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The New Doctor

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 5, 2013

Between chores on Sunday, and before settling in to watch the telecast of Tiger Woods at Firestone, I took half an hour to see check out who will be the new star of "Doctor Who." And he is Peter Capaldi, a character actor with a fine resume.

There has already been some debate because the new Doctor is another white guy -- when it is technologically possible for him to become a woman, or a person of color -- and that he is older than most Doctors. (The first, William Hartnell, was about the same age as Capaldi, who is 55.) Apparently a lot of the show's younger fan base wanted a young cutie like the most recent previous Doctor, Matt Smith.

But I like the selection of Capaldi in part because he'll be an authority figure -- and possibly a scary one. Capaldi is captable of many kinds of unpleasantness, whether chilly or outspoken; his gift for astounding profanity has often been on display.

If you do not know Capaldi's work, some things worth checking out -- and variously available -- include "The Thick of It," the British political comedy (on Hulu, Hulu Plus, Amazon and, coming Tuesday, DVD) and its big-screen companion "In the Loop" (DVD.Blu-ray, Netflix and other streaming).

Look also for the second season of "The Hour" (multiple availabilites), the drama about a British TV-news operation in the '50s, where Capaldi was in the second season. (BTW, the series also featured Ben Whishaw, who was on some people's whish, er, wish list for the new Doctor. And "The Wire" fans will want to check it out for excellent performances by Dominic West.)

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