LONDON (AP) — The BBC says British actor Peter Capaldi is the next star of the long-running science fiction series "Doctor Who."

The announcement was made during a live television broadcast on Sunday.

The 55-year-old is best known as venom-spitting spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in political comedy "The Thick of It."

He is the 12th actor to play the Doctor, a galaxy-hopping Time Lord who travels in the Tardis, a time machine shaped like an old-fashioned British police telephone booth.

"Doctor Who" was first broadcast in 1963 and is now one of the BBC's most popular programs, both in Britain and abroad.

Its longevity is due partly to the flexibility of the premise. The Doctor can regenerate into new bodies, and can travel to any point in space or time.