Who will be the next Doctor? The question is a constant headache for Doctor Who fans (many of whom would rather they don’t find out until it actually happens), but it’s clearly also a lucrative money spinner for gambling companies hoping to cash in on the rumours surrounding the BBC1 show.
The “favourites” for one of the biggest roles in television keep changing, with betting companies treating the show like a football transfer market, trying to guess who will be the big summer signing.
Death in Paradise star Kris Marshall has remained the favourite ever since Easter. Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge is also regularly mentioned despite the fact that she’s making a new show in the United States and also filming the new Han Solo Star Wars film. Neither of these stars have specifically confirmed or denied the rumours.
What’s even weirder when it comes to the bets on who the next Doctor will be are the actors who have categorically denied that they are in the running.
Take Michaela Coel, for instance. The Chewing Gum star’s odds have been slashed in the last 24 hours from 20/1 to 8/1. So, perhaps something’s afoot?
Why is Michaela Coel one of the favourites to be the next star of Doctor Who?
The only problem is Coel has TWICE said on Twitter that she is definitely not the next Doctor. It could be a sneaky double bluff, but she seems pretty adamant.
Dr Who? Lol nah, I'm actually defintely not the next Dr Who. Also happy to collect the money you would have laid down in the betting shop.
— Michaela Coel (@MichaelaCoel) April 21, 2017
I'm just tweeting for the second time that I am not Doctor Who. Don't place bets on it and lose cash, I beg.
— Michaela Coel (@MichaelaCoel) June 15, 2017
Then there is comedian and actor Tom Rosenthal, who is clearly enjoying all the speculation surrounding him (he was at one point third favourite behind Marshall and Waller-Bridge).
— Tom ????osenthal (@rosentweets) July 3, 2017
For those asking if I'm the next Doctor Who unfortunately I have to keep it under wraps for my friends' Betfair accounts. pic.twitter.com/Q3O7I3sWuD
— Tom ????osenthal (@rosentweets) June 25, 2017
Looking at it cynically, doesn’t it feel like the bookies are only backing the ones that actually mention gambling?
Actor, comedian – and next Doctor? – Tom Rosenthal
That’s not to say that it’s not occasionally instructive to watch the markets. When Pearl Mackie was chosen as the new Doctor Who companion, a late flurry of bets were placed on her just before the big announcement, suggesting that at least some people in the know had tried to make a quick buck.
As the circle of people who know who the next Doctor will be gets wider, it’s highly likely we could see the same pattern again.
Furthermore, after RadioTimes.com reported that Fortitude star Luke Treadaway was “in the race” to be the next Doctor, his odds too were dramatically shortened. Bookies, just like diehard Whovians, watch for every update with keen interest.
While it pays to take the latest “favourite” with a pinch of salt, someone could yet regenerate their bank balance with a sneaky bet.
Just don’t ask Michaela Coel to pick up your winnings…