Ever since Matt Smith announced that he would be leaving Doctor Who after three seasons and a 50th anniversary special, there has been fevered speculation as to who might be his replacement. UK bookies are currently offering favorable odds on Harry Potter actor Rupert Grint and – amongst many others – Sherlock star Martin Freeman, who is currently adventuring in Middle-earth as he films The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
The eleventh incarnation of the Doctor, however, was neither a bookies’ favorite nor a popular demand, but was instead someone that almost no one had ever heard of before, let alone nominated for the lead role. With that in mind, here’s a list of a few potential candidates who could handle the role and who could realistically dedicate the next stage of their careers to playing the Doctor, but whose names haven’t cropped up on many lists so far.
In the spirit of regeneration, this list is both gender and color blind. We have, however, only selected actors and actresses who have not already guest-starred on the show (an ever-dwindling number).
Read on to find out which possible actors for the 12th Doctor Who might have been missed in the speculation so far.
Highlighting an actor best known for playing roles in gritty urban dramas, who also releases hip-hop records under the name Riz MC, as a good candidate for a PHD in time travel is unlikely to win an instantaneous round of assent. After all, the popular public image of the Doctor – particularly in his most recent incarnation – consists of the eccentricity, stuffiness and old-fashioned thinking that is expected of a man who is hundreds of years old and still thinks bow ties are cool.
However, since the Doctor isn’t canonically fixed to any particular physical age, skin color or gender, what matters in casting is not who the actor is, but what they can do. In his still-young career, Ahmed has displayed some impressive range, whether playing a sympathetic suicide bomber in Chris Morris’ dark but hilarious comedy Four Lions, or fighting off zombies in Charlie Brooker’s Dead Set. It would be interesting to see what he might do when handed a sonic screwdriver and the keys to a TARDIS.
Watch a clip of Riz Ahmed tackling a drone in Four Lions:
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This casting choice has actually been mentioned in a few other places, but might not be obvious to those who haven’t seen the UK version of Being Human, which Molony starred in for the last two seasons. Molony isn’t yet a big-name actor, but there’s a lot about him that just screams ‘Doctor’. For starters, his best-known role to date is as a slightly out of touch, centuries-old creature with a tortured past and a rather quaint dress sense.
Molony has more than typecasting going for him, though. While his performance in Being Human is occasionally a little overly theatrical, his ability to switch from stammering, obsessive-compulsive neuroticism to haughty outrage and then to cold-hearted psychopathy, all within the same character and in the space of a single episode, is incredibly impressive, as is the unreserved way in which he throws himself into the role. Now that Being Human has come to an end, Molony is sure to move on to bigger things: could Doctor Who be one of them?
Watch Damien Molony play a poor game of dominoes in Being Human:
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Green Wing star Stephen Mangan has said in the past that he’d love to play the role of the Doctor and recently even tweeted a picture of himself in a long scarf in front of London Bridge, prompting a flurry of rumors that he’d secretly been cast (rumors that he has since denied). Since the rest of the Internet more or less has this rumor covered, let’s take some time out to argue in favor of another Green Wing cast member who would be a great choice for the role.
For those not familiar with the show, Green Wing is a rough British analogue of Scrubs: a sitcom set in a hospital with humor that often borders on the dark and surreal. Glaswegian-born actress Michelle Gomez plays the hospital’s staff liaison officer, Sue White, whose job in theory is, “to soothe, to bathe, to listen to the worker’s woes.” The character is something of a fan-favorite, and Gomez has an uncanny talent for comedic timing and deadpan humor. Besides, the ability to baffle enemies into submission would probably come in handy for the Doctor.
Watch Michelle Gomez give some interesting views on religion in Green Wing:
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After spending the bulk of the rebooted Doctor Who series with a pair of fairly young (in visage, anyway) and excitable Doctors, it’s possible that the show’s producers might decide to change things up after Smith’s departure and hire a slightly older actor, with perhaps a gruffer edge to the characterization. With that in mind, 58 year-old veteran crime procedural actor Ken Stott, who made a name for himself with shows like Messiah and Rebus, would be a fairly dramatic change that could end up paying off very well.
Stott is currently filming Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy in New Zealand, playing the role of Thorin Oakenshield’s grizzled old advisor, Balin, and wearing a very impressive beard and set of facial prosthetics. He has an enviable amount of screen presence, a very distinctive voice, and could probably quell any alien attack with the sheer power of his stern glare.
Watch Ken Stott unravelling a grisly mystery in Messiah:
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An irrepressibly charismatic actor, Joseph Gilgun’s first feature-film role earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination in the British Independent Film Awards. The role in question was Woody, the friendly skinhead in Shane Meadows’ critically-acclaimed, semi-autobiographical drama This is England, and Gilgun went on to reprise the role in the subsequent TV series This is England ’86.
Sci-fi fans, however, will probably recognize Gilgun from offbeat “superhero” show Misfits, in which he played a young offender carrying out his community service, whilst also dealing with the problem of having a very literal split personality. He’s certainly got the energy required to play the Doctor, and already has a place in many people’s hearts thanks to his appearances on British soaps and his much-praised performance in Meadows’ work.
Watch Joseph Gilgun demonstrating how to handle the police in Misfits:
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Probably only a dozen people on the planet actually remember Strange, a short-lived supernatural drama in which Richard Coyle played an ex-priest who dedicates his life to hunting down demons. It’s been ten years since Strange was unceremoniously cancelled after only six episodes – and a season that ended on a cliffhanger – but the sting of disappointment hasn’t quite faded yet. For those dozen people, I mean.
Coyle has kept busy in the interim years, starring alongside Johnny Depp in The Libertine and more recently playing the lead in Luis Prieto’s recent remake of early Nicholas Winding Refn crime thriller Pusher. He has just the right mix of comedic and straight roles on his resumé to make him a good fit for Doctor Who, capable of tackling both the light-hearted aspects of the show and the more serious, emotional aspects.
Watch Richard Coyle getting into deep trouble in the trailer for Pusher:
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An honorable mention for Mr. Considine, who heard that people were rooting for him to become the next Doctor, and took to Twitter to politely decline the role. Odds are 50:1 that he’s already been cast and this is a clever bluff.
Those are just seven of the many actors who might have already been cast in the role of the Twelfth Doctor – each of whom would be sure to create their own personal interpretation of the character. But will the Doctor Who producers announce a name completely out of left field, or will Smith’s successor be one of the many popular choices already named on multiple lists and being betted on at bookies across Britain?
If you think you know who the next Doctor should – or will – be, then don’t keep your thoughts to yourself. Share your nominee(s) in the comments.
Doctor Who returns in November with the 50th Anniversary Special.