Caught as we are in the exciting period between the announcement of Matt Smith’s decision to depart his Doctor Who role and the official BBC announcement as to who will be taking his place, it seems that everyone has their own list of favorites to be Smith’s successor. Screen Rant even came up with a list of talented (but still relatively unknown) actors who could feasibly commit to a few years in the role.

Amidst all this speculation and debate, the rumor mill has begun grinding out various reports as to which actors Steven Moffat and the rest of the Doctor Who production team are eying for the role, and who might have already been called to audition, received a formal offer, or even signed and sealed a contract.

The latest buzz surrounding the Doctor Who casting talk stems from an article in the Telegraph, which claims that 35-year-old English actor Rory Kinnear has been offered the role, and the producers are waiting to hear if he will accept. Kinnear was well-placed in the bookies’ odds for the role, and bets on the role have all been closed in the wake of the Telegraph‘s article.

Kinnear is best known for his role as Bill Tanner in the James Bond movies Skyfall and Quantum of Solace, though he’s an accomplished stage actor and has delivered a compelling performance in the first episode of Charlie Brooker’s biting social satire series Black Mirror.

If chosen for the role, Kinnear is undoubtedly talented enough to handle it. Though whether you’re pleased with this rumor or not, it’s best to view it with a critical eye. For a start, the Telegraph does not claim that he has actually been cast yet, only that he’s been offered the role, which keeps the newspaper’s claim to reporting accuracy intact in the eventuality that a completely different actor is chosen. Secondly, without knowing who the identity of the “man in the TARDIS” whom they claim is their source (we’ll assume for the moment that it’s not Matt Smith), there’s no way to judge how high up the production ladder this information is coming from – or, indeed, if it even is.

Daniel Kaluuya, Dominic Cooper and Domhnall Gleeson

The Telegraph is not the only publication claiming such insider knowledge. Starburst claims that its own sources have named Daniel Kaluuya, Domhnall Gleeson and Dominic Cooper as the frontrunners for the role, though the article comes with a fairly transparent caveat:

“Whether it’s one of these three that has in fact been chosen to play the part, we cannot be sure. We can’t really be sure that these three are in the running at all – but that’s what we’ve been told! One thing that’s guaranteed, however, is that this new ‘information’ will get people talking!”

The official position on the matter – from the BBC and Steven Moffat – is that all of the rumors are false and that the search for the next Doctor has barely even begun. Until there’s word from an official named source, it’s probably not wise to give serious credence to any of the names being dropped by outlets that are quoting anonymous “reliable sources.”

Everyone wants the scoop on this story, and as a result, even the slimmest of leads are being given write-ups, including a particularly memorable front-page headline from British tabloid The Daily Star definitively announcing that Michael Jackson’s daughter, Paris Jackson, was in line to play the role. That story was based on the fact that Jackson had casually tweeted: “omg I wanna be the Doctor.”

Have patience, wait for the official word, and take everything else you might hear with a big pinch of salt.

Doctor Who returns in November with the 50th Anniversary Special.

Source: The Telegraph, Starburst, & The Daily Star [via Bleeding Cool]