Tom Baker was hoping for a different female Doctor Who lead

Although "thrilled" with Jodie Whittaker, the Fourth Doctor wants to hand his scarf and jelly belly bag to someone else...

Tom Baker (BBC, HF)

Like many across the Whoniverse, Tom Baker was delighted at the prospect of Jodie Whittaker taking control of the Tardis – but the Fourth Doctor admits that if he had been in charge of casting, he may have passed down the sonic screwdriver to Dawn French.


Although “thrilled” by Whittaker’s unveiling (“So long as the girl comes over as an alien, a benevolent alien, she’ll be marvellous”), Baker suggested to GQ magazine that French would have been his first choice for a female Doctor.

“I would have thought Dawn French would have been a good Doctor Who, because she’s got such a wry sense of humour and also has a way with her that faintly [suggests] she’s got secrets,” Baker responded when asked who should play the Doctor in future.

Interestingly, French has cropped up in Doctor Who before. Well, sort of. The comedian appeared alongside her comedy partner Jennifer Saunders in the unaired Doctor Who skit The Silurian Disruption, released on VHS with Who Red Nose Day sketch The Curse of Fatal Death.

Dawn French (Getty, TL)
Dawn French (Getty, TL)

Baker, however, seems smitten with Whittaker’s casting and even suggested how he could join her in the show: “Maybe they’ll invite me back as her assistant in one scene or another?” he said. “It would be very nice, wouldn’t it? In a sequence where she found me somewhere in some old people’s home, where actually perhaps there were several old Doctors.

“Everywhere you turn, it’ll be David Tennant in one thing, Matt Smith behind the bar and me in a corner looking up at someone passing saying, ‘Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?’”

We think Tennant and Smith would prefer battling with Daleks rather than Zimmer Frames and the Countdown conundrum, but nonetheless, this old folks home episode needs to get made. We’re looking at you, Chibnall.


Doctor Who returns 5.30pm Christmas Day on BBC1