Being a fan of a massive show like Doctor Who means there will always be things surrounding it that slightly irritate you. Fortunately I’m usually pretty good at shaking off these things and focusing instead on the multitude of reasons I love the show. However, one element that does consistently frustrate me is the speculation that surrounds the casting of a new Doctor.
For the wider media it’s a great opportunity to fill some column inches. Most papers or websites will carry a few stories about who could be the next Doctor and all will generally be wide of the mark. These lists normally feature the same faces each time with the addition of the latest rising star who has already grown too big to be a likely candidate for the role. Fortunately for the various websites and media outlets with space to fill they can usually rely on the bookmakers to feed a little fuel to the fire and keep the story going.
Usually the lists created by the bookies are even less imaginative with this time out a list containing most of the names rumoured last time who didn’t get the part, the previous two Doctors before Capaldi and practically everyone who has ever appeared in an episode of Broadchurch. Recently some bookies stopped taking bets on Death in Paradise and My Family actor Kris Marshall with many people seemingly thinking this meant he was definitely the choice this time around siting the fact that they had done the same thing before Capaldi was cast.
While I can’t categorically state that Marshall won’t get it I have my doubts that he will. It is true that bets were stopped on Capaldi, but that was just a day or two before he was officially announced in the part and it is worth remembering that months earlier the same thing had happened with Rory Kinnear until he had to come out and deny he had been offered it. More likely for me given that up until very recently Chris Chibnell has still been busy with Broadchurch is that we are still some time away from finding out who will be the next Doctor, which means more lists of potential castings.
So using the principle that if you can’t beat them join them I give you my list of eight actors who definitely, definitely, definitely won’t be the next Doctor, but would probably be quite good if they were.
I am firmly of the opinion that EVERYTHING is made better by the inclusion of Roger Allam. He is quite simply a terrific actor. Part of the key to making a successful Doctor is the ability to make the comedy work while still having the authority for the more serious scenes. Allam has proved his perfect comedy timing in two of the finest sitcoms of recent times The Thick of It, alongside Peter Capaldi and Cabin Pressure. He also has the necessary authority along with one of the finest voices known to man. At 63 he would be the oldest actor to play the Doctor and this is one of the reasons that it almost definitely, definitely won’t happen.
Scottish with a slightly stern look and a background in both drama and comedy. Does that remind you of anyone? Of course Imrie has already appeared in Doctor Who alongside Matt Smith in The Bells of St John, but as we know a previous appearance is hardly much of a barrier to taking the lead role. It’s also certainly not out of the question that this could be the time when we see the Doctor regenerate into a woman. What is significantly less likely is that Capaldi will regenerate into a 64 year old woman and for that reason it almost definitely, definitely won’t happen.
Another actor who has demonstrated an ability to switch between comedy and drama and succeed at both. Kaluuya was named on a few of these type of lists after previous regenerations and he has proven himself as a genuinely terrific actor. Since then he has moved to the States and is currently starring in the well received horror movie Get Out. With his star in the ascendancy he is unlikely to want to be tied down to the kind of production schedule Doctor Who operates so this looks like a Doctor we have missed out on. For that reason it almost definitely, definitely won’t happen.
Spall fits nicely into the Roger Allam camp of improving everything that he is in. He has been one of Britain’s finest character actors for years and seems to just get better with age. It feels surprising actually that he has never appeared in Who given his regular appearances on British TV over the last several decades. At 6o years of age he isn’t massively older than Capaldi, but with the show ever more fast paced it’s likely there would be doubts about his ability to keep up with the physical side of the role. For that reason it almost definitely, definitely won’t happen.
Doc Brown/Ben Bailey Smith
There is a rich tradition of comedians making appearances in Doctor Who. Matt Lucas will be a regular companion in the coming series and Catherine Tate was brilliant as Donna Noble alongside David Tennant. Brown’s acting career is limited, but he is a huge talent who has shown an ability to turn his hand to almost anything. With a new showrunner coming in it would be a gamble to hand the lead to such a relatively inexperienced actor and with Brown having success as a comedian, actor, children’s writer and presenter it’s far from certain he would want to be tied down anyway. For that reason this almost definitely, definitely won’t happen.
Sticking with the comedy/music theme Suttie is most likely to be familiar to people as Dobby from Peep Show. She is a more than capable actor and talented comedian who would bring some of the Doctor’s inherent eccentricity to the role. Like Brown with a successful stand-up career her acting credits are relatively limited and if we do see a shift to a female Doctor it is likely they would want to cast a more established name. For that reason this almost definitely, definitely won’t happen.
Another of Britain’s finest character actors Jones’ CV is varied and extensive covering everything from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the low-key and simply wonderful BBC4 sitcom The Detectorists. Once again the programme makers would have to navigate the fact that he has already appeared in the series as the Dream Lord, however given that the character was revealed to be a manifestation of the Doctor’s darker impulses that wouldn’t be too difficult. Once again the biggest challenge would most likely be to get Jones to tie himself down to one project given the amount of varied work he receives and my suspicion is also that after Capaldi they will move towards a younger Doctor. For those reasons this almost definitely, definitely won’t happen.
At the risk of turning this into a list of ‘friends of Wittertainment’ (Hello to Jason Isaacs) I include Isaacs as an actor with the quality and range to take the role of the Doctor in his stride. He is also an actor who has shown a willingness to work on longer television series. Unfortunately our American friends got there first and last week it was announced he would be helming the new Star Trek series. For that reason this one definitely, definitely won’t happen.