Recently, rumours started swirling as to whether Matt Smith would leave Doctor Who or stay on for the eighth series. Some sites claimed definitive proof he was leaving, while others claimed Smith himself said he was staying another year. Well, the BBC’s announcement yesterday put the rumours to rest as revealed Smith would indeed leave after this year, regenerating in the 2013 Christmas Special.
Naturally, the speculation has already begun as to who will take on the role of the Twelfth Doctor. Oddsmakers will be placing their bets, fandom flame wars will erupt, and everyone is going to have their opinion on who should be cast. Well, we at Tardistopia are no different, and I volunteered to paint a target on myself by offering my own opinions. Certainly over the next few weeks and months there will be plenty of discussion about who should be the Doctor, but for now, I humbly offer some names to the conversation.
Editor’s Note: We’re working on a separate list of potential female Doctors. Stay tuned!
1. James Nesbitt
Nesbitt is a popular name for speculation, considering his prior relationship with Steven Moffat in the critically acclaimed role in Jekyll. Nesbitt was suggested for the role back in 2009 prior to Matt Smith’s casting as the Doctor. Since Jekyll, Nesbitt has mostly appeared in dramatic roles, though recently he took a more humourous turn as Bofur in The Hobbit trilogy. Considering Moffat originally wanted an older Doctor, Nesbitt could see speculation again.
2. Aidan Turner
Nesbitt’s fellow dwarf and former vampire, Turner is best known for his role as John Mitchell in Being Human and his recent comedic action role as Kili in The Hobbit. I don’t think it’s escaped the BBC’s notice that since the casting of David Tennant and Matt Smith, Doctor Who has developed quite a fangirl following and higher-ups may seek another young, pretty face to maintain that fan base. If that’s the case, Turner would certainly be a good pick.
3. Robert Carlyle
Another name speculated in 2009, Carlyle was reportedly in talk for the role by the papers until Smith was announced. He has a long career that includes playing Bond Villain Renard in The World is Not Enough, 28 Weeks Later, The Full Monty, and Stargate Universe. Recently he’s been a fan-favorite character on Once Upon a Time where he portrays Rumplestiltskin. Despite what will likely be further speculation of Carlyle as the Doctor, the success of OUAT will probably keep him committed to that show.
4. Damian Lewis
This is honestly a personal pic of mine. Lewis first rose to attention when Steven Spielberg cast him as Richard Winters in Band of Brothers. He then took on roles in The Forsyte Saga and Dreamcatcher. What I feel qualifies him to play the Doctor is a little show called Life, in which Lewis played enigmatic police detective Charlie Crews, who turned to Zen after a wrongful conviction for murder. As Crews, Lewis walked the line between comedy and drama that would be perfect for the Doctor (and also finally allow him to be ginger). However, with the success of Lewis’ current series Homeland, it seems less likely that he would be considered.
5. David Walliams
Comedian Walliams is most known for the hit programme Little Britain with fellow comedian Matt Lucas (and narration by Fourth Doctor Tom Baker) as well Fly With Me. Prior to the success of Little Britain, Walliams starred in the Doctor Who parody video “The Web of Caves” for BBC2’s with Mark Gatiss, who as a writer for Doctor Who and a co-creator of Sherlock, definitely has Moffat’s ear. Further, Walliams has already appeared on the show as Gibbis, the mole-like alien from a planet of cowards in the Series 6 episode “The God Complex.” He’s both an older actor as well as a brilliant funnyman.
6. Laurence Fox
Mostly a dramatic actor, Fox is known mostly for roles in Becoming Jane as one of Jane Austen’s suitors, Christopher Hatten, the Lord Chancellor of England in Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and most recently as Detective Sergeant James Hathaway in Lewis. His tie to the Doctor Who franchise comes in the form of his wife, former companion Billie Piper. He also has a bit of unseen comedic talent as he is known to be a jokester on set to amuse other cast and crew members.
7. Martin Clunes
With Doc Martin in its final series at ITV, the Doctor’s role coming open could be perfect for Martin Clunes, who prior to playing the ill-tempered Doctor Martin Ellingham was known largely for playing intentionally funny characters in Men Behaving Badly and Demob. Beyond his comedy programmes, Clunes has taken more dramatic roles in as a serial killer in A is for Acid and the title character in an adaptation of Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Fans of the current series of Doctor Who may not realize that Martin Clunes appeared on the program during Peter Davison’s era as Lon in the serial “Snakedance.”
8. Rupert Grint
Another ginger who could help the Doctor finally achieve his dream of red hair (hmmm, red hair, hand-me-down TARDIS—must be a Weasley), Grint of course became famous in his role of Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films. Since his casting as Ron, other roles have played off of his comedic talents, including the comedy thriller Wild Target. Grint has also taken roles very different from Harry Potter such as Cherrybomb, a gritty thriller in which he played a man willing to commit any number of crimes to impress a girl.
9. Julian Barratt
Perhaps most famously known for The Mighty Boosh with co-star Noel Fielding, Julian Barratt’s comedic talents make him a prime candidate for the Doctor, having also appeared in Edgar Wright’s Asylum, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, and the Boosh-like film Bunny and the Bull. More recently, he showed off his dramatic chops on Being Human as Larry Chrysler, a man whose life had been ruined by becoming a werewolf. If the Moff really wants an older actor this time around, Barratt would be another comedic and dramatic actor who could fulfill this need, and he’d be the first Doctor with a mustache!
10. John Bishop
Think of it, folks—the first Scouser as the Doctor! A fairly recent comedian with only a handful of work beyond his comedy specials, John Bishop is a very funny comedian from Liverpool who is rising star in the United Kingdom. To his credit, he’s held some dramatic roles in Accused and Skins and did his first comedy TV film last year called Panto! To be honest, part of my decision to include him is that he has that combination of goofy looks and goofy voice that would help maintain the Doctor’s alien qualities to the viewers. Further, it could also be the role to solidify Bishop as a star in Britain.
And those are my suggestions. As to anyone I did or didn’t include, as Craig Ferguson says “I look forward to your letters.”