Tonight, Doctor Who fans will finally get to see Peter Capaldi's debut episode as the Twelfth Doctor - but how much do you know about the fantastic Scottish actor who's taking over the TARDIS from Matt Smith? To get you caught up before Twelve and his companion Clara Oswald set off on their next adventure, we've put together this quick guide on the coolness that is Peter Capaldi.

Before his casting as The Doctor, Capaldi's best-known role was as the savagely awesome political operative Malcolm Tucker in the BBC's political satire The Thick of It and its feature film sequel In The Loop. HBO's award-winning comedy series Veep is set in the same universe as The Thick of It, as they share the same creator and members of the creative team - but make no mistake about it, Selina Meyer would cower in fear at the sight of Malcolm Tucker.

Don't believe us? Check out this relatively tame clip (which still contains language NSFW).

Like several players in the Doctor Who universe, Capaldi previously appeared in guest spots prior to assuming a main role. He first was seen in the Who episode "The Fires of Pompeii" as Caecilius, who met the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) just before the tragic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. That's the same episode in which Karen Gillan appeared before she went on to portray the Eleventh Doctor's first companion Amy Pond.

Capaldi was later cast as John Frobisher, the ill-fated civil servant tasked with negotiating with The 456, in the third Torchwood series, Torchwood: Children of Earth, before having a brief cameo as Twelve in "The Day of the Doctor."

Also for the BBC - and also screened on BBC America - Capaldi played Cardinal Richelieu in The Musketeers, but becoming The Doctor meant that he was replaced by Marc Warren as Rochefort for that show's upcoming second season. But not before he got to give huge speeches like this one.

You've also seen Capaldi in series two of the period-journalism drama The Hour, the Benedict Cumberbatch-led Wikileaks film The Fifth Estate, and in World War Z, just to name a few of his many acting credits on TV, in film, and on stage.

Behind the camera, he directed the first two series of the hospital comedy Getting On, the basis for the American program of the same name currently in its second season on HBO, and won an Academy Award in 1995 for his short film Franz Kafka's It's A Wonderful Life, which he both directed and wrote.

Here's one last trivia tidbit: in Craig Ferguson's autobiography, American On Purpose, the current Late Late Show host revealed that in their earlier years, he was in a punk rock band with Capaldi! From aspiring rock star to The Doctor - not a bad career path.

The Doctor Who season premiere, "Deep Breath," airs tonight at 8 PM ET/PT on BBC America.