Peter Capaldi shocked Doctor Who fans on Monday when he suddenly announced during a live interview that he was quitting the lead role.
Capaldi, who’s been playing the Doctor since 2014, told the BBC’s Jo Whiley that a one-off Christmas special at the end of this year would be his last show.
The Scottish performer is the twelfth actor to have played the Time Lord in the British sci-fi show’s 54-year history.
Speaking on BBC Radio about the forthcoming season, the actor told Whiley, “The big thing about it for me is that it’ll be my last … this’ll be the end for me.”
He continued, “I feel sad, I love Doctor Who, it’s a fantastic program to work on and it’s been a huge pleasure … I can’t praise the people I’ve worked with more highly but I’ve always been somebody that did a lot of different things … I’ve never done one job for three years … and I feel it’s time for me to move on to different challenges.”
The BBC, which has produced the show since its launch in 1963, had tried to persuade him to stay on, but the Glasgow-born actor said he’d decided not to renew his contract. “I love this but I don’t know how long I can do it and give it my best, and if I’m not giving it my best, I don’t want to do it,” he said.
Sounding emotional, Capaldi told Whiley that it’d been a great privilege to have played the Doctor.
“Sometimes I walk into a room and children gasp, and it’s not because of me … it’s because Doctor Who just walked in. That’s an incredibly wonderful place to be,” he said, adding that the BBC had been a true pillar of support for both him and his colleagues in the industry.
The 58-year-old performer confirmed that the cast and crew were now working on the latest season — his last — and were “about four episodes from the end.”
Capaldi’s final season as the Time Lord will launch in the U.K. on April 15, a day after the actor’s birthday. It’s also the final season for Doctor Who’s head writer and executive producer, Steven Moffat.
Fans of the show, however, needn’t worry. The Doctor, as always, will