The New Doctor, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Trust the Moffat

If you haven’t seen “The Name of the Doctor,” proceed with caution.


So the news is out that Matt Smith is leaving “Doctor Who,” and I, for one, will be sad to see him go.  Before I go any further, though, let me just say:  I do not have a favorite doctor.  I have not watched classic Who. These are two important facts for the rest of our discussion.  I also want to be clear that I don’t actually believe that anyone cares who I think should be the next Doctor.

Anyway, I am a fan of Matt Smith.  I am also a fan of Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant.  I am not a big fan of change; that is my primary apprehension with the idea of a new Doctor.  There is a lot of change going on with the show’s mythos right now and while it’s a golden opportunity for a new regeneration, it is also quite a bit for the fans to wrap our minds around.  We had to say good-bye to River (we think?  I’m holding out hope.  I adore River.).  We are still having some major John Hurt issues.

Needless to say, rumors are flying about who will replace Smith as the Doctor on the upcoming Christmas Special.  Let’s look at some contenders.  In no particular order!

Benedict Cumberbatch

This is not going to happen.  Really, I just wanted an excuse to use the picture.  His name is being tossed around, but there is NO WAY that Cumberbatch is going to be on two Steven Moffat-helmed shows at the same time, while his star is rising in Hollywood.  Just won’t happen.  Ditto for Martin Freeman. I am also in the Cumberbatch-fan minority in that I don’t want to see him as the Doctor.  Just doesn’t work for me.  I can’t quite say why.

Tom Hiddleston

I don’t know much about Tom Hiddleston other than as Loki in the Avengers (which I haven’t actually seen except previews and clips because Netflix is holding it hostage but NEVERMIND), but I like the idea.  I also don’t think it’s going to happen. Hiddleston is becoming too well known and Doctors are almost always played by relatively unknown actors.  That said, I think this would be an interesting choice and a good option for taking the Doctor in a darker direction, which I think we can mostly agree is happening anyway.  Also, is naturally ginger, so maybe THAT would finally happen.

Rory Kinnear

Rory Kinnear is the bookkeeper’s favorite, with up to 3:1 odds.  (Seriously, who knew there were bookies for this?!) Honestly, I think that almost guarantees he won’t be the new Doctor.  I do think that he would be a good choice, although my experience with him is limited.  The more I try to picture it, though, the more I like it.

Jack Davenport

One of my top picks!  Jack Davenport has previous experience with Steven Moffat from “Coupling” (check it out if you’ve never seen it!), but who knows if that gives him any edge.  However, I think that he could carry out the role in a great way – he could be both goofy and dark, and I think that would be a good direction to take the character.  Since “Smash” is no longer on the air, too, this could be a possibility.

Ben Whishaw

Another one of my favorites.  I am a little worried about having two such young doctors back-to-back, though.  My only pick that seems to be on most of the “possibles” lists that are floating around.  Ben Whishaw is probably most familiar as Q in “Skyfall.”  He managed to steal all of his scenes in that, though, and I think he would be a great choice for the Doctor.

Rupert Grint/Daniel Radcliffe


I grouped these two together because I think they have about the same degree of likelihood, which isn’t much.  I would be happy(ish) to see either one in the role. Actually, I think I would prefer Dan, which Rupert has a lot of fan support (plus, he’s ginger).

The Girls


L to R:  Helen Mirren, Tilda Swinton, Olivia Colman.  All have been mentioned.  Helen Mirren, for one, has actually expressed interest in the part.  Olivia Colman previously appeared (as Olivia Coleman) in a tiny part during “The Eleventh Hour” (she was one of Prisoner Zero’s disguises).  While I am not opposed to a female Doctor, I don’t think this is the right time. The Doctor’s relationships with Rose and River are too fresh.  Maybe next time around.

A Few Other Contenders I Don’t Have Much to Say About

Russell Tovey Ben Daniels: The Next Doctor?


L to R, Top to Bottom:  Russel Tovey, Ben Daniels, Chris O’Dowd, Idris Elba, David Tennant, Paterson Joseph, Andrew Scott, Chiwetel Ojiofor.  Russel Tovey has a history with “Who,” since he appeared as Alonso on “Voyage of the Damned.”  David Tennant is a fan favorite and will be appearing on the fiftieth anniversary special in November, but would require some narrative finangling and honestly, that just doesn’t seem like Moffat’s style.  Andrew Scott has a history with Moffat, since he appeared as Jim Moriarty on “Sherlock.”  Chiwetel Ojiofor is considered a highly possible contender, but he was also when Smith was cast.  If I recall correctly, Paterson Joseph said publicly that he was the second choice for the role when Smith was cast (and was actually the first choice until Smith auditioned).

In all honestly, I would be surprised if any of these actors (or actresses!) were cast.  Matt Smith was a choice who really came out of thin air – no one guessed him until a day or two before the announcement was made.  Word from the BBC is that the new actor/actress will be announced before the Christmas Special starts filming in July.  One thing is certain:  the reaction from fans will be fascinating to watch!  Ben Whishaw seems to be leading in most polls, except the ones that include David Tennant (who is leading when included).  The odds-on favorite, Rory Kinnear, is not popular with fans.

Overall, I am a fan of the Doctor.  More than that, maybe, I am a fan of Steven Moffat.  I have seen him work magic with “Doctor Who,” “Sherlock,” and “Coupling,” and there isn’t a thing I would change about any of those shows.  So I am certain that whoever is cast, I’ll end up liking – though I can’t promise it will happen immediately.

Who do you think will be next in the TARDIS?

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