Unless you have been living under two rocks in the middle of the Sahara Desert for the last 50 years, you’ve seen a blue Police Box and its two hearted occupant; “The Doctor”. Yes, I am talking about the world’s favorite time traveler, Doctor Who and his blue TARDIS.
I was introduced to Doctor Who in the early 80s while watching PBS (one of the few channels that we had on our old turn knob television set) one Sunday afternoon; when all of a sudden I came across a silly man wearing a long colorful scarf, a brown suede fedora, and having grand adventures. Throughout the 80s incarnations of this altruistic humanoid alien, I watched Doctor Who on PBS (from Tom Baker to Sylvester McCoy) until my parents got one of those huge satellite dishes and we had more than 5 channels to peruse. Fast forward to 2006…I had graduated from college in 2005 and had a place of my own. I also had broken down and paid the extra money for a satellite TV. Late one night that first week of having more channels to watch, I come across a beautiful blonde running around with the guy from one of my favorite movies, Gone in Sixty Seconds, now clad in a leather jacket. Needless to say I checked the show’s information and realized that this was a new Doctor Who show. After a few searches on the internet, I realized that I had missed a whole season of this reincarnation by not having satellite and that this new Doctor had already been replaced with another Doctor. So…I binged watched all of the 9th Doctor’s episodes and got caught up with the 10th Doctor’s episodes and continued along the way. This new incarnation would quickly become one of my favorite things.
As any Doctor Who fan knows, the Doctor changes. If your not familiar with Doctor Who, he is similar to James Bond and multiple characters have played the same person; except with The Doctor, a plot device was created for the show thusly allowing the Time Lords (the race of alien’s that The Doctor belongs to) to have the biological ability to regenerate their cellular structure and completely change their appearance. On the show this regeneration is how The Doctor ‘recovers’ from death but in reality it is how the originators of the show wanted the ability to continue the show, Patrick Troughton took over for William Hartnell after he became deathly ill in real life and had to leave the show. The Doctor character’s regenerations happen on screen when an actor leaves (or is fired from) the position. So far we have had 13 on screen regenerations and it would appear that when Season 10 with our current Doctor (portrayed by Peter Capaldi) is over, we need to prepare for another Doctor to take his place. Capaldi announced in January of this year that it was time to move on to other things despite loving Doctor Who. Since we are left with yet again ANOTHER regeneration to look forward to, that leaves me wondering who is going to be the next Doctor? I have compiled my list of my top ten potential choices based on the input and speculation over the years and the ones that I think would bring the most to the table by taking the helm and huge pop culture responsibility of becoming The Doctor.
So here are the Top Cat’s Top 10: Who’s the New Doctor Who?:
10. Hugh Laurie – He’s already played a Doctor on TV but just imagine the line delivery and performance from English actor, writer, singer, musician, comedian, and director Hugh Laurie. I mean…it would be Doctor House becoming Doctor Who. He’s a Golden Globe and Screen Actor’s Guild winning actor who was in the Guinness World Book of Records as the most watched leading man on TV! I think that his acting prominence will keep him from becoming The Doctor but it is fun to imagine.
9. Robert Carlyle – During the speculation period between Doctor’s 10 and 11, we didn’t know that Matt Smith would be our next Doctor. After we found out that David Tennant was leaving the show, there was much speculation that Robert Carlyle was going to be the next Doctor. I had only seen Carlyle in Trainspotting and 28 Weeks Later; and I hadn’t seen either of those in a long time. But as things go, he was not cast as our next Doctor but who is to say that his prominence and being the front runner in the past would put him at the top of the pick-list.
8. Russell Tovey – If you’re familiar with other BBC shows, you’ve probably seen my number 9 choice. You may have seen Tovey as the werewolf, George Sands, on the BBC show Being Human or if your keen eye isn’t fooling you; you may recognize him from his current stint on ABC’s series Quantico. Oh. I forgot to mention that he’s been on Doctor Who before. Twice actually. He starred in the 2007 Christmas Special as Alonso Frame and he reprised his role again in the 2009-2010 Christmas special, “The End of Time”. My speculation is high on Tovey being cast as the Doctor (despite his low placement) because in 2007, Russell T. Davies, Doctor Who’s executive producer and head writer suggested that Tovey could be the replacement for then Doctor, David Tennant. Despite currently being cast in an on-going show, the history of Doctor Who reusing ‘old faces’ and the huge recommendation a couple of years ago by the show’s executive producer….I’d say that odd’s are forever in his favor. And no that wasn’t a slight homage to the Hunger Games.
7. Jason Isaacs – Do you not recognize the name? Well, this seasoned actor has usually played a protagonist on film (everything from voicing Ra’s al Ghul in a Batman animated film to his portrayal of the cold-blooded British commander Colonel William Tavington in Mel Gibson’s Revolutionary War action-drama The Patriot to his most famous role as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movie series). That’s right. I’m suggesting that Lucius Malfoy be The Doctor! How can I make such an audacious claim? Basically…he’s a seasoned British actor whom I think could bring a darker side to the Doctor that I think we all need. A darker, edgier side that we were promised to receive with Peter Capaldi, but alas never did.
6. Bill Nighy – Not Bill Nye the Science Guy. I’m referring to British theater, television, and film actor Bill Nighy. If you’re still clueless, he was the elder Vampire Viktor in the Underworld movies. Still not clear who he is? Well, he also starred in one of my favorite movies of all time as the Magrathean planet designer Slartibartfast in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. You still don’t remember? Jeez. Okay….last hint! He was Davy ‘friggin’ Jones from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise! Yeah…that guy! The thing that excites me about including Nighy in our list is the fact that he starred as Dr. Black in what could arguably be one of the greatest Doctor Who episodes and by far one of my favorite episodes, “Vincent and the Doctor”. Dr. Black is a curator at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. Oh did that ring some bells for you? Maybe Matt Smith’s Doctor saying that he would love to be a curator at a museum in “The Day of the Doctor” (which is another one of my other favorite episodes by the way) where at the end of the episode are joined by none other than the 4th Doctor Tom Baker who is….a curator at a museum! That’s a spiderweb of confusing back and forths but by George you have to see how that all works together beautifully. Oh I just got goose bumps writing it all down. The conspiracy works and even though the actor is in his 60s, I think that just hearing his voice retorting “I’m the Doctor” would make me squeal with girlish delight.
5. James Norton – Speaking of girlish delight. I’m not going to talk about this guy too much because I don’t want you to get too excited about seeing this heart throb becoming the new Doctor. The reason why is because Norton and Michael Fassbender (X-Men‘s new Magneto) are in the running to become the next James Bond. I say regretfully in the running because I really enjoy Daniel Craig as 007 and Norton would bring a lot to the table if he were cast as Doctor Who. An actor of his caliber, at his age, with his sex appeal…I imagine that, even though he’s a ginger, he would probably be our next James Bond before he would be our next Doctor Who.
4. Richard Ayoade – My cousin introduced me to The IT Crowd a short while ago and I binge watched every episode within a 3 day period. I have since re-watched every episode again because I enjoyed it immensely. Richard Ayoade and Chris O’Dowd’s on screen charisma and the show’s hilarious antics still have me cracking up to this day. In The IT Crowd, Ayoade’s character Maurice Moss quirky genius made the show. I would love to see the quick responses and quirky genius that Moss has shown in his many on screen characters and representations on Doctor Who. I think that his intelligence and quirkiness would be just what we and the Doctor needs.
3. Chris O’Dowd – Okay. So its not coincidental that these guys are together side by side on the list. They are both amazing choices but if I had to choose, I would want to see O’Dowd because Ayoade’s Moss character is AMAZINGLY FUNNY and I don’t know if I want to see him diverting too much from that character. I am sure that Ayoade could pull off the serious bits because he is a great actor but between O’Dowd’s stint on The IT Crowd, his time on the HBO show Girls, or his heart warming role in Christopher Guest’s series Family Tree; O’Dowd has the charisma and charm that would allow him to make a great Doctor.
2. Ben Whishaw – Ben Whishaw and our current but soon to be out the door Doctor, Peter Capaldi, have already starred together in the 2014 film, Paddington. Despite the fact that Whishaw only voiced the character, there is an existing connection. Besides this very obscure and completely unrelated connection, Whishaw is one of the top choices to be the next Doctor.
1. Rupert Grint – Rupert Grint, or as you may commonly know him Ron Weasley, has remained relatively out of the limelight since his multi-movie appearance as the goofy best friend of Harry Potter in the Harry Potter film series. Besides the Doctor finally becoming a ginger, Grint is bringing with him a career that has spanned since he was 11 years-old. At 28, he may be young but a fresh, yet extremely well known, face may be just we Whovians need. Bringing in the Harry Potter fan base to the Doctor Who universe would also be beneficial. As stated before, he would be one of the youngest actors to ever play the Doctor…but most of all, he would finally be a ginger. I’m not a Harry Potter ‘fan’, so to speak; so my pick isn’t all that fan oriented. I mainly pick him because I think that it would bring something to the show that we haven’t had in a long time.
Honorable mentions: Chris Barrie, David Harewood, Andrew Buchan and Rory Kinnear.
Noteworthy: Here comes the part that is going to make me unpopular. You might notice that my top 10 list was void of any potential female Doctors. My reasoning behind that is that I do not think that there should be a female Doctor. Before you get all bent out of shape and think less of me, let me explain. As I stated earlier, I have been a fan of Doctor Who since I was a child and I do not think that it will be for the betterment of the character to change ‘him’ into a woman. Do I think that the actresses that have been slated to potentially take the Doctor’s place are terrible choices? By no means do I think that Olivia Coleman or Tilda Swinton would make amazing choices if it were the right time. Why not have the Doctor die and allow his daughter to pilot the TARDIS; if we’re dying have a woman take the lead in the show. In Marvel comics, Iron Man has passed his mantle over to a young black woman named Riri Williams. Was I upset? No. Because after reading the story, the move seemed right. It was written beautifully. The mantle was handed over and the characters cohesively existed in the same universe. I just think that a decision to make the Doctor a woman would be politically charged and be done for shock value, more-so than to truly be a character development for the show. That is all. I’m not a racist bigot who doesn’t allow change. I just don’t want to see something tampered with for a politically motivated reason. So….don’t hate me for having a differing opinion; even if three of the former Doctor’s have agreed that the new Doctor needs to be a woman. 🙂
4. Tardis prop photo by and accredited to the original uploader was Zir at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2747260
7. Robert Carlyle photo by and accredited to vagueonthehow from Tadcaster, York, England – Robert Carlyle, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34824751
9. Jason Isaacs photo by and accredited to Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America – Jason IsaacsUploaded by maybeMaybeMaybe, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22896327
13. Chris O’Dowd photo by and accredited to Christopher William Adach from London, UK – WiPe – random_, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32538560
14. Ben Whishaw photo by and accredited to Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK – Judy and BenUploaded by tm, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27909421
16. David Tennant photo by and accredited to vagueonthehow from Tadcaster, York, England – Russell T Davies & David Tennant, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36733382