Who would have believed, back in 2003 when the revival of Doctor Who was announced, that ten years on not only would the series still be ongoing, but news of the lead actor’s recasting would be presented in a live TV programme?
In a special one-off live television event on BBC One this Sunday 4 August at 7pm, the next Doctor will be exclusively revealed to the nation.
Widely regarded as one of the most hotly contested roles in British television, the show’s host Zoe Ball will unveil the 12th Doctor in the first-ever interview in front of a live studio audience set against the backdrop of a swirling vortex, among Daleks and the TARDIS.
The half-hour show will include live special guests, Doctors old and new, as well as companions and celebrity fans.
The scale of this event suggests to me that the actor playing the new Doctor will be slightly more well known to a TV audience – or at least a genre-based audience – than I may have suggested in my previous post about the recasting. I can’t imagine the BBC going to all this effort and then dragging out someone who has no TV experience at all.
Which doesn’t rule out one actor who, once he popped into my head, struck me as a really good choice, though I say so myself. He’s someone who fits the four criteria I posted last time:
- A limited TV profile (this is the criterion I think is most flexible)
- A substantial theatre acting CV
- An older actor
Step forward Joseph Millson.
Known to Doctor Who audiences as Alan Jackson, Maria’s dad in the first series of The Sarah Jane Adventures, Millson has extensive TV credits to his name, including Peak Practice, Campus and Holby City. Most recently, he’s been playing Macbeth at Shakespeare’s Globe, and originated the Love Never Dies version of Raoul both on the concept album and the West End production. His other theatre credits include the National Theatre, Glyndebourne, the Royal Court, the RSC, among many more.
His SJA role is sufficiently far enough away from Doctor Who to not be a barrier to the casting, while making him on the radar of the BBC Wales drama team and the casting directors who have been scouting for the new role.
It won’t be him, though… will it? I certainly have no specialist knowledge here: all I know is that he’d be damned fine in the role.
Incidentally, the code name the BBC team used to coordinate the casting was, apparently, Houdini – a near homonym that led some news sites yesterday to say that the code name was Whodini, as if that would be any disguise for their activity.
One previous codename used by the DW production team was, of course, Torchwood – which became a series in its own right. Once the hubbub over the casting of the Doctor has calmed down, it’d be great to see Houdini as a series in its own right. The story of Erik Weisz, a Hungarian who changed his name before becoming the most famous escapologist of all time, is fertile with incident that would make for great drama.
Also, as I said at the beginning of this post, it’s ten years since the first announcement of Doctor Who‘s return. In the current issue of Doctor Who Magazine, Cavan Scott chronicles the events that happened behind the scenes with a level of honesty from those involved that’s both refreshing and enlightening. It’s essential reading for anyone interested in the world of television production.
• Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor, BBC1, Sunday August 4, 7pm