It's official. Not only has head writer, showrunner and producer Steven Moffat announced he is stepping down from Doctor Who at the end of 2017, but The Doctor himself is leaving the TARDIS for a new adventure. Peter Capaldi is set to kick off the 10th season of "New Who" this spring and it will be his last full season as the time travelling alien.
With the completion of three full seasons and three Christmas specials under his belt by the end of the year, Capaldi will be on par with both David Tennant and Matt Smith on length of time as The Doctor, so it's no surprise that Capaldi wants to move on. However, his time aboard the TARDIS has been a bit hit and miss as audience ratings have dipped and there wasn't any Doctor Who seasons in 2016. Whether you loved him or hated him, Capaldi was The Doctor and therefore will be forever immortalized in the "Whoniverse" and for that we will always love him.
So, the question is, who's next? Here are 15 actors that are getting a lot of buzz and any of them could be the next Doctor.
15 Russell Tovey
If the rumor mill is to be believed, then actor Russell Tovey has already come close to playing The Doctor. Way back when David Tennant vacated the TARDIS, former showrunner Russell T. Davis put Tovey's name forward as a great replacement. Unfortunately for him, the role went to Matt Smith, but Tovey could be in with a good chance this time around.
The actor is still young, if Doctor Who producers wanted to go in that direction again, and Tovey certainly has credentials, being the central figure in the popular British version of Being Human. Tovey can certainly hold his own in a franchise and would already have a decent fanbase to bring with him, which should help with Doctor Who's falling ratings. It might be a long shot but it could be a very popular choice.
14 Damien Molony
Another actor that got a lot of attention when a Doctor Who spot was vacant was Irish actor Damien Molony. This time it was when Matt Smith left the show. According to rumors, Molony was on a short list but showrunner Steven Moffat wanted to go in a different direction and go for a much older Doctor than the likes of David Tennant and Smith, and went for Peter Capaldi.
As with the previous entry, Damien Molony also made his name in the critically acclaimed fantasy show Being Human. He may have only came in for the last season of the British show, but Molony made such an impact that he changed the very show itself. Since Being Human ended, Molony hasn't had as much success so it could be time for him to step into the role of the biggest TV character on British TV.
13 Tom Hiddleston
OK, ok, we know what everyone is thinking with this entry and you're right, this entry is purely a fan boys wet dream. But what an amazing dream it would be if Tom Hiddleston decided to leave Hollywood and become The Doctor. With his dry wit, excellent acting credentials and command of the camera, Hiddleston would turn the show into an even bigger smash hit than it has ever been before.
Of course, the British actor is knee deep in the Marvel MCU playing the villainous Loki and other big budget Hollywood movies. In his spare time, Hiddleston likes to opt for more indie movies such as Only Lovers Left Alive, so it's very unlikely that he would drop all of that for a TV show but maybe in a few years when the roles have dried up a bit we could see Hiddleston step inside the TARDIS and make an excellent Doctor. We'll keep our fingers crossed.
12 Chris O'Dowd
This Irish actor has been building up quite the career over the years. Starting out in comedy with the internationally acclaimed sitcom The IT Crowd, O'Dowd has made the transition into movies quite successfully. With hits such as FAQs about Time Travel and Gulliver's Travels, O'Dowd has even made an appearance in the Marvel MCU with Thor: The Dark World.
Although he has yet to take on a leading role in Hollywood, O'Dowd has the comedy credentials and wit that is needed by The Doctor and he certainly has the science fiction background. If the writers of Doctor Who are looking for a bigger name to play their leading man and someone who would no doubt put a different spin on the character of The Doctor, then Chris O'Dowd could be the man.
11 Richard Madden
This Scottish actor has built up a huge fan base due to his time on the HBO hit series Game of Thrones. Playing the character Robb Stark, Madden has proved himself to be, not only a great actor, but very comfortable in a big budget franchise with a huge fan base, which would definitely go in his favor if he were to be the next Doctor.
If some reports are to be believed then Madden has been linked to the role of The Doctor before. However, whether it was bad timing on his part or the fact that he used to date Jenna Coleman, aka The Doctor's assistant Clara Oswald, we're not sure. But with Coleman leaving the series the path is clear for Madden to step into the TARDIS. We're not sure if Madden has an eccentric side to his acting abilities, but this would be a safe choice for The Doctor.
10 Hayley Atwell
The argument for a female Doctor has been raging on for some years now. Particularly since Doctor Who came back in 2005. Since "New Who," every regeneration there has been many fans demanding the role go to a woman. If it's a female Doctor the public are looking for then who better than the woman of the moment Hayley Atwell?
Already a big fan favorite thanks to her character Agent Peggy Carter in the Marvel MCU in movies Captain America: The First Avenger, as well as a bit part in its sequel, plus of course the TV show Agent Carter. She already has the fan base and the acting credentials, plus in a recent interview she was reported as saying she'd love to play The Doctor. Put all this together and we could have a very different but very popular Doctor.
9 Richard Ayoade
Just like the argument for a female Doctor, there has also been a lot of call for a non-white actor to take up the role of The Doctor. Just like the British movie franchise James Bond, Doctor Who has often been called out for its lack of diversity. The "New Who" has tried to address this by having Martha Jones, and the new girl Bill, as The Doctor's companions. However, many feel this isn't good enough and it's time to have a black Doctor.
An interesting choice for this would be Richard Ayoade. Already having a huge fanbase thanks to his character of the super geek Moss on the hit show The IT Crowd, Ayoade definitely has the comedic and quirky side of The Doctor. Given the chance to fully explore the character of The Doctor, Ayoade could get a chance to show of his deep and serious side too. It may be a bit of a risk for the Doctor Who showrunner but it could be a risk that pays off big time.
8 Olivia Colman
This BAFTA winning actress made a huge impact on the small screen with her role in the critically acclaimed drama Broadchurch. Not only that, but Colman has been acting her chops off for many years now and has not only built up quite a fan base, but also a reputation for being a hard working, great actress who everyone seems to enjoy working with.
With her serious and dramatic side being shown in Broadchurch, Colman has also showed us how good she can be at comedy. With her role in the British sitcom Peep Show, starring British comedy duo David Mitchell and Robert Webb, Colman more than held her own. If you're looking for more links: Colman's Broadchurch co-star and former Doctor Who star David Tennant has backed the actress for the role and Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall will be taking over as head writer from Steven Moffat. So Colman's chances of being the next Doctor could be quite high, or at the very least she should be making some appearances in future seasons.
7 David Harewood
Last year, Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat confessed that a black actor had not only been considered for the role of The Doctor but had actually been offered it. He didn't go into details about who the actor was or when the part was offered to him, but many fans and tabloid newspapers think it was David Harewood that was the actor in question. Whether it was because of scheduling conflicts or the timing wasn't right, this didn't work out. However, if Doctor Who is looking for a change in their leading man then Harewood would be a safe and very popular choice for the role.
Having said that, Harewood is in big demand at the moment with his big roles on Homeland and currently in DC's Arrowverse as Martian Manhunter on Supergirl. Many fans may have written off Harewood as he has been in Doctor Who before, playing the villain in David Tennant's exit story The End of Time. However, this hasn't stopped the likes of Peter Capaldi, Colin Baker, and Freema Agyeman from appearing in the show and then coming back as an important character. If any fan out there likes to gamble, then Harewood could be a smart bet.
6 Matt Smith/ David Tennant
Now, before everyone starts yelling at the screen about how ridiculous this entry is, just bare with us as this could be more of a possibility than you might realize. This all started with a rumor that Matt Smith had been seen in connection with Doctor Who. The first rumor was that the upcoming 10th season would have a cameo by Smith in which Peter Capaldi's Doctor interacted with his former self. However, this rumor was quickly denied but the fans didn't leave it there. Since Capaldi has officially announced his retirement from the TARDIS, Matt Smith has gone on record to say how leaving Doctor Who was his biggest regret and that he would love to come back. On a similar note, the new showrunner for Doctor Who would be Chris Chibnall who is not only a good friend to David Tennant , but also created Broadchurch for him. If either of these did get persuaded back to the TARDIS then it would no doubt create big headlines and bring in a much needed bigger audience.
And just incase anyone thinks this isn't possible, at the end of the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, Tom Baker came on screen to tell Matt Smith's Doctor that in the future The Doctor may be able to revisit a few old regenerations. But only the favorites. Maybe the writers of Doctor Who have been planning this for a while? A few fans out there think so, as the British bookmakers William Hill have these two at odds of 16/1 and 20/1 respectively.
5 Tim Roth
Away from the fanciful notion that an old Doctor could come back, another name that seems to be always on the list of possible Doctors is Tim Roth. Over the years Roth has built up quite an impressive movie resume which have included blockbusters such as The Planet of the Apes, Rob Roy and The Incredible Hulk, and of course being one of Quentin Tarantino's go to actors for films such as Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Over the years, as the movie roles have dried up a bit, Roth has made the successful transition into TV with hit shows Lie to Me and bizarrely enough he has also voiced The Doctor in an episode of the comedy show Robot Chicken.
Roth certainly has the acting credentials as well as having the desire to do it as he has been reported several times in saying that he would love to play The Doctor. If the Doctor Who showrunners are looking for a big name to draw in more viewers, then Roth would be a great choice.
4 Idris Elba
Now we come into the top four and all of these actors have the British bookmakers, the tabloid press, and fans going crazy at the thought of them being the next Doctor. Any one of them are seemingly favorites to take British TV's top job and all of them we are sure would do a great job.
We start with a very popular choice for the role with Idris Elba. If the new showrunner Chris Chibnall really wanted to take the next Doctor in a different direction then Elba would be an incredible choice. Already proving himself to be a talented and edgy actor in the likes of The Wire and Luther, Elba would no doubt shine in a leading role of one of the biggest franchises in television. With the freedom that the character of The Doctor allows actors to have, Elba could show the world his funny and quirky side. The only reason that Elba isn't higher on the list is because this talented actor has also been linked to possibly being the next James Bond. We don't think that being the star of two franchises would work. Whichever role he gets or chooses, we are sure Elba will be amazing.
3 Ben Daniels
The next entry on our list may not be as well known as the others but Ben Daniels has been working hard for many years and in some of British TV's biggest shows. Often regarded as one of Britain's best TV character actors, Daniels has proven himself time and again just how talented he is.
As with a few other entries on this list, Daniels was on the short list to replace Matt Smith as The Doctor. Not only was he on the short list but he reportedly came in a very close second to Peter Capaldi. Which makes him the closest actor on our list to being The Doctor. Having come so close to being The Doctor, maybe it's time that Ben Daniels got his time to shine? Many fans agree as British bookmakers have Daniels at 8/1 odds which ties him with our next entry.
2 Rupert Grint
The number two entry on our list is getting a lot of coverage at the moment as a lot of people out there think that Rupert Grint is a certainty to be the next Doctor.
Being Harry Potter's best friend Ron Weasley, Grint is no stranger to being part of a big franchise. After all, franchises don't come much bigger than Harry Potter! Although Grint may not be the first choice of the hardcore Who fans, if the BBC are looking to attract more viewers, having a big name like Grint, along with his built in fanbase, would give the show a new young and trendy vibe to it.
You may be saying "if the BBC want to go down that road then why not get Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe?" Many out there might agree but since Harry Potter ended, Radcliffe has made quite a name for himself doing different low key movies that it's unlikely he would be tempted to do a TV show. Grint on the other hand is already making waves on the small screen and seems quite comfortable there.
1 Ben Whishaw
The number one entry on our list has everyone talking about him, making him a firm favorite to be the next Doctor and that's Ben Whishaw.
The moment the current Doctor Peter Capaldi announced he was leaving, the tabloids and fans went crazy and Whishaw's name was the first person that was mentioned. His most famous role to date is being the new Q in the last two James Bond movies. Within that role he has already showed his quirky, geeky, and funny side that would fit perfectly in with the character of The Doctor. It's almost as if his time on the James Bond movies has been his audition for The Doctor!
As with a previous entry on our list, Idris Elba, who is tipped to be the next James Bond, it might be difficult for Whishaw to be in two big franchises at the same time. But with whispers that James Bond may be getting a reboot and a recasting soon, the door could be wide open for Whishaw to step into the TARDIS and make us all happy.
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