“Here we go again…”
Once every four years or so, the media gets to play the game of ‘who will be the next Doctor?’ – a game that often involves the same names cropping up again and again.
Here at CultBox, we’re more than happy to jump on a Whovian bandwagon; but we can’t help but think that the choice of Doctor made by Chris Chibnall and his team may eschew the obvious.
So, while the list below features at least one name that frequently appears on people’s wish lists, it’s also a chance to scrutinise some other possibilities who aren’t yet making the pages of the tabloids….
Not yet a household name, an accumulation of great work on television and in the theatre means it feels only a matter of time before Dawson gets the breakthrough role that makes him Radio Times cover-worthy.
Roles in The Road to Coronation Street, Peaky Blinders, as King Alfred in The Last Kingdom, and onstage, in the critically-praised The Dazzle with Andrew Stott, show his versatility. Great Doctors often have an eldritch quality: a sideways sensibility that seems to look at the universe askew. Dawson is capable of delivering that in spades, but he’s got real dramatic chops too.
A rising star of the Royal Shakespeare Company, thanks to standout performances as Hamlet and in King Lear, Essiedu – recently seen in Russell T Davies’s adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream – is the sort of actor who, with the right break, could easily make it to Hollywood.
Intelligent and charismatic, he commands attention. If Doctor Who doesn’t give him a primetime leading role, something else will soon enough.
Not the most surprising name on our list, Pertwee earns his spot not just because of the familial connection – cute though that would be – but, more particularly, because he could signal a break from more quirkily avuncular characterisations of the Doctor.
Whimsy may be an undeniable part of the Doctor’s personality, but, for the sake of the programme’s public perception, it’s often good to turn the dial down on it. Casting an actor with a powerful directness, like Pertwee, might just help to do that. Plus you get the bonus that, well, he looks like that guy with the roadster and the cape…
Of all the names on our list, Blake Ritson is the one who seems most ready to slip into the Twelfth Doctor’s Paul Weller-style coat.
A familiar face, if not name, from programmes like Indian Summers and Da Vinci’s Demons, Ritson could deliver the hipsterishness we’ve come to associate with some modern era Doctors as well as the kind of staring intensity that every good Time Lord needs. Dress him in skinny jeans and a Napoleonic jacket and he’d look the perfect fit, brooding over the TARDIS console.
Casting a woman as the Doctor may not seem such a big deal these days, but without any female antecedents in the part on television, it’s still hard to conceive of which woman should step into the sand shoes.
We’d go for Josette Simon: a Classical actress of proper range and gravitas who we don’t get to see on television nearly enough. Although younger actors have played the Doctor, ultimately it’s not a role for an ingénue. Simon – marginally younger than Capaldi – has the kind of presence and dignity which could easily lend themselves to the part of a space-time near-immortal. If she’s not cast as the Doctor, could we at least make her Rassilon?
Peter Capaldi’s final season of Doctor Who will begin on Saturday 15 April on BBC One.
Who do you think should play the Thirteenth Doctor? Let us know below…