See Doctor Who’s Peter Capaldi as Leonardo da Vinci

The Scottish actor's performance as the great Renaissance man is to be shown in American cinemas

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We assumed Peter Capaldi’s Doctor would travel back to Renaissance Italy once or twice – but we never expected to see the actor actually become Leonardo da Vinci.

In fact, Capaldi portrayed the Italian polymath in 2013 before he was revealed as the next incarnation of the Time Lord, the performance part of an American educational programme created by Submarine Deluxe and History films. Still, you do have to wonder about a 16th-century painter who designed tanks and helicopters – definitely some Gallifreyan tech involved somewhere.

Inside the Mind of Leonardo da Vinci uses the 6,000 or so pages of Da Vinci’s surviving notes to give a glimpse into the mind of the artist and inventor, using visual effects and 3D to supplement Capaldi’s reading of Da Vinci’s thoughts and ideas – as well as a few dirty jokes.

The partially dramatised documentary was first aired on UK television in March 2013 (and will be repeated on Sky this weekend), but was only shown in America a fortnight ago. Now, the programme is headed to the big screen with nine cinema screenings across America scheduled for the next couple of months, beginning with New York on 19th December.

One suspects that the repeats and cinema showings of the documentary aren’t entirely down to viewers’ appetite for da Vinci; that they might have something to do with Capaldi’s hugely increased international profile following his casting in Doctor Who.

Still, that’s not necessarily a bad thing – to paraphrase Capaldi as da Vinci: “A man who doesn’t become famous is no more than woodsmoke on the wind or foam upon the sea – and he doesn’t get cinema tours of America, either.”

You can watch a snippet of Capaldi’s performance above, or get more information on the programme here.

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Inside the Mind of Leonardo da Vinci is on Sky 3D this Saturday (20th December) at 12.30pm