It’s been official for a few days now, Peter Capaldi is leaving the TARDIS. I can’t say that I’m too surprised given Chris Chibnall’s impending arrival it always felt inevitable that Capaldi would leave. There has been no news on Bill and whether this will be a complete fresh start for the new show-runner, like that which accompanied Steven Moffat’s arrival, but a new companion or Doctor will give Chibnall the ability to put his own stamp on the series that isn’t just to do with stories and atmosphere.
That said, I’m going to miss Capaldi. He’s such an accomplished actor and I’m sure he’ll go on to do amazing things – if there is ever a film or television adaptation of Discworld then he’d be my choice for the Patrician. He has given Who some incredible moments like the Zygon Speech and his one-hander episode, but everything has it’s time and this was the time that was right for him.
Speaking of choices, it’s that time again. Who is going to be the new Doctor? Should it be a woman or something of a different ethnicity or is this another example of positive discrimination? Personally, I’m not bothered if they stick with what has come before or not. I’m not one of those people who is like ‘It’s time we had a woman’ or anything like that, because that’s the wrong mind-set with which to approach it. If it’s going to be a woman or someone of a different ethnicity then it should be because they’re right for the part, not because of a need to move with the times. Every actor who has played it so far has been amazing and that’s what the search for a new Doctor should be: who suits the direction that the show is going in this time?
With that in mind, here are some of my choice selections. There’s been much speculation about people like Idris Elba and Helena Bonham Carter and while they’d be amazing they’re both ‘too big’ for the role. Capaldi was the biggest actor, closely followed by Eccleston, to take the role in recent years.
Ruth Wilson hasn’t been on our screens much lately, aside from a smaller role in The Lone Ranger, but she proved that she’s got bags of talent in Luther. The deadly, sinister and yet playful child prodigy-come-murderer Alice Morgan was one of the best, if not the best, character in the show. It certainly missed her when her role was reduced. Her ability to get that involved in the head space of a character that clearly should be antagonist and yet make her likeable is incredible. It’s the same level of depth that should be given to the Doctor, a character who we know barely anything about and still love. She would give that sense of mystery and be a very different take on the character from what we’ve had for the last few series.
Capaldi has been the grumpy old man, the broken hero and playful grandad. There has been an inconsistency which is embedded in the script, masked as character progression. Wilson could give us a clear character as that what she does best, developing a unique persona and making an audience fall in love with them.
Chiwetel Ejiofor is probably the most famous actor that I would suggest to be in the role of the Doctor. He’s done films like Twelve Years a Slave and Doctor Strange but his film career doesn’t really seem to have taken off as much as it should do and he deserves. He is a wonderfully talented actor who can do a wide range of emotion and characters, though he is most famous for playing well spoken Englishmen. This could be an angle for the Doctor which has yet to be explored, he’s always been a bit cheeky or eccentric in the newer series and creating a more aristocratic-style Doctor who is clearly intelligent from just the way he speaks and holds himself could be very interesting.
Also it would move away from the set-pieces that have crept into the show and give the scripts themselves more room to breathe and be exceptional. It would may allow the companion to be more hands on too and give them an agency and independence that has been missing lately. But most importantly he would bring gravitas and certain aura that would make the Doctor a clearly strong hero.
Matthew Goode has been in a few films, Leap Year and The Imitation Game, as well as TV shows such as, Dancing on the Edge. In the last few years he’s delved more into the period drama, a genre of TV that has become a real staple in recent times. He is an actor who can pull off charming and affable, something which Peter Capaldi’s Doctor was criticised for not being in his first series.
With a new showrunner it may be important to have an actor that is well versed in how to make a likeable character, one which audience’s root for almost instantly and can be sympathetic. He’s already recreated the past, so a stint in the future could be the logical next step. He would make the Doctor easy to relate to and more accessible, as opposed to Capaldi’s more alient Doctor. If that’s something that the BBC want then Matthew Goode would fit the bill perfectly.
Ultimately though, we don’t know who the Doctor is going to be. It’s probably going to be somebody we’re not expecting, an actor that’s right for the role right now and will bring something fresh to the show and allow Chris Chibnall to put his own spin on Doctor Who. It’s the casting of his first Doctor that will help fans decide if they are going to be able to get on board with what he has planned for the show and I hope that he picks somebody as good as the three actors that I have mentioned here. They all bring something different to the table and it’s difference that I think Chibnall should be going for rather than trying to recreate the old glories of any previous Doctor.