The next Doctor, and how to predict who it’ll be

Everyone seems to be trying to guess who the next actor to play the lead role in Doctor Who will be once Matt Smith regenerates in the 2013 Christmas Special.

Back when David Tennant announced his departure five years ago when the TV Today blog was still running, we ran a few features looking at some potential names:

I’ve seen three of the names above suggested this time round, too. Cumberbatch’s star has exploded since 2008, so we can safely assume that he’ll be out of the running. And similarly with the other three, while they are all interesting performers who would get the “other”-ness of the Doctor, I suspect their respective career trajectories would rule them out. (I do love the PhotoShop job I managed to do of Ayoade, though.)

Rather than settle on a specific name, I want to stick my neck out and come up with a few traits that I suspect the new TARDIS resident will have.

  • A limited TV profile. The actor may have one or two fairly recent, moderately prominent TV roles under his belt, just as Tennant had Blackpool and Casanova, and Matt Smith had Party Animals. But he won’t be one of the actors that you see everywhere. TV budgets, and the need to sign your life away for the best part of five years, dictate that the role will be taken by an actor who is not yet well-known or powerful enough to command a crippling fee.
  • A substantial theatre acting CV. Both Tennant and Smith had extensive acting credits prior to taking on the mantle of the Doctor – predominantly on stage rather than on screen. Expect the new Doctor to have one or two long West End runs under their belt, maybe some RSC or National Theatre work. Expect also that certain tabloid newspapers and TV magazines will brand them an “unknown”, as if nobody knows who actors are unless they’ve been in EastEnders or Coronation Street.
  • An older actor. Steven Moffat was originally looking to cast the Doctor as older when looking for Tennant’s replacement, but Smith convinced him otherwise. In fact, Smith’s onscreen portrayal often feels much older than the actor himself. I’d be surprised if another actor of similar age could pull that off – so expect the lead actor’s age to head upwards again.
  • Male. There are some fantastic actresses out there, many of whom could more than cope with playing one of the most iconic characters on television. And I would love to see a Saturday tea time drama that revolved around a strong, charismatic female lead. I have to be realistic, though, and suggest that the twelfth actor to play this role will be as male as his predecessors.

I have a list in my head of people who I think would be good for the role. Most of them only fit three out of the four points above. But that’s why I’m not a casting director.

Ten things about Who: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

This post has been edited, tidied up and expanded to form part of my new ebook, TEN THINGS ABOUT WHO, available on Kindle. Buy it now for £1.99More details

As with last week’s Asylum of the Daleks, rather than doing a straightforward review I’m listing ten points of note about this week’s Doctor Who episode, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.

1. “Run‽”

One of the reasons the eleventh Doctor is so unpredictable is that, even in the scenes where you know what he’s going to say, Matt Smith often chooses a line reading that throws a conventional line – like the oft-heard “Run!”, such at the end of this episode’s pre-credits sequence – into new areas.

Part question, part panic, part “off you go, while I stay here and find out what’s going on, even though I almost certainly know whatever it is could well kill me”, Smith’s delivery is one that needs not so much an interrobang at the end of it, as a whole panoply of punctuation marks.

2. Big game hunter

At first glance, Riddell doesn’t seem like the sort of man the Doctor would hang out with – dalliances with dancers and liquorice notwithstanding. The sort of man who lives on the plains of Africa killing wild animals, though – why would the Doctor befriend him?

The best answer is that he is another of the Doctor’s little projects, and is not necessarily a cold-blooded killer (any more). During the episode, his initial instinct to kill the encroaching dinosaurs comes from a sense of self-defence, and when fending off the raptors at the control room he goes for stun guns rather than applying lethal force.

I’d say that, while Riddell might present himself as a big game hunter, if anything it’s a bit of a front: he’s more likely to end up in Alan Quatermain-style scrapes, occasionally with a bow tie-clad lunatic at his side.

Continue reading “Ten things about Who: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”

Ten things about Who: Asylum of the Daleks

Ten Things About Who


Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

This post has been edited, tidied up and expanded to form part of my new ebook, TEN THINGS ABOUT WHO, available on Kindle. Buy it now for £1.99More details

I’m not going to do full reviews of the new series of Doctor Who, which started last night on BBC1. But I thought I might try and come up with ten points I liked, didn’t like, or thought worthy of further discussion. Hence, Ten Things About Who.

If you haven’t yet seen the episode, what the hell are you doing here? Go and watch it, and don’t come back to this post until you have done!

Continue reading “Ten things about Who: Asylum of the Daleks”

The tryanny of the canon

Via Stuart, I’ve spent the last half hour reading a long and eloquent piece about the concept of show ‘canonicity’, with special attention to the concept around a show like **Doctor Who**:

> We’ve moved from a canon which didn’t exist because nobody got round to establishing one, to a canon which doesn’t exist because the only person who could establish one himself rejects both the idea and the very logic of writerly authority on which it stands.
>
> While this is going on, the TV series itself is making direct and explict reference to events, concepts, continuity points, planets, companies and foodstuffs from the novels and comics while establishing that Time is in flux (The Unquiet Dead) and that stable facts aren’t meant to exist (Utopia). Which means that if there was a Doctor Who canon (and assuming the Welsh Series was part of it) then it would paradoxically include the fact that there was no Doctor Who canon.

With quotes not only from Russell T Davies but new showrunner Steven Moffat, TV episode writer Paul Cornell and tie-in novel authors Paul Magrs and Lance Parkin, it’s a powerful argument against the type of rigid thinking that has no place, not only in the Doctor Who universe, but in fiction in general.

_[Teatime Brutality: Canon and Sheep Shit: Why We Fight](http://teatimebrutality.blogspot.com/2009/07/canon-and-sheep-shit-why-we-fight.html)_