Last night came final confirmation that the twelfth Doctor has been chosen and will be revealed in a live BBC1 programme on Sunday evening.
A live unveiling.
Matt Smith didn’t get that – but he was pretty much an unknown. The BBC could hardly have risked wheeling him out in front of a live studio audience – and the rest of the nation – to the collective cry of “who?” (as opposed to “Who!”)
Does that mean the new Doctor could be someone most of the audience will recognise? Several of the most talked about candidates are stars (of varying degrees) in their own right and are certainly well known to the group of Doctor Who fans the BBC is gathering together at Elstree Studios on Sunday night (along with former Time Lords and their companions).
Bookie’s favourite Peter Capaldi was the star turn as venom-spewing spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker in BBC satire The Thick of It. He also has Doctor Who previous, having starred as Roman merchant Lucius Caecilius in series-four episode The Fires of Pompeii, as well as in spin-off Torchwood, and is well known as an avid Doctor Who fan (see this letter he wrote to Radio Times, aged 15, as evidence).
Rory Kinnear is a little less high-profile – with a lot of theatre work, but also two James Bond films, under his belt – yet he’s the man many Who aficianados have been clamouring for, so his casting would elicit a decent cheer from the audience on Sunday (despite other filming commitments, he could still sneak in a quick regeneration in time for Christmas).
Other recognisable faces who both the bookies and the fans are keen on include Daniel Rigby, of Eric & Ernie, Black Mirror and the BT ads, Skyfall’s Q, Ben Whishaw (although he has supposedly ruled himself out) and Law & Order: UK star Ben Daniels (who was coy to the point of coquettishness when the question was put to him recently).
There’s also a suggestion that the BBC is keen to bolster the profile of Doctor Who in the US and would therefore like a star who is recognisable to audiences across the Atlantic (is Homeland’s Damian Lewis too big a name?)
Whoever it is, the decision to do a live reveal points to a twelfth incarnation who will get a big reaction when unveiled, and that suggests it’s someone we already know – or that we’re about to meet the first black or female Doctor.