Tom Jolliffe with an outsider’s opinion on who could play the next Doctor in Doctor Who…
There’s a certain level of fandom reserved for a select type of film or TV show. Think of Trekkies, or Star Wars nuts, or Adam Sandler fans…okay, forget Adam Sandler, but as well as those who know the exact design breakdowns of the Enterprise or the Death Star down to the amount of coffee dispensers, there’s also a group of fans who know all there is to know about Doctor Who. They can explain exactly the science behind the Tardis, or that screwdriver thingy that the Doctor uses. Hell, they know what that thingy is called. Maybe they’ve been avid fans since the relaunch in 2005, or perhaps some of the elder Who geeks have stood by since the days of the Bakers’ or Davison, Pertwee, McCoy etc.
I’m not a Who fan. I don’t dislike the show, I’ve just never got hooked into it. Truth is I don’t watch a great deal of TV. I’ve caught episodes here and there. The closest I came to being reeled in was during David Tennant’s run, along with Billie Piper. There were some great episodes to be fair. I’ve also watched the odd Christmas Special too, and generally enjoyed it without perhaps getting lost in it.
As with most geek fodder with such followings, the issue of casting is always a point of contention. Matt Smith’s casting was met with derision in some sections or cries of “who?” in others. In the end, by the time he departed he was missed. From the outside looking in, the casting of Peter Capaldi (aka Malcolm Tucker) was left field, inspired and interesting. Whenever I’ve caught him in passing on the show he’s looked the part, although I found myself beginning to miss poisonous, expletive laden rants about “Dalek f***ers” that I’d expect from Doctor Tucker.
So whilst I’m not an avid fan, I appreciate the quality and broad appeal of the show and without any fervent passion, for or against certain suggestions (“A female Doctor?? How very dare you suggest such a thing you ruddy swine!!”) I’m going to put forward a few suggestions for the next Doctor. Firstly I’ll address the bookies favourite, Olivia Colman. Brilliant choice. She’d be fantastic. A lot of Who-ites will be open to that, a lot will be fervently, and perhaps frothily lipped, against. She’s a quality actress and could also most definitely provide the charm and quirk required for the Doctor.
My first shout was one I heard, ever so slightly in jest, on the radio. However, whilst it is completely left of field, there’s a certain brilliance to the suggestion. Comedian Ross Noble. Known primarily for his standup work and appearances on comedy panel shows (though don’t hold that against him), with his brand of strange humour and distinct look, I actually think he’d genuinely make a great Doctor. Very different, but also with a madcap quality that could suit the character very well. Whether he could provide any dramatic weight in the more intense moments is up for debate, but he’s worked in TV and film.
For some similar reasons my next suggestion is Richard Ayoade. I think from Doc to Doc, you need to be markedly different. From what I watched, Capaldi was more of straight Doctor. A little more gravitas, probably reverting closer to Christopher Ecclestone for example. I think a huge pinch of quirkiness, bordering on strange could work well. Ayoade would be good. That geekish awkwardness could work, plus Ayoade is generally brilliant. You also have the option for him to turn his hand to directing an episode too and he’s already proven himself as a director to watch for.
As ever, whenever any well established franchise is being recast, suggestions fly around the internet like an exploding bag of skittles. I’ve also seen Brian Blessed’s name a few times. Let’s face it, that would be amazing. In fact I’d definitely tune in every week, but even as vivacious and loud as Brian remains, he’s probably too old for the part now.
Richard E. Grant has often been mentioned in passing over the years. The I to his Withnail, Paul McGann has already played the part. Grant also played The Doctor in a series of animated films, but he’d certainly bring gusto to the part were he given the nod for the live action version.
Just to annoy some folk, I’ll go back to another female suggestion. I’d love to see Jennifer Saunders or Dawn French play the role, but doing so as if it’s a French and Saunders sketch. Granted it may only work as a one off special, but I’d still watch it. In a more serious suggestion, Helena Bonham Carter is almost always brilliant. At her most bizarre she’d suit the part down to a tee. For the same reasons I’d also consider Tilda Swinton.
Ben Whishaw’s name has been mentioned, and he’s right up there in the bookies list. I think in every aspect he’d be a top choice. Comedically, dramatically and with enough of potential in the oddball department.
Now for a couple of really left of field suggestions: Boris Johnson. If he were an actor (though some may already wonder if in fact he is) he’d be great. Plus giving him the role will keep him busy for a year and thus out of trouble. You know, the Brexit thing, or now being our representative overseas. Maybe it’s better he’s the worlds representative in the galaxy. His first entrance undoubtedly has to be via zip-wire. Or maybe Jeremy Clarkson? Perhaps The Doctor is a little too politically correct and needs spicing up in these increasingly more right wing times.
So there we have it, a few names that may or may not (and definitely won’t) be in consideration. Fans, casual observers, or full on Who geeks, let us know your picks.