Rabid fans, and probably some non-fans too, are betting that Scotsman Peter Capaldi will be the next actor to play the title role on Doctor Who, the long-running British cult sci-fi show whose main character occasionally dies and regenerates into new bodies. According to the Radio Times, bookies are reporting 2/1 odds that Capaldi, best known for his role as a government PR person on the British comedy The Thick Of It, will replace Matt Smith when he leaves Doctor Who later this year.
The show, which celebrates its 50 year anniversary this year, has had 11 Doctors, or Time Lords, over the years. When the Doctor dies he regenerates into a new form, with an entirely different personality. The switch to a new Doctor is a big deal — Whovians are as possessive of their Doctors as Potter fans are about which Hogwarts house they'd be sorted into. So it makes sense, in a sad sort of way, that gamblers are willing to spend actual money betting on who will get the part. Over the last few days, there's been a massive uptick in the number of bets on Capaldi, which, according to Joe Crilly, a spokesperson for gambling site William Hill, means he's a frontrunner. He told The Independent:
Peter Capaldi was not even in our list a few days ago but he has been the subject of a lot of betting interest recently and this gamble would suggest that if he does not have the part already, he is almost certainly on the shortlist.
Be warned, though, that these odds should be taken with a massive grain of salt. When David Tennant announced he was stepping down from the role in 2008, bookies favored 44-year-old Paterson Joseph, a comedic actor who would have been the series' first black Doctor. Instead they went with a then unknown Matt Smith, the series' youngest Doctor. In fact, if 55-year-old Capaldi became the 12th Doctor, he'd break a general trend towards younger Doctors. While the first Doctor, William Hartnell, was also 55 when his first episode aired, the average age of the new Doctor has been 40 years old, and the last three Doctors were 41, 34 and 27 when their first episodes aired.