As always happens when a news story neither concludes nor develops speculation has filled the lengthening void between Peter Capaldi announcing his departure and whomever replaces him being confirmed. Thus we’ve had the media deciding several times that so and so will be the new Doctor only to come up with a different name a few days later. Tilda Swinton was favourite, then Kris Marshall was such a `shoo in` that betting on him was suspended. Now it’s gone back to names being thrown into the mix. Damian Molony, a leading candidate in the media’s eyes last time round has re-appeared courtesy of Toby Whithouse which is interesting only in the sense that the writer was one of those speculated to become show runner long before Chris Chibnall was announced. Had Whithouse taken the job (not that as far as we know he was offered it) we can at least see who his Doctor would have been. Now there’s another era unfolding in our imagination and if Chibnall is found wanting you can be sure fans will start saying `Urrgh it should have been Whithouse and Molony”. Fans are like that.
|"I'm the Doctor you know"|
The Kris Marshall thing looked rather too obvious as the actor’s departure from Death in Paradise came shortly after Capaldi revealed his own exit. Marshall’s reason for leaving the seemingly idyllic role seemed to revolve around spending more time with his family. Cardiff is hardly Guadaloupe but is he really going to want to spend nine months a year based there potentially meaning he sees even less of his family? Also the actor has a reputation for being awkward to work with and would definitely be the grumpiest lead actor in the series since Christopher Eccleston. This is not of course something that would rule him out but by all accounts a complex series like Doctor Who runs better with an accommodating sociable lead.
|"Actually I think you'll find I'm the Doctor mate"|
Since I last posted about this show runner Mr C himself has commented publicly on the casting declaring that it won’t be gimmicky and will not happen until after the first script is written. He’s talked also of casting in the `conventional` sense by which he seems to mean auditioning several candidates. This would appear to rule out the much mooted female Doctor which with a new showrunner may be deemed too risky by his bosses who have to approve the choice. There’s been a lot of media static about such a gender change but most of it comes from actors themselves. I do think though that the team may be willing to take a more modest step and consider a non- white Doctor. In the end the actor who auditions the best should get it regardless. Steven Moffatt has in some ways made the job difficult by suggesting such changes are now inevitable in his casting a female Master and showing a Time Lord changing skin colour when regenerating. In fact he pretty much showed us a female Doctor in the form of River Song.
The fact that such subjects are high on the agenda also demonstrates the paucity of original female or non white characters. Changing the Doctor- like James Bond becoming Jane Bond for example- is not really helping solve that issue. What is really needed are a new generation of writers to invent new characters.
|"You're both wrong. It's me! I am the Doctor!"|
Elsewhere, one of my choices Sacha Dhawen has said he’d love to take on the role while David Harewood has also been talking it up though usually speaking publicly about playing the Doctor means you’re not in the running. No wonder Helen Mirren has said nothing!
In the midst of all this one thing has become clear. Nobody at all knows who the next Doctor will be, possibly not even Chris Chibnall. They film the Xmas special in June though it is possible the end bit where the new Doctor sits up and says “Heavens to Betsy I’m Ron Weasley” or tries to land the Tardis with a fish slice whilst yelling “I like rissoles now! Rissoles are cool!” could be filmed later. The wait goes on and on and…what’s this… I’m hearing about someone whose current role may be ending soon and he’s giving mixed messages to the media. Yes the next Doctor will be Arsene Wenger.
|"What are all these people doing in my Tardis?"|