Who should play the 13th Doctor in Doctor Who?

Peter Capaldi is leaving at the end of series 10 but who will be the next actor or actress to take control of the Tardis?

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Peter Capaldi has announced he will stand down as the 12th Doctor at the end of the upcoming series 10 of Doctor Who, paving the way for incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall to choose a new actor or actress to lead his adventures in space and time when he takes over in 2018.

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But who should take control of the Tardis controls? Will there finally be a female Doctor? Could an actor from an ethnic minority be chosen to take the lead?

The options are as infinite as the universe, which is why we have compiled some for you to peruse, discuss and debate over the following pages…

Kris Marshall

After four years on Death in Paradise, Kris Marshall leaves his cushy job filming in the Caribbean just as Peter Capaldi reveals he’s quitting Doctor Who and we’re supposed to think that’s a coincidence? Ha! Marshall’s turn as the quirky but brilliant detective has certainly been enough to convince some fans he’d be perfect for the role of the Doctor.

Paterson Joseph

Paterson Joseph is a perennially rumoured Doctor – but there’s good reason for that. The Peep Show star actually auditioned to become the Time Lord’s Eleventh incarnation before the role was eventually given to Matt Smith and told RadioTimes.com that simply being considered “was a marvellous moment. I feel like I’m part of the Doctor Who story.” With many fans now clamouring for a non-white Doctor, maybe he soon will be.

Maxine Peake

At the time of writing, bookies were making Maxine Peake one of the favourites to take over from Peter Capaldi, becoming the first female Doctor in the process. It wouldn’t be the first time the Silk and Shameless actor has reassigned a character’s gender – in 2014 she played Hamlet on stage.

Ben Whishaw

It’s no surprise that Ben Whishaw has immediately become the bookies’ favourite to be named as the thirteenth Doctor. With a varied acting CV, Ben is known for niche indie projects like Nathan Barley, London Spy and The Hour as well as huge Hollywood films like The Danish Girl, Suffragette and being a brilliant Q in the James Bond franchise. He already has a global presence and would be ideal to take over the TARDIS.

Sam Heughan

Scottish actor Sam Heughan would continue a fine tradition of Scottish men taking control of the Tardis. The Outlander star already has a tentative connection to the Time Lords too, as his character, Jamie Fraser, was inspired by the 2nd Doctor’s time travelling Scottish highlander pal Jamie McCrimmon.

Heughan is a BIG fan of Peter Capaldi’s and when asked if he’d fill his shoes on Twitter he didn’t seem to have any issues with the idea.

There’s just one problem, though. Outlander’s already scheduled to film a fourth series, and with series three still filming, Heughan wouldn’t have much space and time. Then again, that’s something of a Time Lord specialty, innit?

Richard Ayoade

Maurice Moss might not have been the best choice to enter the TARDIS. He would probably have felt trapped – like a moth in a bath. But The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade would be brilliant. An accomplished director, actor and presenter, he is quickly establishing himself as one of the country’s best and most versatile talents. Plus, having the ability to travel all of Space and Time would make filming Travel Man a lot easier.

Alexander Vlahos

Merlin and Versailles star Alexander Vlahos has made no secret of the fact that he wants to take over the Whoniverse. In fact, he’s laid it bare for everyone – including the Doctor Who official twitter account – to see.

Speaking with RadioTimes.com last summer, Vlahos said playing the Doctor was his dream.

“My earliest memory is watching Doctor Who on VHS. I would die a happy man if I got to be on that show, even if I was inside a Dalek and you never saw my face,” he said. “I’m a fan first, actor second, but I would love to be the Doctor one day.” His fans have already been rallying behind him on Twitter – could 2017 finally be his time to shine?

Sue Perkins

Her Bake Off days are done and dusted so could now be the time for Sue Perkins to flex her thespian muscles and take on one of British TV’s biggest roles? Fans are eager for the comedian to have a crack at the Tardis – and when they launched a campaign to get her on board in 2013, Perkins was “beyond flattered”.

Thing is, though, she’s quite busy with panel shows like Insert Name Here and The Big Spell at the moment. And with rumours of a potential new BBC cooking series with partner in crime Mel and Mary Berry still doing the rounds, Perkins may not have much spare time to save the universe.

Sacha Dhawan

Having previously appeared in Doctor Who behind-the-scenes biopic An Adventure in Space and Time, Dhawan has some history with the sci-fi series, perhaps explaining why he’s one of the most buzzed-about candidates for the next Doctor.

Rumour has it the producers are looking for a young and dashing Time Lord this time round, so Dhawan could be just the man they need – and his recent appearance on BBC Wales’ Sherlock can only help the Cardiff team’s familiarity with him.

Lara Pulver

If the production team were to go down the female Doctor route, Pulver would be a popular choice with fans. After a starmaking turn in fellow BBC Wales series Sherlock as Irene Adler, Pulver hasn’t quite landed a big lead role worthy of her talents – and this could be just the next big step she needs.

Bertie Carvel

Doctor Foster’s Carvel has actually appeared in Doctor Who before – albeit as a tiny bit part in 2007’s The Lazarus Experiment – and it’d be great to see him make a return in the lead role.

Recently Carvel’s star has been on the rise with lead roles in Babylon, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and Doctor Foster, but he’s not yet a household name, so he might be in JUST the right position to be cast.

Robert Carlyle

He’s the type of actor that you would more easily see portray the Master rather than the Doctor, but Trainspotting actor Robert Carlyle has long been mentioned in Doctor Who despatches. He was reportedly in line to play the Eleventh Doctor after David Tennant announced his departure. He laughed off the reports in a 2008 interview with Radio Times, saying “Nobody has been in touch with me about Doctor Who,” although he cannily left the door open for a potential call. “It’s David’s part and nothing to do with me, so I can’t really think about it at the moment. But… would I do it? Possibly.” Who would say no to this face? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmuO3DnZEE4

Hayley Atwell

After the cancellation of her Marvel spin-off Agent Carter and the dim hopes of a renewal for US series Renewal,  British star Atwell will be looking for another star vehicle, and she’s expressed interest in playing the Doctor before. When asked if she’d like to be in Doctor Who, she instead insisted “I’d like to BE Doctor Who” – and if they’re looking for a female Time Lord, the BBC couldn’t do much better.

Domnhall Gleeson

Irish actor Gleeson (son of Harry Potter star Brendan) has already cut his teeth on high-profile sci-fi as the evil General Hux in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so it’s no surprise that fans are already questioning if he could be the next Time Lord. The Doctor’s wanted to be ginger since his David Tennant days, so this could be his chance!

Jack Davenport

From a belligerent Scot to a debonair Englishman, actor Jack Davenport would certainly bring a touch of classic Who charm to the Tardis.

He also has an intriguing connection to Doctor Who: his wife is Missy actress Michelle Gomez, and he starred in current showrunner Steven Moffat’s noughties sitcom Coupling.

Moffat even told Radio Times how the three of them were out partying when he revealed his ambition to make Doctor Who. “She [Michelle Gomez] recalls – and I do not – when we were all out in Montreux in 2001 and Coupling won the Silver Rose [at the Rose d’Or Light Entertainment Festival]. We all went out and partied, so drunk we could hardly speak, and I said, ‘I swear I’m gonna make Doctor Who one day.’ I do like the fact that this conversation took place between the future showrunner and the future Master.”

Can we add a future Doctor to that list?

Nikesh Patel

He may be an outside candidate, but Indian Summers’ Patel would bring a young, fresh face to the Doctor, as Matt Smith did when Steven Moffat first took over the series. He also wouldn’t be the youngest star to take over the Tardis mantle, with the 31-year-old actor already older than Smith and Fifth Doctor Peter Davison when they took on the Doctor role.

James Norton

War & Peace, Happy Valley and Grantchester have made James Norton a household name in the UK already but a leading role in Doctor Who would send his star soaring in the sci-fi world. He’s only dipped his toe in that universe with a minor Black Mirror role.

Norton’s been busy filming Grantchester series three and new crime drama McMafia, plus he’s got a role in the US reboot of Flatliners to come, so it’s hard to see how he’d fit it all in.

Stranger things have happened in the Whoniverse though, so Who knows?

Andrew Scott

Sherlock star Scott is a firm favourite among fans of the Baker Street detective for his take on the malevolent James Moriarty but could he do a u-turn and play a hero for a change? His name was in the mix when Matt Smith was due to depart, but Scott remained coy about the possibility of taking on the role.

The Irish actor’s star really ascended when he secured a role in James Bond outing Spectre in 2015 and he’s got a few film roles lined up, but his next role on the London stage is Hamlet – and we all know 10th Doctor David Tennant has form in that role. Could Scott follow in his footsteps TWICE in the one year?

Damien Molony

Fans of BBC3’s supernatural drama Being Human will remember Molony’s funny, convincing turn as OCD vampire Hal, an ancient soul in a youthful body struggling to make sense of the human world. Remind you of anyone?

Tom Hughes

Let’s face it, Doctor Who needs to be rejuvenated and who better to do so than the handsome Victoria star who gave the role Prince Albert some right royal sex appeal? Plus it would make for one hell of a reunion should Jenna Coleman return as Clara to meet her fate on Gallifrey.

Navin Chowdhry

Having done sterling work for years (you’ll have seen him most recently as Anwar on Doctor Foster and before that as Kurt on Teachers), it would be terrific to see Chowdhry finally break through to the big time and land the role of the Time Lord. Charismatic and with a natural gravitas, he’d have the Daleks quaking.

Shaun Evans

He’s otherworldly, edgy, unknowable and with a hint of danger about him. But if Evans being cast as Peter Capaldi’s successor means there’d be fewer episodes of Endeavour as a result, then we wouldn’t be all that happy, to be honest. Perhaps he could use the Tardis to be in two filming locations at the same time?

Amanda Mealing

As Casualty’s Connie Beauchamp, Amanda Mealing spends a lot of time near the Tardis – the drama’s fictional Holby General is next door to the Doctor Who set at BBC’s Cardiff studios. Speaking to RadioTimes.com at the National Television Awards last week, before Capaldi announced he was stepping down, Mealing admitted she’d already had a snoop around Doctor Who’s digs and even pitched herself as the first female Doctor. “I’d do it in heels as well,” she added. Better get chatting to your neighbours, Amanda!

Mathew Baynton

A failing of Doctor Who in recent years has been its tendency to bring the drama to a halt with grandiose, bombastic speeches. Baynton would introduce some much-needed warmth and humour, while also keeping the action fleet-footed. He’d also immediately chime with the show’s target audience thanks to his numerous Horrible Histories sketches.

Rebecca Root

With all this talk of casting a female Doctor, how about a transgender one? When we spoke to her back in 2015, Boy Meets Girl star Rebecca Root told RadioTimes.com “I’d love to be the first transgender Doctor,” adding that she regularly petitions Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat about it.

She’s further demonstrated her love of the show by voicing an alien in a Doctor Who audio adventure – and casting a fan in the role is not exactly without precedent…

Michael Socha
He has the cult credentials (Being Human, Once Upon a Time), a face that younger fans could rally round and a no-nonsense, working class delivery that’s been missing since the Christopher Eccleston years. More importantly, Socha has such sadness in his eyes that you can well imagine his Doctor having experienced several lifetimes’ worth of intergalactic angst.
Aneurin Barnard
Thirteen and White Queen star Aneurin has been making quite the name for himself on British TV over the past few years so could he take the next step and become the nation’s most beloved time traveller?
Back in 2013 he was hotly tipped to take over from Matt Smith after he told RadioTimes.com he’d “absolutely” be interested in the role.
“It’s one of those roles that has lived through time. That is not a pun, by the way. It does sound like one but it’s not. It’s an endless tale and what’s interesting about Doctor Who is it can go in any direction at any point and every Doctor is taken very differently” he said at the time.

Danny Dyer

With all this talk of casting a female or ethnic actor as the Doctor, no-one’s mentioned making the Time Lord Cockney. True, David Tennant did have a London twang but, let’s be honest, he was no Danny Dyer. So could the King of the Queen Vic become the Lord of the Tardis? Dyer’s EastEnders contract is due to run out later this year and the man himself says “I’d be interested in it. I could see myself in the scarf and all that.”

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“I think I could do it easy,” he told the Daily Star. “I’d keep my accent too.” Watch this space for Doctor Dyer versus the Daleks…