peter capaldi filmography

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040 Soft Top Hard Shoulder (1993)

In the Film Review article from 1993, Peter swears the only part of this that is truly autobiographical is the driving from London to Glasgow, but just taking into account Gavin’s background of being an artistic Italian-Scot from an ice cream making family*, Gavin’s tendency toward being neurotic which is exactly how Peter describes himself about a second and a half after saying Gavin isn’t like him, Gavin’s awesome dancing and athletic skills, Gavin’s general adorableness, and, obviously the degree to which Gavin/Peter is crazy about Yvonne/Elaine Collins, I’d say there’s probably more Peter in Gavin than otherwise – if you take into consideration that everything about Gavin is turned up to eleven for comedic effect.

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055 Lost for Words (1996)

Peter is a unnamed and unprepared tourist hiking through Spain who learns the hard way that not carrying a map in a country where you don’t speak the language is a bad idea, but an even worse idea is trusting a dog with a bundle of lit dynamite.

(On the other hand though, there is baggy shorts wearing, and silly walking, and curly hair, and running, so it’s not all doom and gloom.)

But seriously, if you don’t want to have anything to do with implied VERY BAD THINGS happening to children or a nice dog, this is probably not the made for tv 30-minute short for you.   It’s funny, but it’s extremely dark humor that’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

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008 Travelling Man: Blow Up (1985)

Good things about John: his face and his dress sense.

Bad things about John: pretty much everything else.  Personality-wise and cleverness-wise, he leaves a lot to be desired.  Although, perhaps, that’s just because the whole Travelling Man world is a very mean world and John is just trying to survive the best way he knows how. 

But let’s concentrate the good things and even better than the jeans is the only known screen appearance of Peter’s earring (that he had as a Dreamboy and otherwise took out when he started acting as he says – and indicates – in the A Mighty Big If Interview) which instantly elevates this production to the top ranks, even if so many of his other characters are much nicer people. 

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Master Post for the Peter Capaldi Annotated Filmography

(Big Update September 2015)

This edition of the filmography only has one new addition (can you guess which one it is?), but since I’ve now (once again) got new source material for a lot of the projects, I thought it might be a good time for a repost of the master post and just for the heck of it, make some (mostly) new gifs to illustrate it.  I originally created the Master Post so that no one would have to keep track of twelve separate posts and I’ve also finally done the sensible thing and linked each post back to this one:

Part 01: (1982-1987) Living Apart Together to The Love Child

Part 02: (1988-1990) Lair of the White Worm to Some Lie and Some Die

Part 03: (1991-1993) December Bride to Soft Top Hard Shoulder

Part 04: (1993-1995) Micky Love to The All New Alexei Sayle Show

Part 05: (1996-1997) Giving Tongue to Smilla’s Sense of Snow

Part 06: (1997-2001) Bean to High Stakes

Part 07: (2002-2004) Mrs Caldicot’s Cabbage War to My Family

Part 08: (2004-2005) Niceland (Population 1.000.002) to The Best Man

Part 09: (2006-2007) Pinochet’s Last Stand to Magicians

Part 10: (2007-2009) TTOI Rise of the Nutters to A Portrait of Scotland

Part 11: (2009-2011) TTOI S3 to When Peter Capaldi Met John Byrne

Part 12: (2012-2015) The Ladykillers to Doctor Who Series 9

As of this posting, everything has been checked and except for one entry which has been marked, everything should be working. The numbering is a mess that I can’t really fix without redoing all the pages (an enormous undertaking that I think I’m finally ready to, er, undertake fairly soon); but otherwise, everything is as up-to-date as I can make it at the moment — although I’m always hoping for new stuff, whether brand new, or old new like Coming Up Brussels and God’s Chosen Carpark and Runway One and anything and everything else that’s still missing.

(If something that should work isn’t working, please let me know and I’ll see if there is anything I can do.  Equally, if anyone has any information on any of the missing projects, PLEASE let me know!)

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066 I Hate Christmas Too (1997)

I continue to give many, many, many thanks to littlenem0 for pointing this in my direction.  It’s a five minute short shown on BBC1 on Christmas Day 1997 and uploaded to Youtube more than seven years ago.  For about six of those years it was fully accessible, but last year, about a week after I saved the copy I have, it was blocked for people in the USA , so I’m extra glad I was able to grab it while I could.  (Why, Youtube, why?)

The film is a two-hander with Peter and Sam West (using a somewhat dubious Scottish accent) made, according to the director who commented on the Youtube post that I can no longer see, in a only a couple of hours before they lost the light.

The story is about an unhappy man (Peter with shockingly short hair that only doesn’t look strange because we’re so used to suit+overcoat+scarf+sticky up short hair+looking entirely fed up = Malcolm) who has an unexpected encounter with someone I think we can assume is the ghost of a Great War soldier who tells him about the Christmas truce of 1914 and helps him put his own (presumably family) problems in perspective and also leaves him a present. 

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058 The Crow Road (1996)

Or as I like to call it, Rory and his goddamn hair.  Be amazed and awed at the volume and curls of Rory McHoan, the rebel writer, who, when he’s not using the world’s oldest computer or riding his moterbike in full leathers, wears a demin shirt (also the pink shirt, but I’m saving that for later) and scruffy jeans, smokes cigarettes (and other giggle-inducing substances), is a good uncle in the flesh and in the spirit, and doesn’t take too much too seriously except for once.  And has that hair!

In terms of the plot of this four part, four hour mini-series, I don’t want to give too much away because on one level it is a fairly basic coming-of-age story about young Prentice becoming  man (or whatever), but on another level it is an ALL CAPS MYSTERY that plays with time and memory and makes me think that if I were a McHoan, I would change my name and keep my head down because they do seem to be a cursed family.  Or maybe it’s just Prentice that needs to be avoided; the boy does seem like awfully bad luck.

But then, what else could really be expected other than tragedy and veering-into-the-realm-of-almost-farcical-doom, since this isn’t just adapted from a proper literary novel with an mystery at the creamy center, it’s adapted from a proper literary novel with a mystery at the creamy center by Iain M. Banks, which means a certain amount of unsettling weirdness is only to be expected.




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017 The Lair of the White Worm (1988)

The answer to the burning question how many sheep do you have, Peter Capaldi can be found here.

But what about The Lair of the White Worm?  Well, there’s a blue vampire lady

and kilts and glasses wearing and bag pipes and dead mongooses to the face

and spinn-y dancing, and giant worms, and mini worms, and Angus and James (yes, that really is Hugh Grant) holding hands just a little too long and looking at each other just a little too lingeringly, and totally believable archaeology (he has a toothbrush, people!  he’s wearing fingerless gloves!), but obviously the most stand-out element of this film is Angus’s hair.  Angus’s quantities and quantities of hair.  So much hair!

This is Peter’s only film to get a direct shout-out in TTOI and I bet the writers were just kicking themselves for using up the joke in series 2 with Robyn and Hugh and Malcolm’s 8:30s, when if they’d just held off a few years, they could have done a super-meta recursive type dealie in In the Loop between Judy Malloy and Malcolm

to explain why he hates her so much.

But really mostly it’s about the hair

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046 Franz Kafka’s It’s A Wonderful Life (1993)

Obviously, everyone who writes and directs their first short film wins an Oscar for it, right?  Right?  Oh, they don’t?  So what you’re saying is it’s actually a hugely amazing achievement?  Especially when the guy who does it has no formal training in either writing or directing or even, you know, acting, his other award winning thing that is actually his day job.

Peter stays completely behind the camera for this; although – of course – it stars his lovely wife Elaine Collins along with Withnail The Great Intelligence Richard E. Grant, Phyllis Logan, and Crispin Letts (son of legendary Doctor Who producer Barry Letts and husband of the film’s producer Ruth Kenley-Letts) and while I’m not aware of any behind the scenes footage of Peter directing, there is at least the Oscar clip of him winning and Peter’s telling-it-like-it-is A Mighty Big If description of what was going on in his head during winning, plus an interview in Scotland from about five minutes after he got off the plane from LA after winning, where he talks about no longer being a Hollywood virgin while wearing his Oscar glasses – all of which makes the lack of direct behind-the-scenes stuff a lot more bearable.

Also this tee-shirt:

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018 Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

Oh, Azolan if you were my devoted valet, I too would let you polish things and pick locks with your hair pins and give you all the hats and wigs and gold buttons and green robes with giant flowers and birds that you could possible want.  And I would spend a significant part of my time throwing things at you for you to catch.  (Lady’s maids be damned though, I would keep you all to myself.)  Your boss, Valmont, isn’t a very nice guy, but as with almost everything else in his life, he has impeccably perfect taste in his manservant.

This is a proper big budget-big name-big costume extravaganza.  Luckily for us, even though the plot is pretty much entirely to do with the aristocrats, Peter’s part is actually pretty big and he gets to have lots and lots and even more lots of fun dressing up (because as we know from A Portrait of Scotland, velvet breeches do things to/for him)  

and also being in a state of undress, which is just as good, if not better. 

In a perfect world, the leads from the stage version (the red hot combo of Alan Rickman and Lindsay Duncan and Juliet Stevenson, oh my!) would have reprised their roles, but for a Hollywood redo, I think this comes out quite well in the actors and acting department.  Keanu Reeves  — no, I’m not kidding — is very much the weakest acting link, but it helps that his character is supposed to be easy on the eyes but empty of the head which I’m sure made things a lot easier for him. 

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057 Neverwhere (1996)

Oh, Islington, you do carry on a bit, but I guess it must be pretty annoying being locked up in a very cold room for tens of thousands of years with only one outfit (sure it glows, but wouldn’t socks be more useful?) and some trick candles and a taunting unopenable door (and some creepazoid contacts that make your pupils huge and black) just because one time one time! you accidentally let Atlantis be destroyed causing the death of millions.

It’s so unfair especially because

So obviously this is the angel Islington who doesn’t get out much but would really like to change that. And, you know, I think he does have a legitimate grievance about his conditions because between the unopenable door and all the open flames, his room is just a health and safety nightmare!

But while he waits for the tribunal to make its decision – which is taking forever – he spends his time dramatically walking, dramatically turning, dramatically standing, dramatically singing Irving Berlin (it’s the little twirl that does it), and dramatically plotting the hideous death of anyone who won’t kneel before Zod ever did him wrong, which, let’s face it, is going to be everyone.   

As to what the whole program(me) is about, I’ll just say Neil Gaiman.  If you know what that means then you’ll know what to expect, and if you don’t, well, I think trying to explain it is beyond my humble capabilities.  The whole thing is six half-hour parts.  Islington isn’t in the first episode, but he’s in the other five and is an important character throughout with hair that, as you can see, is very definitely very firmly attached to his head.

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First, Real Life Peter in 1997, do you think there is such thing as a quintessentially British film? And if so, is this it?*

And that’s all you need to know about What Rats Won’t Do which has finally (finally!) been released on dvd.

*actual question asked by interviewer.

Except actually apparently not because just look how long this is.To more or less quote myself from the original slow motion filmography post (from way back in 2014 when the only available version of the film was a vhs-rip with hardcoded Portuguese subtitles), this is another not-huge supporting role for Peter, this time as Tony the somewhat dodgy solicitor

who also seems to be something of a PR and who is the best mate of the lead played by James Frain (who was also in Prime Suspect 3 although he and Peter didn’t have any scenes together).

Tony doesn’t have all that much to do except wear lots of iridescent ties

with those weird overly-buttoned late 1990′s suits

while throwing people into cars (see above), navigating press packs (see above), drinking champagne in limos (see above), and when the occasion calls for it, giving excellent glare.

Also, there’s only one real instance of what you might call swearing in anger in this and guess who does it?

Also, also, this probably just the only time you will ever see Peter anywhere near a cricket game, much less wearing (extremely untidy) cricket whites with matching white suede shoes.

No, we don’t get to see him play (“play”), which obviously would have been the best thing ever, but life is full of disappointments that we must learn to bear gracefully.

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027 Ruth Rendell Mysteries: Some Lie and Some Die (1990)

Zeno!  Zeno sings!  Zeno sings with the most Bowie of Bowie vocals! Zeno sings with the most Bowie of Bowie vocals while dressed as a vampire gunslinger!  Zeno sings with the etc. because Peter isn’t just playing Zeno, he’s also playing Zeno’s singing voice! 

Zeno!  What a very wicked boy he is what with the reckless driving, and the finger sucking and face sucking (not to mention the shagging against a tree as seen from a distance) affair he’s having with his manager’s wife, and the practical jokes

with horrible consequences for other people that he thinks are very funny, and more or less being an all-around unpleasant guy.  There’s also a dodgy accent and tragic nonfashion sense, but, what can I say, I find it easy to overlook these tiny small deficiencies of safety, morality, personality, and taste, because Zeno sings

Zeno!  The first of Peter’s many police procedural killer-and-or-red-herring-of-the-week roles (I’m not counting Shadow of the Noose) that he’s played so often since.  The entire episode is about two and half hours long, but if you want to skip all the parts where Inspector Wexford and his stalwart assistant v e r y s l o w l y investigate the actual murder, click on Zeno sings up at the top and you’ll find a file about thirty minutes long with just the Zeno parts, either when he’s on screen, or the several times his Some Lie and Some Die song plays in the background.

One touch I really like is since Zeno is an in-universe rock star, he has in-universe fan merchandise:

and I’m sure Peter got to put all his fashion model knowledge to good use when they did the shoot for the posters. 

Posters I want so very much.

Zeno!

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065 The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1997)

This is how I like my classic literature adapted: with BRIAN BLESSED, enormous wigs, and violence.

It finally occurred to me when I was rewatching The History of Tom Jones A Foundling that of course we don’t have to imagine Peter as an incurable old fop wearing red velvet and gold lace

because once upon a time he was Lord Fellamar, the foppingest fop who ever fopped (in red heeled shoes no less) (except when he wasn’t wearing anything at all but lipstick and a towering wig) (and if all that sounds dirty it should — even despite his bath he’s a very dirty boy indeed).

Tom Jones would have been a fun gig regardless what with the amazing cast — especially BRIAN BLESSED as Squire Western — but you know Peter must have been super chuffed to actually get paid to indulge in his most glorious macaroni fantasies.

(And it’s the closest to a Peter-as-Valmont-Dangerous-Liaisons might-have-been since Lindsay Duncan originated the role of the Marquise de Merteuil on stage and of course in the film Peter was Azolan, the most loyal valet in the world, with his lockpicks and loose morals.)

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068 Psychos (1999)

This is Mark Collins – Doctor Mark Collins – a mathematician who doesn’t blink very much, doesn’t sleep at all, is just a wee bit manic, really doesn’t like being told what do, is actually kind of a sweetheart, and has hair that completely defies the law of gravity.  

Mark knows he isn’t mad, but is willing to entertain opinions to the contrary, which is why he agrees to stay at the psychiatric hospital that is the setting for this show, but only after taking a shower with his clothes on to, as he puts it, declartify, after wearing them for a week straight.

This is one of the Peter’s more memorable single episode guest roles (and not just because of the shirt-taking-off) and I’m sure it’s one he enjoyed doing more than most because his lovely wife was a series regular.  Unfortunately, his episode was also the very last episode made, as the series wasn’t renewed, so we’ll never know if Mark would have had his story resolved if more episodes had been made.

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025 PRS - The Movie (1989)

Peter’s role in this is essentially a cameo and what you see here is pretty much what you get if you skip ahead to about minute nineteen when he and his silly voice show up.  This one requires audience participation in that I know he’s emulating a specifically annoying DJ and not just a generically annoying DJ, but the name of the guy is outside of my cultural knowledge.  

(The real stars of this are Baldrick Tony Robinson and Jim Broadbent and of course Felix's lovely song.)

This showed up on Youtube out of the blue last year and considering the content I guessing the person who posted it has a good sense of humor. The PRS of the title stands for Performing Rights Society and the movie – which from the picture quality was definitely made on proper film – is a training film/public service type announcement on the evils of copyright infringement which, leaving aside the people in it, is an inherently interesting cultural artifact because it proves the nebulous industry has been freaking out about copyright stuff since long before the internet became the main sharing platform.  So you can see why putting it on Youtube makes it all very meta and delicious.

Usually production companies aren’t very interesting, but in this was produced by Video Arts, the training film company founded by John Cleese and Sir Anthony Jay, which probably explains the quality of the cast and the writing (it was written by Sean Hardie) and we’ll see more of Peter’s work for this company (including one where he shares the screen with John Cleese) in later parts of the filmography. 

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044 Prime Suspect 3 (1993)

Vera Reynolds is not a happy role or a fun one — unfortunately for her, she lives in the unrelentingly grim and grimy Prime Suspect universe – but I found her completely unforgettable, even though I don’t think she actually has all that much screen time.  It’s just that she makes every minute count. 

Although I’m sure I saw Local Hero on vhs sometime in the 1980s, and I know I saw Dangerous Liaisons in the movie theater, this was the role that really introduced me to Peter’s acting (also David Thewliss and Ciaran Hinds and Johnny Lee Miller and a whole host of others) when it first showed on Mystery on PBS in 1994. 

Fast forward to 2009 and a chance reading of a review for In the Loop, and one of the two things that made me seek out the film was recognizing that the Malcolm character (whoever he was; hard as it is for me to believe now, when I read the review I’d never even heard of The Thick of It)  was the same guy who had made such an incredible impression fifteen years before as Vera.   

So you could say Vera was absolutely my direct link to discovering Malcolm Tucker, but even with that extremely personal bias, I still genuinely think she is one of Peter’s very best roles of his entire career and the absolute answer to anyone (not that there are all that many anymore) who can’t believe he can be anyone other than Malcolm.

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For the most current version of the Master Post CLICK HERE.

Master Post for the Peter Capaldi Annotated Filmography

(Parts 1 & 12 Updated 30 October 2014)

I’ve been getting a growing number of inquiries asking if I have a source for X - where X is some specific pcap project - and since the answer is almost always, yes, you can find it on the filmography (and actually, even if the answer is I wish I had it, but no, you can also find that out on the filmography), I thought it might be a good time to repost the Master Post.  I originally created so that no one (including me) would have to keep track of twelve separate posts:

Part 01: (1982-1987) Living Apart Together to The Love Child

Part 02: (1988-1990) Lair of the White Worm to Some Lie and Some Die

Part 03: (1991-1993) December Bride to Soft Top Hard Shoulder

Part 04: (1993-1995) Micky Love to The All New Alexei Sayle Show

Part 05: (1996-1997) Giving Tongue to Smilla’s Sense of Snow

Part 06: (1997-2001) Bean to High Stakes

Part 07: (2002-2004) Mrs Caldicot’s Cabbage War to My Family

Part 08: (2004-2005) Niceland (Population 1.000.002) to The Best Man

Part 09: (2006-2007) Pinochet’s Last Stand to Magicians

Part 10: (2007-2009) TTOI Rise of the Nutters to A Portrait of Scotland

Part 11: (2009-2011) TTOI S3 to When Peter Capaldi Met John Byrne

Part 12: (2012-2014) The Cricklewood Greats to Doctor Who (+ a couple of tiny extra bits)

The update to part 1 was to add new information about The Ballad of Johnny Vanguard and to add an entry for the Whitbread Best Bitter commercials.  The update to part 12 was to add a much overdue entry (alas without also being able to add a link to the complete work) for The Ladykillers and an inline thumbnail for the Doctor Who series 8 entry.   The numbering is a mess that I can’t really fix without redoing all the pages (an enormous undertaking); but otherwise, everything is as up-to-date as I can make it at the moment – although I’m hoping I may be able to add two new entries soon.  I’m still looking forward to the day when I can add a source for  Mr Wakefield’s Crusade DONE! YAY! and Coming Up Brussels and God’s Chosen Carpark and Runway One and anything and everything else that’s missing. 

(If something doesn’t work, please let me know and I’ll see if there is anything I can do.  Equally, if anyone has any information on any of the missing projects, I’d love to know!)

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030 Do Not Disturb (1991)

Let me get the plot out of the way first: I don’t understand the plot.  Like at all.  Bruce and Jenny seem like a perfectly happy couple.  She’s in publishing, and he appears to be in snark, and to make some extra money, they’re taking a van load of fans of a particularly reclusive lady author (now dead) on a weekend tour of the area where she’d lived and worked, and … something strange young man, something adultery, something unexplored childhood trauma, something lit crit, something misery and despair, something French lady, something emotional hair, something thematically appropriate weather, something possibly a murder, and by the end of it, their marriage is destroyed and Jenny can no longer read.  I’ve watching this a few times and I still don’t understand what exactly happens except that I’m even less inclined than before to ever join a book club.

Peter spends about the half the time in this wearing glasses that make him look like Egon Spengler that are, as far as I can tell,  the exact same glasses he wore in Lair of the White Worm (three years and more than ten projects before) and that I’ve always suspected were Peter’s actual glasses of the period. This is also a big scarf role with Bruce showing us a wide range of scarf-wearing styles.

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