Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

'Doctor'...Who? A Semi-Serious List of Potential Twelfth Doctor Candidates

Christine Bancroft |
June 8, 2013 | 12:48 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Matt Smith will depart the show after the 2013 Christmas special—so Who's next?
Matt Smith will depart the show after the 2013 Christmas special—so Who's next?
After learning that the regeneration of the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) is looming due to Smith's recently announced plans for leaving the series, the Internet has been bandying about names for potential replacements. Smith, who stated that he plans to leave after this year's Christmas special, first appeared on the show in 2009 after Tenth Doctor David Tennant's departure.

A word of forewarning: I would prefer a lesser-known actor to take the helm, preferably one with largely stage experience rather than television, but, by virtue of the lesser-known quality, he or she probably won't appear on this list. 

Because he or she is unknown, and I don't know actors who are unknown. Because they are unknown. You see my dilemma?

So who should be the new Doctor? In various levels of seriousness, I present to you: my picks for the Twelfth Doctor.

Julian Rhind-Tutt

This actor, fresh off from playing the manipulative Angus McCain in the BBC's period drama "The Hour," would be an interesting pick for the role. This year, he'll be appearing as Mr Todhunter in "The Lady Vanishes," but he's perhaps best known as Dr. "Mac" Macartney from the 2004-2007 show "Green Wing." He's older than Matt Smith, the youngest Doctor in the history of the show; he's ginger, a much desired quality in past incarnations of the Doctor. 

Additionally, he's got great hair, regardless of color.

He could finally be ginger! (Tumblr)
He could finally be ginger! (Tumblr)

Anna Chancellor 

Another "The Hour" alum, this actress also appeared in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "Kavanagh QC." While the Doctor has never been portrayed by a female actor, there is some canonical evidence to say that Time Lords can change sex in regeneration. Both "The Doctor's Wife" (2011) and the unaired 1979 episode "Shada" (which also has a novelization by Douglas Adams) say that the Time Lord Corsair had been both male and female throughout regenerations. Anna Chancellor not only has excellent comedic timing, but also could portray a more serious Doctor in contrast to Matt Smith's outwardly childish facade.

She was awesome as Lix Storm in "The Hour" and "Doctor Who" can always have room for more sass.
She was awesome as Lix Storm in "The Hour" and "Doctor Who" can always have room for more sass.

Helena Bonham Carter

Do I think this is likely to happen? No. Do I think it would be awesome? Absolutely. Helena Bonham Carter is recognizable to nearly any audience viewer, from "Sweeney Todd" to "Les Misérables" to "Harry Potter." There is a reason she played Bellatrix Lestrange. She can do the wackiness that makes children love the show; she can do the simmering (sometimes genocidal) rage within the calm and tempered Time Lord—she's just unstable enough to be alien while keeping the performance "down-to-earth," so to speak. And it would be great. I love her so much.

Alas, my always-excellent ideas rarely come to fruition, but the world would be a very different place if they did.

Give me one reason why this should not happen and I will ignore it.
Give me one reason why this should not happen and I will ignore it.

 

Daniel Craig

Yes, I think that James Bond, a British cultural icon, should portray the Doctor, another British cultural icon. There are too few British actors to go around; the entire country has like 12 and most of them have already appeared in "Doctor Who" at least once. We can't get ahead of ourselves. 

(Not actually, but I really just wanted to include this picture of Craig and Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston from "Our Friends in the North" in 1996. Both with mullets.)

 

The 90s were a hard time for all of us. (Tumblr)
The 90s were a hard time for all of us. (Tumblr)

 

Julie Andrews

Because I want my long-held dream of "Doctor Whosical" to be realized, and I think Julie Andrews is the one to do it. She is the queen of Genovia; she knows that the hills are alive with the sound of music; and, most importantly, she played Mary Poppins, who, according to Neil deGrasse Tyson, is most definitely a Time Lord. Time Lady?

Her bag is bigger on the inside. I'm very suspicious.

 

I just nominate Julie Andrews for every part in "Doctor Who" and everything ever.
I just nominate Julie Andrews for every part in "Doctor Who" and everything ever.

Danny Pudi as Abed Nadir as Inspector Spacetime as the Twelfth Doctor

The Twelfth Doctor starts out his regeneration with an identity crisis. I can see it now. American, stuck at a Colorado community college, walking the battleground of some horrific paintball fight, with almost-familiar Blogons at his heels. The TARDIS is nowhere to be seen, only a lone red phonebox in its place. 

This is the newer "Doctor Who." Now with added Donald Glover.

I should write this show. I have great ideas. I don't understand why no one listens to me.

I can't think of a single con to this idea. (Tumblr)
I can't think of a single con to this idea. (Tumblr)

Lennie James

I know him best from "Jericho" in 2007, but he has also recently appeared in "Human Target," The Walking Dead," "Lockout" and the show "Human Target." I didn't realize he was British until after "Jericho" was (sadly) over, but his seriousness would do well to follow up Matt Smith's frenetic energy. Each Doctor is a product of the incarnation before. As the Doctor matures, his experiences weigh  heavily upon him (or her, as I've previously suggested). If the Twelfth Doctor truly is the last incarnation, it would be interesting to see how the Doctor handles his looming end. James might bring a more melancholy and serious Doctor to the table, which would contrast to Matt Smith's current incarnation, but it would be an interesting path for the show and the character. Additionally, the Doctor has been exclusively white and male—if there is any theme to the show, it is one of "change" that is constantly reinforced through regeneration and worlds and universes and timelines in flux. The role itself, too, should change along with it. It only makes sense.

Lennie James at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2008.
Lennie James at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2008.

Eddie Izzard

Izzard, who has recently appeared as serial killer Abel Gideon on NBC's "Hannibal" (an excellent show if you can stomach it, pun absolutely intended), is also known for his comedic routines and numerous television and movie appearances. He's smart as a whip, excellent at improvisation, bizarre enough for the role and was trained as a mime. If you don't think that's awesome, then I don't know what to tell you. He describes himself as an "action" or "executive" transvestite, reimagines historical and biblical events (with God portrayed by James Mason and Noah as Sean Connery) and is generally a fabulous human being. John Cleese described him as one of the "lost Pythons" and was described as number three on the list of the 100 Greatest British National Comedian. His humor would do well with some of the more serious aspects of the show—it is, after all, hugely popular with younger viewers and the humor is a big draw for audience numbers.

He might have to work on his language a little bit. Swearing is generally not acceptable on children's shows.
He might have to work on his language a little bit. Swearing is generally not acceptable on children's shows.

 

Tilda Swinton

She was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in "We Need to Talk About Kevin," the Academy Award for "Best Supporting Actress" for "Michael Clayton" in 2007 and starred alongside Tom Hiddleston and John Hurt (that Other Doctor, as we saw in "The Name of the Doctor") in "Only Lovers Left Alive." Swinton is known for her vast breadth of both arthouse and mainstream films. She might be too "big" a star for the show, as some have speculated that having an actor with too much "fame" would be detrimental, if only because the scheduling would be nearly impossible if he or she were to pursue other projects alongside "Doctor Who." Still, I think she would be a unique pick, if an unlikely one.

The Doctor could be ginger this way too!
The Doctor could be ginger this way too!

Chiwetel Ejiofor

If you've ever seen Joss Whedon's "Serenity" (yes, yes, yes), then you'll recognize Ejiofor for his role as "The Operative," a major antagonist in the film. He won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in 2007 for his role as the titular character in "Othello" and will appear in "12 Years a Slave" in 2013 as the main character Solomon Northup, whose autobiography is the basis for the Steve McQueen film. His name has been brought up numerous times in reference to "Doctor Who" and, prior to the Eleventh Doctor's arrival, he was suggested for the role numerous times. His sci-fi fanbase is already substantial due to "Serenity." Of all the candidates on this list (serious or otherwise), I think he's not only the best but also the most likely to land the role. At least, I certainly hope so. He has already stated that he would take the role if offered.

He's my top choice, in all seriousness. I loved him in "Serenity" and I would love him in "Doctor Who" for so many reasons.
He's my top choice, in all seriousness. I loved him in "Serenity" and I would love him in "Doctor Who" for so many reasons.

No matter who the next Doctor is, unknown or known, I intend to go in with an open mind. 

Honorable mentions: Idris Elba (my current love), Ben Whishaw, Saoirse Ronan, Antonia Thomas, Joseph Fiennes, Shobna Gulati, Sendhil Ramamurthy and Michelle MacErlean.

Reach Staff Reporter/resident Whovian Christine Bancroft here or find her on her dumb Twitter here.



 

Live On Twitter

Buzz

These are hard facts, people, not opinions.

The law finally caught up to him.

 


Comments

Anonymous (not verified) on June 17, 2013 10:25 AM

Heck yeah! Julie Andrews would be amazing!

Your rating: None
Anonymous (not verified) on June 13, 2013 9:12 PM

Looked up Michelle MacErlean. She's lovely, smart, mysterious, seemingly bas ass but refined British... and theater. How did you find her & where can I find out more? This would be an amazing 2013 curve ball choice!

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)
Anonymous (not verified) on June 13, 2013 9:12 PM

Looked up Michelle MacErlean. She's lovely, smart, mysterious, seemingly bas ass but refined British... and theater. How did you find her & where can I find out more? This would be an amazing 2013 curve ball choice!

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)
Anonymous (not verified) on June 11, 2013 4:40 AM

Yes I understand the thing with the Doctor being a female and all it would be cool but you are missing one VERY important factor... River Song!! She is the Doctors wife!!!

Your rating: None Average: 1 (3 votes)

Leave a comment

Name
E-mail*
URL
Comments*
ntrandomness