How Peter Capaldi Accidentally Figured Out Doctor Who's Next Doctor Was a Woman

Image: BBC
Image: BBC

The act of passing on Doctor Who’s lead role is a weird one, since the actors are stuck in a limbo where they know they’re on the way out, but they don’t know who’s going to take their place yet. Peter Capaldi however managed to figure out there was a monumental change coming for his replacement... thanks to a pair of trousers.

Speaking at his final New York Comic Con panel as the incumbent Doctor, Capaldi revealed that he accidentally learned that the next Doctor would be female a few days before he was supposed to, thanks to, weirdly enough, a visit to his tailor:

I went into Paul Smiths, which is a very wonderful clothes shop in London where I buy my suits, and everybody knows me in there. And they said “we just got a call,” they said, “from the Doctor Who office saying ‘Can we have a pair of [Peter’s] trousers, but with a waist size thirty?’”

And I thought ‘I’m finished, I don’t need any more trousers!’—because Doctor Who wears Paul Smith trousers, for the fashionistas among you—so they they were obviously looking for a pair of trousers for the new Doctor Who to wear. And I thought ‘well, that can’t really be a man with a thirty-inch waist. That must be a lady then!’


Capaldi got confirmation of his hunch a few days later, when he was called days before the announcement that Jodie Whittaker would become the show’s first female Doctor—and found out after calling the actress she’d moved into a place a short walk away from him to prepare for filming Who in Cardiff, but was unable to say hello without revealing she was his replacement.

So there you have it: One of the biggest changes in Doctor Who history, nearly done in by a pair of pricey trousers.

James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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Is English 30 different than American 30? I graduated from high school with a 27 inch waist pants size. When I got married (I’m male; Rigellian sexes can be confusing) in the summer before my final year at UCLA, I rented a tux with a 29 inch waist. Recently, I bought a pair of pants with a waist size of 30. Is 30 really all that uncommon among American and English men so much that signifies that the person wearing it is dainty and/or a woman?