Who Should Be The Next Doctor?

With Peter Capaldi’s announced exit with the 2017 Christmas Special, Discussion naturally turns to who will be the next person to play the Doctor. Thanks to fans pressing for a female Doctor, we can look to someone other than a white man to portray the Time Lord. Here are some of the names that are being mentioned.

Haley Atwell

With Peggy Carter canned and her newest series cancelled as well, Atwell is a frontrunner to play the Doctor, especially given that momentum is pushing for a female Doctor. Twice in Capaldi’s run, we have seen that Time Lords can regenerate into another gender. Atwell wants the role, and would be a relatively familiar face to American audiences.

Would I like her as the Doctor? I’m not sure. One thing we got away from with Peter Capaldi was the Doctor as a sex symbol, and Atwell is absolutely gorgeous. Even in Agent Carter where she played a very capable woman, she was prone to romantic subplots. I fear the temptation to put her into those types of situations in Doctor Who would be overwhelming for too many writers. Of course the Doctor is a role that enables an actor to prove those standard roles wrong. I would welcome the casting, but would be cautious.

I also despise that her physical beauty is what makes me so cautious. She can deliver when action is needed, and can command a scene like few others can. Her success as a Doctor would depend on her ability to mesh well with Chibnall.

Olivia Colman

The Doctor is a role that requires the actor and the showrunner to work well together. Olivia Colman has worked with Chris Chibnall on Broadchurch, and showed a definite ability to do drama extremely well. She has also shown comedy as well in Peepshow and That Mitchell and Webb Look. In her 40s, she gets us away from a female Doctor as a sex object, but remains approachable enough to have a romantic subplot if that’s where Chibnall wants to go.

Is she the frontrunner? Colman has already had experience being too closely associated with a property, and has managed to escape it. Her prominence in Chibnall’s Broadchurch might be what costs her the role of the Doctor.

David Mitchell

We’re due for another comedic Doctor, both in mannerisms and appearance. David Mitchell doesn’t look like an action star but carries an air of intelligence that makes playing the Doctor necessary. His experience with drama is scant, but his Doctor would hearken back to Sylvester McCoy, which while comedic, also carried a slightly aristocratic air to his personality that makes the Doctor believable. I genuinely like Mitchell and have faith that he could take the Doctor in a different, yet familiar direction. I’m just not sure if that’s where Chibnall wants to go.

Alexander Siddig

Chibnall could use the role to make a political statement, especially by casting a non-white British actor in the role. Siddig has a long career, and is no stranger to science fiction from his time in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Siddig born in Sudan, but was raised in Britain. He may be averse to returning to science fiction, but the Doctor is no ordinary role, allowing for an exploration of comedy and drama. The casting would be controversial, especially given the political climate in the U.K at the moment

Russell Brand

This was my wife’s pick. Her feeling is that the Doctor needs to be eccentric again. Brand is a big name and recognizable to American audiences. I feel like he could disappear into the role easily, and my desire for more comedy in Doctor Who would require someone that could handle the absurd with a straight face. His relationship with the BBC has been rocky, and Brand is not averse to saying and doing controversial things, which might be the roadblock to his casting.

I doubt sincerely that he is being considered for the role, but would like to see more eccentricity in the Doctor.

Ben Whishaw

This seems like the safe casting. He’s a younger actor, and after lackluster seasons with Capaldi, there may be pressure, either external or internal, to go with someone more like Tennant or Smith. He’s been mentioned far too many times not to be taken seriously, but his casting could be seen as a step backwards, if not stagnation for the series. Still, he’s gained respect for his role as Q in Skyfall, but taking the role of the Doctor means that franchise would have to recast a key member of the supporting cast.

Ultimately, this is where the role could go, and these six actors are the directions. Popular actress, respected actress, comedy choice, political statement, safe casting, and the snag for attention. You could substitute almost any British Actor for any name that I’ve mentioned. Right now, speculation is so rampant that almost anyone could be considered. I would like John Hannah, Tim Roth, Richard Ayoade, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and far too many others to be named properly.

There are many names in the running for the Doctor, and I would not be at all surprised for the choice to be safe. This series is a British institution and there is a feeling that while you can court controversy a little with Doctor Who, you don’t do that with the casting of the Doctor. I also expect that the road has been paved by Steven Moffat to break new ground with the casting. I suspect that we will get an actress as the new Doctor, but would be thrilled to see Chibnall try to break new ground with his casting.