Doctor Who's Peter Capaldi Shares Honest Take On Possibly Returning For 60th Anniversary Special

Peter Capaldi as The Doctor in Doctor Who
(Image credit: BBC America)

Doctor Who's 60th anniversary special sports a stellar cast already but, considering all the talent The BBC tapped for the 50th anniversary, fans are likely hoping for (or expecting) even more major stars to appear. There have been a lot of rumors that suggest that David Tennant won’t be the only Doctor featured during the celebration And as a result, former actors who played the role are currently fielding questions about whether or not they’re involved. Peter Capaldi is one of those actors who's been asked, and he recently shared some honest thoughts on possibly returning. 

Unfortunately, if you’re looking to see Peter Capaldi return to Doctor Who, then you may just want to use an HBO Max subscription to check out his past episodes. The actor recently spoke with SFX Magazine (via Radio Times) about stories that feature multiple Doctors, and he’s not a fan. Capaldi is concerned about the lack of reasonable screentime for characters in those types of episodes:

It’s very hard to imagine how you’d get a decent crack of the whip when there’s 14 of you, you know? So I think I’d rather leave it as is, because I loved my time on Doctor Who and loved doing it.

Based on that comment, it would seem that the actor will not be a part of Doctor Who's 60th anniversary. That is, unless the upcoming special doesn't have a lot of Doctors competing for screentime and, to be quite honest, it's unclear if that's the case. David Tennant is the only former Doctor that's been officially confirmed for the special, though some have assumed that incoming 14th Doctor actor Ncuti Gatwa could appear as well (despite reports stating that Gatwa's character won't appear until after it airs). 

The question we must now ask is whether Peter Capaldi is deliberately misleading fans because he is making an appearance or if he’s genuinely not interested at all. Capaldi was a massive fan of the franchise even before he won the role and even campaigned for the franchise to snag big names like Tom Hanks for guest spots. Hell, his first scene as The Doctor happened during the 50th anniversary. I suppose he could theoretically still be uninterested, despite his self-professed love for the franchise. Yet one can't help wonder if he's just playing coy here.

If Peter Capaldi is not part of Doctor Who’s 2023 anniversary celebration, one has to wonder if any of the other former Doctors of the reboot era will be. The odds of Jodie Whittaker's iteration returning feel slim, given the special will follow her Doctor's regeneration episode. Bringing her back so soon could cheapen its impact. Matt Smith has been busy of late doing weather reports while promoting HBO’s House Of The Dragon. Things are also up in the air for Christopher Eccleston, who exit from the franchise during Russell T. Davies’ first tenure as showrunner. It's hard to say just what might happen on the upcoming event but, should Capaldi (and the aforementioned stars) not appear, this could be a smaller special in terms of star power.

Doctor Who’s 60th-anniversary celebration is set to air in 2023 and will follow the Centenary Special, which is due out sometime in October 2022.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.