Following on from the announcement that Peter Capaldi will leave Doctor Who at the end of season ten, talk has turned to who might replace him. Though Capaldi will not officially step down as the Doctor until the 2017 Christmas special, names will be being discussed behind the scenes and who knows, the next Doctor might even have been decided upon already.
As has often been the case, many fans are speculating over whether this time, the Doctor might regenerate as a woman. Thus far, the Doctors have all been white men, but as we've seen with The Master (make that, Missy), it is possible for a Time Lord to change gender. That said, it's a contentious issue and one which always riles Doctor Who fans on both sides of the fence. A lot of people do back the idea of a female Doctor, though, even Capaldi himself.
Talking to The Mirror, Capaldi not only said he backed the idea of a female Doctor; he also said who he would like to take the role, once he's done with Doctor Who:
“The time felt right to bow out, to let somebody else play this wonderful role and I would like Frances de la Tour to be first female doctor.”
Tour will be known to most as Madame Maxime from the Harry Potter franchise - the giantess who brings Beauxbatons school to the Tri-Wizard tournament in Goblet of Fire. The actress also played a giantess in Rob Marshall's Into the Woods, and has a wealth of film and TV accolades to her name. As the Doctor, she would certainly bring an element of strength and independence to the role, as well as plenty of humor, but wouldn't necessarily connect with the younger viewers.
With Capaldi being viewed as an older Doctor, it could well be that incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall will recruit someone younger for the role this time around. Many names are being thrown about, with Ben Whishaw currently the bookies favorite. However, rumors are also surfacing that Chibnall might well cast someone whom he's previously worked with; familiarity with the lead actor could well help him make his mark Doctor Who, which is suffering from falling ratings in recent years. Having that knowledge of how someone works, and what you can do with that actor in terms of their capabilities and so on, could be very beneficial.
All of that said, it still seems unlikely that the next Doctor will be female unless the BBC do decide to listen to the ever growing voice from fans who are pushing to see a female led, prime time, family sci-fi show. Certainly there's no reason to suppose that a female Doctor wouldn't be very capable in charge of the TARDIS, it's all really a matter of whether the BBC are bold enough to break the mold.
Doctor Who returns to BBC 1 and BBC America on April 15th.
Source: The Mirror