–present
Known forMalcolm Tucker in The Thick of It
Twelfth Doctor in Doctor Who
(m. 1991)
RelativesLewis Capaldi (cousin)

Capaldi won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film and the BAFTA Award for Best Short Film for his 1993 short film Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life. He went on to write and direct the drama film Strictly Sinatra and directed two series of the sitcom Getting On. Capaldi also played Mr Curry in the family film Paddington and its sequel Paddington 2, as well as The Thinker in The Suicide Squad.

He appeared as Professor Marcus in the stage play The Ladykillers. He won a BAFTA Scotland award for Outstanding Contribution to Film & Television. Capaldi wrote a rock album titled St. Christopher. He is married to actress Elaine Collins and the pair have a child together.

Early life


Capaldi was born on 14 April 1958[2] in Glasgow, Scotland, to Gerald and Nancy (née Soutar) Capaldi. His paternal grandfather was Italian, while the rest of his ancestry is Scottish and Irish.[3] His parents ran an ice cream business in the Springburn district, where they were neighbours and acquaintances of the family of Armando Iannucci, creator of The Thick of It, although the two men did not know each other as children.[4][5] He was educated at St Teresa's Primary School in Possilpark,[6] St Matthew's Primary School in Bishopbriggs,[6] and St Ninian's High School, Kirkintilloch,[7] before attending the Glasgow School of Art.[8] He was a fan of Doctor Who as a child.[9][10]

Capaldi displayed an early talent for performance by putting on a puppet show in primary school. While at high school, he was a member of the Antonine Players, who performed at the Fort Theatre in Bishopbriggs. As an art student, he was the lead singer and guitarist in a punk rock band called The Dreamboys, whose drummer was future comedian Craig Ferguson.[11][12][13] The pair also performed a cabaret act together as Bing & Dean Hitler[14] and wrote an alternative pantomime of Sleeping Beauty.[15][16]



1974–1991: Early roles


Capaldi's first acting role was in a 1974 performance of the play An Inspector Calls.[17] In 1981, he made his first onscreen appearance as Joe Edwards in the Charles Gormley film Living Apart Together.[18]

In 1983, he appeared as John Lennon in John, Paul, George, Ringo ... and Bert at the Young Vic.[19] The same year he appeared as Danny Oldsen in Local Hero.[17]

In 1985, he portrayed Beatles member George Harrison in John and Yoko: A Love Story.[20] Three years later, Capaldi appeared in the Rab C. Nesbitt episode "Seasonal Greet".[21] That same year he appered in the films Dangerous Liaisons and The Lair of the White Worm.[22][23]

In 1991, he appeared in December Bride.[24] He also appered in Agatha Christie's Poirot and Screen Two.[25][26]



In 1992, Capaldi had his first starring role on television was as Luke Wakefield, a strange man who imagines he has witnessed a crime, in the BBC drama series Mr Wakefield's Crusade.[27] That same year auditioned for the role of Benjamin Sisko in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Though he lost the role to Avery Brooks.[28][29] Capaldi wrote and starred in the comedy movie Soft Top Hard Shoulder, which won the audience award at the London Film Festival.[30]

In 1993, Capaldi portrayed Luke Fitzwilliam in a stage adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel, Murder Is Easy at the Duke of York's Theatre.[31] He directed the short film Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life, which starred Richard E. Grant. The film was nominated and won for various awards.[32][33]

In 1994, he played a TV producer named Tristan Campbell in two episodes of the BBC One sitcom, The Vicar of Dibley.[34] The following year he was invited to audition for the role of the Eighth Doctor for the Doctor Who TV Movie, though he declined stating: "I didn't go. I loved the show so much, and I didn't think I would get it, and I didn't want to just be part of a big cull of actors."[10]

In 1996, he starred as Rory in the television adaptation of Ian Banks's The Crow Road.[27] Capaldi appered in Neil Gaiman's BBC Two gothic fantasy serial Neverwhere, he portrayed the angel Islington.[35][36]



In 1998, he appeared as Robbie Ross in the stage play The Judas Kiss at the Almeida Theatre. The play then moved to the West End of London and then to Broadway in New York City.[19]

In 1999, Capaldi appeared in the Channel 4 series Psychos, he played a mathematician with bipolar disorder.[37] He appeared as a doorman in the 1999 Christmas film The Greatest Store in the World.[38] He made an appearance as a university professor in the sitcom Peep Show.[39] Capaldi appeared in an episode of Midsomer Murders.[40]

In 2001, Capaldi wrote and directed the drama film Strictly Sinatra. It starred Ian Hart and Kelly Macdonald.[41]

Between 2002 and 2005, he voiced Chief Petty Officer Grieves in the BBC Radio 7 (now BBC Radio 4 Extra) comedy series Our Brave Boys.[42][43]

2005–2012: Malcolm Tucker, Skins


Prior to taking over the lead role in Doctor Who, Capaldi was best known for playing spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in the Armando Iannucci-written BBC sitcom The Thick of It, which he played from 2005 to 2012. Tucker is said to be largely, if loosely, based upon Tony Blair's right-hand man Alastair Campbell, although Capaldi has said that he based his performance more on Hollywood power players, such as the often abrasive Harvey Weinstein.[44] A film spin-off from The Thick of It titled In the Loop was released in 2009. Capaldi reprised his role for the movie.[45]

Capaldi in 2009

The role of Tucker was met with acclaim and won Capaldi several awards.[46][47] From 2006 thorough 2010 he was nominated various times at both the BAFTA TV Awards and Royal Television Society Awards for Best Comedy Actor.[48][49][50] He won the 2010 BAFTA TV Award for Male Performance in a Comedy Role.[51] He also won the 2010 and 2012 British Comedy Award for Best TV Comedy Actor.[52][53]

In 2007, Capaldi appeared as Sid's dad Mark Jenkins in the E4 teen comedy drama series Skins. He returned for the second series, though his character was killed off.[54][55]

In 2008, Capaldi portrayed Lobus Caecilius in the Doctor Who episode "The Fires of Pompeii" with the Tenth Doctor and his companion Donna Noble. The following year he took another Doctor Who role as civil servant John Frobisher in the spin-off Torchwood: Children of Earth.[56][57] Capaldi wrote and presented A Portrait of Scotland, a documentary detailing 500 years' history of Scottish portrait painting.[58]

In 2011, Capaldi appeared in The Field of Blood as Dr Pete, for which he received a BAFTA Scotland nomination in the TV actor category;[59] he was beaten by his co-star Jayd Johnson.[60] He had a small role as a therapist in Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, written by and starring his Getting On co-star Ricky Grover.[61] In November of the year, he began playing Professor Marcus in The Ladykillers at the Liverpool Playhouse, which then transferred to the Gielgud Theatre in London in April 2012.[62][63]

In 2012, Capaldi and Tony Roche co-wrote, directed and performed in The Cricklewood Greats, a mockumentary about a fictitious film studio, which tracks real developments and trends throughout the history of British cinema.[64] He portrayed Randall Brown on the BBC Two drama The Hour. He received a BAFTA nomination for the role.[65]

2013–2017: Doctor Who


In 2013, Capaldi portrayed the editor of The Guardian Alan Rusbridger, in The Fifth Estate.[66] He starred in Inside the Mind of Leonardo, a documentary about Leonardo da Vinci.[67] He appeared as a World Health Organization doctor in World War Z.[68] Capaldi wrote and directed the comedy film Born to be King.[69] The film starred Kate Hudson and Ewan McGregor.[70][71] He directed several episodes of the BBC Four sitcom Getting On.[72]

Capaldi in 2014

Before taking the role of the Twelfth Doctor in the BBC science-fiction series Doctor Who, Capaldi stated that he had to seriously consider the increased level of visibility that would come with the part.[73]

In August 2013 during a special event titled Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor, Capaldi was revealed as the next Doctor, succeeding Matt Smith in the role.[74][75] Capaldi made his first appearance as the Doctor in cameos in the 2013 specials, first in the 50th anniversary special, "The Day of the Doctor", then the 2013 Christmas special, "The Time of the Doctor".[76][77]

In 2014, he starred in an adaptation of The Three Musketeers as Cardinal Richelieu on BBC One. Though he was killed off screen due to commitments with Doctor Who.[78] Later that year Capaldi made his first regular in Doctor Who in the episode "Deep Breath".[79]

In 2015 voiced the Doctor in crossover video game Lego Dimensions.[80] The same year he appeared as Paddington Bear's neighbour Mr Curry in the family comedy film Paddington. He reprised the role two years later film's sequel Paddington 2.[81] In 2016, Capaldi reprised his role as the Twelfth Doctor in the Doctor Who spin-off programme Class, written by young-adult author Patrick Ness.[82]

On 30 January 2017, in an interview with BBC Radio 2, Capaldi confirmed that the tenth series would be his last.[83] His final episode was the Christmas special, "Twice Upon a Time", in which he was succeeded by actress Jodie Whittaker.[84][85]

2018–present: Voice acting


In 2018, he voiced Rabbit in the Disney film Christopher Robin.[86] The next year he narrated an audiobook version of Watership Down and Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth.[87] He won a AudioFile Earphones award for his narration on both books.[88][89]

In 2021, Capaldi made his return to stage acting nearly ten years later after his performance in The Ladykillers in a revival of Constellations. He acted against Sheila Atim.[90] He also narrated an audiobook version of Nineteen Eighty-Four.[87] The following year he voiced the recurring characters Seamus McGregor in the Netflix series Big Mouth.[91]

Starting 2022, he has been starring in the TV series The Devil's Hour.[92] The next year he directed a pilot for a TV series titled They F**k You Up. The pilot was unsold.[93]

Since 2024, he has produced the Apple TV+ series Criminal Record.[94] He also stars in the series as DCI Daniel Hegarty.[95][96]

Personal life


Capaldi married Elaine Collins in Strathblane near his home city of Glasgow in 1991.[97] Together they have a daughter, and two grandchildren born in 2021 and 2023.[98][99] Capaldi and Collins live together in Muswell Hill, London.[100] His cousin is singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi.[101] The two worked together on one of the video versions for "Someone You Loved" made in partnership with the charity organisation Live Life Give Life in order to raise awareness for the issue of organ donation.[102]

He grew up Catholic but is now an atheist.[103]

In 2015, Capaldi alongside Cate Blanchett, Patrick Stewart, and Colin Firth supported the United Nations' refugee agency UNHCR to help raise awareness about the global refugee crisis.[104] He subsequently appeared with Blanchett, Stewart, Firth and others in the video "What They Took With Them". The video sees the actors reading a poem, written by Jenifer Toksvig and inspired by primary accounts of refugees, and is part of UNHCR's #WithRefugees campaign, which also includes a petition to governments to expand asylum to provide further shelter, integrating job opportunities, and education.[105]

In October 2022, he voiced his support for Scottish independence. He told The Daily Telegraph: "It used not to be something I was particularly drawn to. I've lived in London for most of my life, and always loved Cardiff and Manchester and Belfast. But after the relentlessness of the past 12 years, everything we have been put through, it might just be time to go home and be a part of that."[106] Capaldi holds dual citizenship; following Brexit he acquired Italian citizenship by descent through his paternal grandfather who hailed from Picinisco.[107]



Capaldi was part of a band known as the Dreamboys.[11][108] While filming for The Suicide Squad, Capaldi wrote a rock album titled, St. Christopher.[109]

Studio albums

Year Title Role Ref
2021 St. Christopher Writer, vocals, electric guitar, synths [109]


Year Artist Title Role Notes Ref
1980 Dreamboys "Bela Lugosi's Birthday / Outer Limits / Shall We Dance" Vocals, guitar [108]
2018 Richard M. Sherman "Goodbye Farewell" Vocals From the soundtrack of Christopher Robin [110]
2020 Monks Road Social "If I Could Pray" Writer, vocals, acoustic guitar From the album Humanism [111]
2021 Peter Capaldi "St. Christopher (Edit)" Writer, vocals, electric guitar, synths From the album St. Christopher [112]

Awards and nominations


Capaldi has been nominated for various awards including three British Academy Television Award nominations[113][114][115] and one win[116] for Malcolm Tucker in In the Thick of It. He won an Academy Award for his short film Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life.[117] He was given an award for "Outstanding Contribution to Film & Television" at the Scottish BAFTAs.[118]


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