With the announcement a little while ago that Matt Smith would be relinquishing the leading role on the long running BBC series Doctor Who, the Internet has exploded with speculation and suggestions over who should be the next actor to play the Doctor. During that time, I was getting into the swing of things with a new job, and the blogging time in my schedule was occupied by my beloved Boston Bruins making a deep playoff run, then one thing led to another and it’s been over a month and I still haven’t written about Doctor Who. While it’s fun to speculate who will play such an important role on a TV show with an international following, sometimes it’s for the best that fans don’t get to make these decisions. Seriously, football fans in Atlanta wanted to originally name the Falcons the Atlanta Peaches, and fans in Cincinnati (the hardest city in America to remember how to spell) wanted to name the Bengals the Buckeyes before it was vetoed by team owner, president and former Ohio State head coach Paul Brown, but I digress. Here are some thoughts about some of the names I have heard and I’ll add some of my own to the list as well.
Who I would like to see:
Idris Elba has been awesome in every role of his that I have seen. Whether it’s Baltimore drug kingpin Stringer Bell on The Wire or unconventional lawman John Luther on BBC’s Luther, Elba is usually the most compelling performer on the screen in any scene he is in. Elba has expressed an interest in becoming the first black James Bond, and that would be amazing, but he might also be the best candidate to be the first black Doctor. Also it would be amazing if Idris Elba was the Doctor and they cast Dominic West as the Master for a little reunion of the two nemeses from David Simon’s streets of Baltimore who were played quite convincingly by British actors. You disappoint me, Doctor. I had such hopes for us!
Patrick Stewart. I’m hoping the next Doctor is older than Matt Smith. If he gets any younger, the companions won’t want to hang out with him because he’ll be just some annoying kid who talks about the universe a lot.Patrick Stewart has been brilliant as Professor X in the X-Men movies and as Captain Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He’s a Shakespearean actor who would be excellent at portraying the old man of the universe while also making him someone younger people can relate to.
Dermot Crowley is my top sleeper candidate to play the Doctor. He currently co-stars with Idris Elba on Luther where he brilliantly plays the strict older policeman with a steel trap mind. He was also in Return of the Jedi back in the day and auditioned for the role of the 7th Doctor in the 80s before they ultimately cast Sylvester McCoy. Since he is not already a household name, he might actully be the best candidate for the role. If you cast Patrick Stewart, people will want to see Captain Picard. If you cast Benedict Cumberbatch, people will want to see Sherlock Holmes. If you cast Dermot Crowley, you will get the Doctor.
Maggie Smith. Someday there may very well be a female Doctor. Why not today? And why not Maggie Smith? She was perfectly cast as Professor Minerva McGonagall in eight Harry Potter movies, she holds a lot of wisdom, and i would just be awesome. Of course she is very recognizable, and she probably keeps a busy schedule so this one is a pipe dream more than anything else.
Who I wouldn’t like to see:
Benedict Cumberbatch would be way too much like Matt Smith! Why is everyone on the Internet saying they want him as the Doctor? I don’t get it. Yeah, he’s great and quirky as Sherlock Holmes, but I don’t want to see him play the same character again except this time with a police box shaped spaceship.
Johnny Depp. Seriously, people. He’s not British, he’s too busy and too famous, and he’s not even that good anymore. I’m tired of seeing so many movies with promising premises turn into “The Johnny Depp Show” after he gets cast. Tim Burton’s Alice and Wonderland from a few years ago gave the Mad Hatter way too much screen time because Mr. Burton is obsessed with Mr. Depp.
Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Richard Maddon, or any actor under 30. They’re too young. I don’t want to see a Ron Weasley Doctor just yet. That would be more annoying than anything else.
The other interesting thing to look out for:
John Hurt was briefly introduced as a past incarnation of the Doctor. There are a lot of theories on the matter, and I’m not going to get into that, but it will be interesting to see what’s up with that in the 50th Anniversary special this November. Every fan has their own ideas on who they would like to see on the show, but I have faith that Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat will choose the next Doctor based on the direction he wants the character to go in and not just who the most famous or most popular available actor is. The great thing about the show is that the main character has evolved and grown over 50 years, but it is still the same character just played by different actors. It allows for the show to outlast any one person, maintain freshness, and continue with its own traditions all at the same time.
All we can do is speculate, but it will certainly give some extra incentive to tune into the show this winter.