Thursday, 2 February 2017

Who should be Who?

It's hardly an important thing to be focusing right now, while the shitstorm that is global politics careers further down the swanny, but Peter Capaldi has announced that he's leaving the lead role of Doctor Who. This isn't a surprise; not because of the recent rumours (there are always rumours), but because four years/three seasons is about standard for the role lately. (Episode-wise, Tennant had 47, Smith 44 and Capaldi will end on 40, so that seems pretty par for the course.)

Every one and their mum has an opinion on who should play the thirteenth Doctor. Here are a few of my preferred suggestions, with the proviso that they have to be at least fairly feasible - so no unaffordable Hollywood superstars (although a couple are a bit borderline) nor classic actors in their eighties. Ages included as of present; it'll be a year or two before series eleven starts filming. I've included people of various races, men and women, and even - gasp! - Americans.

Speculation in three... two... one...

Naveen Andrews (48)

A class act, Naveen Andrews is exactly the right age for the Doctor now and has plenty of genre experience. He has the good looks to cater for the segment of the audience who are after a sex symbol and the classic English authoritarianism to convince as a Time Lord. Andrews has something of a controversial past but that shouldn't stand in the way of his starring in a family show now.

Tim Roth (55)

Perhaps too famous to be within the Beeb's budget, but still taking on TV roles and vocally interested in the part. While he's mostly known for tough guy, chip-on-the-shoulder roles, Roth has also played more cerebral characters and his turn in The Hateful Eight shows that he can do the posh upper-class thing when he wants to. Primarily though, he's a bloody good actor and would bring a rougher side to the Doctor, which would appeal to those who enjoyed the older, darker Doctor that Capaldi portrayed.

Tom Burke (35)

Known as Athos is the Beeb's other big primetime drama The Musketeers, Burke has an interesting face and is capable of giving an intense performance. He'd make for a great Doctor, able to balance the adventure and emotional drama well. It would make watching his back catalogue a trifle odd though; Peter Capaldi was his nemesis in the first season of  The Musketeers and he played David Tennant's son way back in 2005's Casanova!

Iwan Rheon (31)

The token young actor on the list (by my criteria, which means younger than me). Since he is appeared as oddball Simon on Misfits, it's been clear that Rheon has a certain uncanny quality about his performance. Genre viewers might find it hard to separate him from his more recent role as the monstrous Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones, though.

Peter Dinklage (47)

My number one choice. Immediately some will balk at the idea of casting an American, but I have no problem with that. The Doctor isn't actually British, after all, he's from another planet altogether, so why couldn't he "naturalise" as an American? If it's still a problem, Dinklage does a spot-on English accent. Dinklage is a class act, and he's clearly heading on to be bigger and better things all the time. He's probably too busy with Thrones right now, but maybe pip him for Doctor no. 14, before he gets too successful to ever afford.

Orlando Jones (49)

Not an immediately familiar name to most British viewers, but definitely a familiar face, Jones has turned up in all manner of roles over the years, including plenty of genre material. And what a face! He has the piercing eyes and manic grin of Tom Baker, and is capable of switching between raucous comedy and serious drama with ease.

Tilda Swinton (56)

When the suggestion arises that we should cast a woman as the Doctor, Swinton is among the first names to come up. It's easy to see why: a touch of nobility, great acting ability, a certain ethereal, sylphlike quality and oodles of eccentricity. Having someone so androgynous in the role might take some of the edge off casting a woman, but the main point is that Tilda Swinton would absolutely rock as the Doctor.

Siobhan Redmond (57)

If we're looking for someone to continue on in the same vein as Capaldi, but with a twist, then Redmond could be perfect. The same age, Scottish and with both a playful and a harsh edge. Plus she's ginger, which is something the Doctor has been hankering after for years now. Redmond has already played the Rani for Big Finish, so she already has experience playing a Time Lord, and you can see how naturally she twirls her sonic.

Jamie Clayton (39)

A less likely and more controversial choice. An American woman in the role would send certain types of fan into apoplectic fits, but frankly, is that a bad thing? Clayton appears in Sense8 with Naveen Andrews, and has a certain hard-to-define quality that just feels right for the Doctor. And that voice is just perfect for audio, once she's retired to Big Finish. The only problem would be if Martha came back - it'd be very hard to shake those Sense8 scenes of Clayton and Agyeman from our heads...

Kate McKinnon (33)

Another American woman, another LGBT icon and another suggestion that is bound to piss some people off. But wouldn't she be perfect? If she channelled some of that bizarre, Doc Brown, Egon Spengler vibe to the role, she'd make the most brazenly alien Doctor since Tom Baker. Plus, she has a physics background that would back up the science with some reality for once.

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