Alastair Campbell, the inimitable former spokesman for U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, announced yesterday that he is not an alien-fighting Time Lord. In a message to his 200,000-plus Twitter followers, Campbell wrote, "Very grateful for all the congratulatory tweets re my new role as Dr. Who, however undeserved."
For the uninitiated, "Doctor Who" is the BBC's beloved show about a Time Lord. He's transported through time and space in the Tardis, a ship designed to look like a blue British police call box, to fight robots, statues, shadow creatures and disembodied alien intelligences to save our world and others.
The character regenerates every few years, taking on a new form and making it convenient to switch up the leading man. In his twelfth incarnation, Doctor Who will be played by Scottish actor Peter Capaldi, debuting in the show's Christmas special, the BBC announced yesterday.
Capaldi is best known as Malcolm Tucker, the profane communications chief who orchestrates the rise and fall of politicians in "The Thick of It," a BBC show about behind-the-scenes bumbling in the British government. Tucker's character is widely associated with Campbell's persona, and in September, the two had a "swear-athon" for charity. It "went down well with the testosterone-charged trading floor" that the performance was intended for, but it was accidentally broadcast in the day-care center downstairs, Campbell wrote on his blog last year.
Campbell made headlines in 2011 for suing Rupert Murdoch's News International, which is owned by News Corp., for hacking his phone. The 56-year-old, now an author and a public speaker, settled the case and testified on Blair's links to Murdoch at a media-ethics inquiry spurred by allegations that reporters cultivated inappropriately close relationships with politicians.
Given the linkage many make between Capaldi and Campbell, BBC's casting has viewers wondering if this is the dawn of a darker "Doctor Who." The universe's monsters might give up their crusade after hearing Capaldi spout this classic Malcolm Tucker line: "I'll rip your head off, and give you a spine-dectomy."