Fans of Doctor Who with a penchant for a flutter on who will land the role should take note: the part tends to go to a relative unknown.
Because while the many lists of possible candidates to be handed Matt Smith’s Sonic Screwdriver include well known actors such as Ben Whishaw (currently a 12/1 candidate according to William Hill) and Russell Tovey (at 10/1), the part is far more likely to go to someone unfamiliar to most TV audiences.
Christopher Eccleston had carried a few drama series before he was given the role and was probably the best known of the recent crop of Doctors when he landed it.
But a fairly familiar face was needed when he was cast more than eight years ago. After all, he carried the burden of premiering the show’s full-scale revival of the series under the auspices of Russell T Davies in 2005.
When the series became a hit and a fixture in the minds of younger audiences, it was perhaps far easier for producers to mould a less well-known actor in the image they wanted. David Tennant and Matt Smith were hardly household names before Doctor Who.
So RadioTimes.com has compiled a far more likely list of potential candidates, looking at some of the lesser-known actors – and crucially actors who have worked with Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat.
The new Doctor could be handed the keys to the Tardis as early as July, BBC sources have confirmed – with insiders suggesting Matt Smith’s replacement needs to be announced before the Doctor Who Christmas special begins filming next month.
The Twelfth Doctor is expected to first appear on screen at the end of the Christmas special, following the regeneration of the eleventh Doctor. The new series, expected to be 12 episodes long, begins filming in the autumn.
The male contenders
The Yorkshire born Coyle is well regarded in TV circles where he has appeared in a range of shows, most notably Moffat’s comedy drama Coupling as the sexually frustrated Jeff.
Probably best known for playing womanising Patrick Maitland in Coupling and Sir Timothy in Lark Rise to Candleford, 45-year-old Miles has the looks and on-screen panache to carry the role. Definitely a candidate if they wanted an older Doctor.
Another coupling star, this 39-year old Welshman has tried his hand at drama and comedy on TV and even donned his best pair of wheels for a stint in the hit rollerskating musical Starlight Express. Filming would be a home from home for this actor who lives in Cardiff where Doctor Who is shot.
Wowed audiences of Sherlock as a particularly sinister Moriarty. The world may yet be ready for an Irish Time Lord and this versatile 36-year-old would fit the bill perfectly.
There is much speculation that this might be the time for the first non-white Doctor. And RadioTimes.com finds it hard to think of a better candidate than Patterson Joseph. An accomplished actor with a wide array of roles behind him (including performances in the Doctor who episodes Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways) his hilarious turn as Alan Johnson in Peep Show proves that he can carry that hint of madness required of every Doctor.
…. and one female
The BBC has definitely not ruled out casting a female Doctor, so how about taking a punt on Lara Pulver? The 32-year-old actress impressed in her sassy turn as Irene Adler, aka The Woman, in Sherlock episode Scandal in Belgravia. It's unlikely she will ever recreate the full-frontal nude scene of that particular episode if handed the part – but there is no doubting she has the panache for the part of the Doctor.
...and one not to bet on…
The Episodes and Green Wing star tweeted earlier this week: “I see I’m 14/1 to be the new Doctor. Don’t waste your money.”