Peter Capaldi, 55 actor had been the odds-on favourite to play the part
Flurry of bets led bookmakers to change his odds from 40-1 to 5-6
Suggestion that the choice for the coveted role was leaked by BBC insider despite top secret campaign
By LAURA COX
He is best known for playing a foul-mouthed spin doctor. Now Peter Capaldi has become one who travels in time and space.
Capaldi, the bullying Malcolm Tucker in political satire The Thick Of It, was last night unveiled as the 12th actor to play the lead role in Doctor Who.
The Scottish star had been the odds-on favourite to become the next inhabitant of the Tardis, and it appears the result may have been known three days ago, when a flurry of bets led to bookmakers suspending betting on him and lowering his odds from 40-1 to 5-6.
They now stand to lose around £100,000.
Joe Crilly, a spokesman for William Hill, said: ‘We have seen people trying to back Peter Capaldi as much as possible at every price available.’
That raised questions last night about whether someone at the BBC had leaked the name – despite the corporation going to great lengths to keep the identity of the new Time Lord a secret in an operation it had codenamed Houdini.
But while 55-year-old Capaldi was favourite to win with punters, others were not so enthralled by the decision.
His official unveiling during a live programme on BBC1 led many on Twitter to ask if he is too old to play the role.
The actor is the same age as William Hartnell was when he became the first Doctor in 1963.
Some users on the social networking site described his announcement as ‘exciting’ and ‘perfect’, but others were more critical – one wrote: ‘Peter Capaldi is not attractive because he’s old’, while another posted: ‘I’m not watching Doctor Who any more. Peter Capaldi is too old.’
Some 400 Doctor Who fans, some dressed as their favourite characters, were in the audience last night to see the announcement.
Capaldi, who appeared in a 2008 episode of the series alongside tenth Doctor David Tennant, told presenter Zoe Ball of his excitement at taking on the role.
‘It’s so wonderful not to keep this secret any longer,’ he said. ‘For a while I couldn’t tell my daughter who kept on looking on the internet and kept seeing people saying so and so should be the Doctor and she got rather upset.
‘But it has been absolutely fantastic in its own way, so many wonderful things have been happening.