Doctor Who – Who, Indeed?


It’s that time, again. A period that sees every die-hard sci-fi fan’s mental state fluctuate between catatonia through to hysterical fits of apoplectic shock, yearning desperately for news like Popeye craves tins of spinach. It’s soon to be the announcement of the next Doctor Who star, at 11am PDT (7pm GMT) this coming Sunday.

There’s been months of intense speculation over who might play the latest iteration of everyone’s favorite, space faring Time Lord. Almost two months has elapsed since the BBC revealed that Matt Smith, the current Doctor Who lead, will hang up his dickey bow and depart from our screens. The announcement is as follows:

“… Matt Smith is to leave Doctor Who after four incredible years on the hit BBC One show. Matt first stepped into the TARDIS in 2010 and will leave the role at the end of this year after starring in the unmissable 50th anniversary in November and regenerating in the Christmas special. During his time as the Doctor, Matt has reached over 30 million unique UK viewers and his incarnation has seen the show go truly global. He was also the first actor to be nominated for a BAFTA in the role.”

As mentioned, Matt Smith will reprise his role in a special BBC1 show, celebrating the show’s 50th anniversary, in which he must face his ultimate nemesis, the Daleks. In an exciting twist, which sees a return of the previous Doctor, David Tennant, the legendary actor, that is John Hurt, “fills the gap” between Paul McGann (Doctor no. 8) and Christopher Eccleston’s portrayals (Doctor no. 9), according to the show’s costume designer.

As for the future, a veritable, star-studded list of potentials has been thrown around media outlets and Internet forums, as the fans tap into their inner Nostradamus, hoping to predict who’s next in line to assume control of the TARDIS. My personal favorites include Sir Patrick Stewart, Olivia Colman and Helen Mirren (who’s recently ruled herself out of the running). Stewart and Mirren, however unlikely, are industry giants, offering considerable experience and charm, whereas Olivia Colman is more than capable of generating the eccentricity and passion, critical to filling Matt Smith’s sizable boots; Colman’s critically lauded performances, in Broadchurch and Run, also aptly demonstrate the power of her acting talents.

It would certainly be interesting to witness a female grabbing the helm and becoming the 12th Doctor; not simply by virtue of the fact that they are female, or on the grounds of political correctness, but because it would offer a unique and fresh spin on a role that has been dominated by men, since the program’s inception. What’s more, the Doctor Who lore provides plenty of scope to facilitate a female’s transition into the role. Indeed, suspicions have been raised further still, as Zoe Ball is due to host this weekend’s live, public announcement; however, the connection between Zoe ball, a female television presenter, and the next Doctor Who star being a woman is weak, at best.

In spite of what would seem like an overwhelming sense of desire for a female protagonist, however, the bookies favorites are firmly placed upon Peter Capaldi (aged 55), known for playing the expletive-machine that is Malcolm Tucker, from in The Thick of It. His candidacy had been forecast when Doctor Who creator, Steven Moffat, ruminated over the potential for an older Doctor, explaining “We’ve never not considered an older Doctor. It is completely on all the lists we make – there are absolutely older Doctors”. The following indicates the odds on who is set to replace Matt Smith, as the Doctor, bets of which have been placed at William Hills bookmaker:

Peter Capaldi: 11/8
Daniel Rigby: 9/2
Ben Daniels: 5/1
Rory Kinnear: 15/1
Andrew Scot 10/1

Regardless of mindless speculation, Whovians, as they are imaginatively entitled, are sure to be watching this Sunday night with great intrigue and anticipation. Is this the year of surprise? Only time will tell.

Written By: James Fenner

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