Speculation about the identity of the next Doctor on classic British sci-fi series Doctor Who continues to grow since current star Peter Capaldi announced he will leave after season 10. The show's lead regularly changes, as the character of the Doctor regenerates every few seasons -- remaining the same person (or, to be precise, the same Time Lord), but taking on a new face. Since the show first aired, every incarnation of the Doctor has been male, prompting discussion about the possibility of Capaldi's replacement being a woman. Potential actresses suggested have included Hayley Atwell, Frances De La Tour (backed by Capaldi) and Olivia Coleman (backed by previous Doctor David Tennant).
Despite the fan pressure to make the next Doctor female, when the news broke, oddsmakers put James Bond actor Ben Whishaw in the lead -- until now, as the odds-on favorite is a new star, and a female one.
Bookie Ladbrokes revealed that Doctor Strange star Tilda Swinton is currently in the lead to take over the iconic role, at 7/2 odds. Previous frontrunner Whishaw is now down to 10/1 odds, in a list that includes the top 10 candidates for the role. Kris Marshall is the number 2 choice on the list, with Olivia Coleman in third place, at 5/1. Hayley Atwell and Frances De La Tour do not appear on the Ladbrokes rankings.
The odds have slowly been shifting toward a female Doctor, and now stand at 5/4 that the next Doctor will make history as the first woman in the role. Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes said: “Whovian punters are becoming increasingly convinced the next Doctor will be female, and fingers are currently pointing towards Swinton.” Ladbrokes also included odds for outliers Idris Elba and Gwendoline Christie, both sitting at 20/1 odds, despite being fan favorites for the part.
It's fantastic to see that a woman might finally get to pilot the TARDIS - as the official Doctor, that is. More than one of the other female characters on the show have managed to pilot the time machine in the past, but this would be the first time that the Doctor would regenerate as a woman. Swinton in particular would be a fantastic choice, with more than enough talent at playing odd and eccentric characters to do the Doctor justice.
It is important to note, however, that these are only the odds created by a bookmaker, and are not to be considered proof that the BBC is considering these actors. Much of the speculation around the role comes from fan favorites, the opinions of past Doctors, and actors who have said that they would like the role. As interesting as it is, this is hardly evidence that the network is leaning the same way as the general public. Until the BBC makes an official announcement, the playing field remains open -- and with an entire season left before Capaldi makes his exit, we may have quite a while to wait before we find out who lands the part.
Doctor Who season 10 premiere on April 15, 2017.