The announcement that Peter Capaldi was to leave Doctor Who immediately set the wheels of speculation turning. Who will be the next Doctor and, more importantly this time around, what gender will they be? Talk of a female Time Lord has been rumbling for a while now, since long before Capaldi announced his departure, and the argument is gaining weight, with names such as Mark Gatiss, David Tennant, and even Capaldi himself, all voicing opinions on which actress they think would make a good Doctor.
For incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall, the casting of a new Doctor as his first project must be a daunting prospect. Chibnall will take over tenure of Doctor Who after the 2017 Christmas special, when Capaldi and current showrunnner Steven Moffat will both leave. Taking over a show that is suffering from dwindling ratings and then having to recast its lead, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Chibnall would know exactly who he wants in the role already, but according to comments to the Telegraph (via Digital Spy), while Chibnall knows what he's looking for in a new Doctor, he doesn't yet know who could bring that role to life.
"We'll cast the role in the traditional way: write the script, then go and find the best person for that part in that script. You couldn't go out and cast an abstract idea. The creative possibilities are endless, but I have a very clear sense of what we're going to do, without even knowing who's going to play the part."
Those comments could be taken in a number of ways and let's face it, Chibnall has a number of directions in which he could take the character, should he so wish. Though Capaldi is hardly "old", it does seem likely that Chibnall will go for someone younger this time around, given that Capaldi's age was often raised as a reason why fans didn't gel with his Doctor. That said, it seems unlikely he'd opt for someone as young as Matt Smith was, when he took over the role age 26.
It could also be that Chibnall might want his Doctor to be more overtly humorous than Capaldi, who showcased a dry sense of humor, and the character might well become less curmudgeonly and angry. All of that said, though each regeneration brings new aspects of the character to the fore, some things remain the same. This is, after all, an alien Time Lord who has been traveling through time and space for hundreds of years, who has witnessed much hurt, pain and sorrow, as well as much joy and happiness.
Whether Chibnall will find all he's looking for in a male or female actor remains to be seen. Names thrown about so far include Ben Whishaw, Andrew Scott, Olivia Colman, and current favorite, Tilda Swinton. Will any of those make the final cut?
Doctor Who Season Ten will air on the BBC and BBC America April 15th.
Source: The Telegraph