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13 Candidates to Play the Thirteenth Doctor

Doctor Who fans the world over know that Peter Capaldi’s time as The Doctor is coming to end and, as fans of the show saw in the season finale “The Doctor Falls”, the Twelfth Doctor is resisting the regeneration process. Many actors have been linked to taking over the role and the BBC are set to announcethe actor or actress to play the Thirteenth Doctor after the Wimbledon Men’s Tennis Final. With this mind, we at Entertainment Fuse will look at some of the bookmakers’ favorites to play the role, speculate what kind of Doctor they could play, and look at how realistic a prospect they would be taking on the role.

The odds were supplied by Oddchecker.com.

Kris Marshall

Odds: Betfair – 6/5, Ladbrooks – 1/2
Kris Marshall is currently the favorite to replace Capaldi and many media outlets in the UK have suggested he has already been cast as the Thirteenth Doctor. Marshall is mostly a TV actor in the UK, best known for his roles on the sitcom My Family, the comedy-drama crime show Death in Paradise, and a long-running series of commercials for BT. Film fans will know him best for his role as Colin in Love, Actually.

Early in his career, Marshall cultivated an image of playing a male bimbo: an immature man-child who chases women and leeches off his friends and families. He was a scene-stealer in My Family, making idiotic comments and being a burden on his father. When he left the show the quality went with him.

Now that Marshall is older, his screen persona has mellowed, but he still has a comedic quality to him and his version of the Doctor could be someone who is brilliant, eccentric, excitable, yet absent-minded – a Time Lord who gets distracted easily and constantly does weird experiments. He could be a little like Robert Downey Jr’s version of Sherlock Holmes.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Odds: 
Betfair – 29/5, Ladbrokes – 5/1
Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a writer/actress with a growing reputation in the UK. She has often been mentioned as a replacement for Capaldi and the media has linked her to the role. Waller-Bridge is the second favorite (according to Ladbrokes) to become The Doctor and the highest ranked woman by the bookies. Waller-Bridge is best known for starring in and writing the critically acclaimed comedy Fleabag and that is the role that has put in her contention for the role.

Waller-Bridge has all the expected credentials for a potential Doctor: she is an up-and-coming actress with comedic skill. Her characters have also been tested or had some tragedy in their lives, which Waller-Bridge would be able to transfer to The Doctor. She could play a cynical version of The Doctor. Waller-Bridge has also worked with the new showrunner, Chris Chibnall, appearing in the second season of Broadchurch.

Despite the speculation of Waller-Bridge being in line to become The Doctor, she has ruled herself out the running. Her schedule is too jam packed at the moment and includes appearing in the Star Wars anthology film about Han Solo and filming a new a second season of Fleabag in November.

Jodie Whittaker

Odds: Betfair – 22/5
Jodie Whittaker has emerged as a late contender to play The Doctor and quickly became one of the favorites. Her Wikipedia has already been edited to say she is playing The Doctor – but we should not think of Wikipedia as a reliable source at the moment.

Whittaker is a prolific actress in the UK, starring in numerous indie films and TV shows. She earned praise for her debut role in Venus, where she starred alongside the late great Peter O’Toole, and her other credits include the rebooted St Trinian’s series and indie-comedy Adult Life Skills. On TV, she led the ITV mystery Marchlands and appeared with Gemma Arterton and Eddie Redmayne in the 2008 version of Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

The main reason why Whittaker is being considered to play The Doctor is that she starred in Chris Chibnall’s previous series, Broadchurch, playing the mother of a boy who was murdered. It’s a role that would that test any actor.

Whittaker is a talented actress and she’s not shy to take on genre roles: her performances in Attack the Block and Black Mirror are a testament to that. Her performances in indie-comedies show Whittaker could play a quirky, off-beat character like The Doctor and she has the dramatic ability to handle the darker moments The Doctor would face.

Michaela Coel

Odds: Betfair – 57/5, Ladbrooks – 16/1
Another emerging actress that has been linked to the role is Michaela Coel. At the age of 29, Coel is a rising star in the UK, appearing in shows like The Aliens and Black Mirror and is most famous for creating and starring in Chewing Gum which earned her two BAFTAs.

In Chewing Gum, Coel plays a woman who had a religious upbringing and by the age of 24 is still a virgin: a situation Coel’s character tries to rectify. This leads to the character suffering from many embarrassing incidents and Coel could use this social awkwardness when playing The Doctor – having trouble communicating with her companion and people they meet on their adventures.

Coel is a talented young woman, as well as being a writer/actress, she is a singer-songwriter and a poet. Whether she gets the role as the Time Lord or not, Coel is going to go far. Unfortunately, it would be easy to predict how certain sections of the internet would react to her casting.

Natalie Dormer

Odds: 
Betfair – 47/1, Ladbrokes – 16/1
Best known for playing Margaery Tyrell in Game of Thrones, Natalie Dormer is another actress apparently in the running to play The Doctor. Compared to Waller-Bridge and Coel, who are already attached to other roles, Dormer is free from her role in Game of Thrones due to her character being killed off at in the sixth season finale.

Dormer is an attractive woman with a distinctive face, that would fit the role, and Dormer’s experience in genre films and TV shows (i.e. Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games) would mean she is accustomed to the world of Doctor Who. The costume designers would have fun outfitting her.

As Margaery Tyrell, Dormer played an outwardly charitable and compassionate woman who was really using her reputation to gain popularity with the smallfolk so she could use them as power base and she used her femininity to woo King Tommen and become Queen of the Seven Kingdom. In her small role as a prostitute in The Riot Club, she was cold and distant. If Dormer was able to combine compassionate and aloofness she could make a great Doctor. At 35, she would be able to mix youthful energy with a certain level of wisdom and experience.

However, Dormer is an in-demand actress: she has three films in post-production and is set to star in a TV adaptation of Picnic at Hanging Rock – so it may make her less likely to play The Doctor.

Tilda Swinton

Odds: 
Betfair – 66/5, Ladbrokes – 16/1
Tilda Swinton has often been touted as a potential Doctor but there is no a chance in hell that this will happen. Swinton is too big a name for the role, having roles in major movies like The Chronicles of NarniaDoctor Strange, and Okja, and has been nominated for numerous awards. The only TV roles she would be interested in would be a miniseries or a show on a major network like HBO.

Swinton would be brilliant as The Doctor, but she would be more likely to take a villainous role like The Master or The Rani – only having to commit for a few episodes or be the big guest star for the Christmas Special.

If you want to waste your money, bet on Swinton becoming The Doctor.

David Harewood


Odds: 
Betfair – 17/2, Ladbrokes – 16/1
Born in Birmingham, David Harewood is a prolific TV actor in the UK and USA. He is best known for his roles in Homeland and Supergirl, and has many other credits like The Night Manager and the BBC’s Robin Hood.

Harewood is a talented and experienced actor who would have no trouble playing The Doctor. Harewood’s previous experience playing people in senior positions and his natural imposing fame and he could play an authoritative Doctor – a Time Lord that remains cool and collective when a situation goes bad.

Harewood is 51-years-old, making him one of the oldest candidates to play The Doctor and he has publicly stated that the next Doctor should be black or a woman. Harewood has already played a villain in Doctor Who – the billionaire Joshua Naismith who helped resurrect The Master which may also affect the actor’s chances of taking the role.

Tom Rosenthal

Odds: 
Betfair – 24/5, Ladbrokes – 16/1
Tom Rosenthal is a young comedic actor best known for starring in Plebs and Friday Night Dinner. He has also won and been nominated for numerous comedy awards like the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year, British Chortle Student Comedian of the Year, and a nomination for Best Breakthrough Act at the British Comedy Awards.

With credentials like that, Rosenthal would have the comedic ability to play the role and his everyman look would make him similar to Matt Smith. His previous role in Drunk History as Harold Abrahams shows he is willing to dress in 1920s athletic gear and a ’20s style suits would fit Rosenthal.

However, The Doctor is as much a dramatic role as a comedic one: The Doctor has moments of reflection and despair. No matter what incantation, The Doctor is a figure who makes grand speeches and statements. Rosenthal has little experience in dramatic roles.

James Norton

Odds: 
Betfair – 28/1, Ladbrokes – 20/1
James Norton is an up-and-coming actor in the UK, having leading roles in Happy ValleyGrantchester, and War and Peace. He even won the British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Happy Valley.

Many of Norton’s roles have been in period dramas like BelleMr. Turner, and Lady Chatterley’s Lover and it would be easy to picture him in 18th or 19th-century style clothing to play The Doctor. However, the rumors regarding Norton are similar to suggestions that Richard Madden was going to replace Peter Capaldi a couple of years ago – getting an emerging handsome young actor to take on the role.

Because of Norton’s rising star he is unlikely to take the role. Norton has been rumored to replace Daniel Craig as James Bond, meaning he could skip Doctor Who and go straight to Hollywood. He is set to star in a remake of Flatliners and the mini-series McMafia.

Luke Treadaway
Odds: 
Betfair – 19/10
Earlier this year the British press reported that Luke Treadaway was in the running to play The Thirteenth Doctor. Treadaway is an award-winning theater actor – winning the Olivier Award for his lead role in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. This puts Treadaway in a good standing to play The Doctor because he played a character with autism and that experience could be used to play The Doctor as aloof and distant, whilst his ability with stage projection would allow Treadaway to make big speeches.

Treadaway also has a leading role in Sky Atlantic show Fortitude whilst film fans would recognize him for the role as James Bowen in the biopic A Street Cat Named Bob. It was a performance where Treadaway gave an accurate performance of a man overcoming a heroin addiction, but he was overshadowed by a cat. Still, Treadaway’s Doctor could have an affinity with felines.

Olivia Colman

Odds: 
Betfair – 66/5, Ladbrokes – 25/1
Olivia Colman is an actress who has been linked to play The Doctor for a long time and is one of the most talented candidates. Colman starred in Chris Chibnall’s crime series Broadchurch, which is one of the main reasons the media considers her a contender.

Colman has incredible filmography: her credits include Hot FuzzTyrannosaurPeep ShowRev, and The Night Manager. Colman has shown an incredible range during her roles – she has given dramatic and comedic performances and played upper and working class characters. Colman could easily play the role any way Chibnall would want, and she could play The Doctor as either a woman with a wit or a more bitchy character (like she is in Fleabag). No matter how she plays The Doctor, Colman would easily handle the dramatic moment as well as The Doctor’s gender conversion.

Colman is a prolific actress which may prevent her from taking the role. She also played a villain in a previous episode of Doctor Who, which might be tricky to explain.

Richard Rankin

Odds: 
Betfair – 19/1, Ladbrokes – 20/1
Richard Rankin could follow in the footstep of Sylvester McCoy, David Tennant, and Peter Capaldi and be another Scottish actor to play The Doctor. At 34-years-old Rankin has primarily worked on television, starting his career on the Scottish sketch show Burnistoun and appeared in shows like Silent Witness and The Crimson Field. He currently has a role in Starz’ Outlander.

Rankin has played police detectives in Silent Witness and the BBC miniseries Thirteen and to play a cop an actor needs a level of presence. Like a police detective, The Doctor often has to investigate mysteries and use their powers of deduction.

Rankin also has the amazing ability to look as handsome and well groomed, as well as looking weary and ragged, giving the showrunners some options on how to portray The Doctor.

Paterson Joseph

Odds: 
Betfair – 20/21, Ladbrokes – 25/1
Paterson Joseph is an outsider to become The Thirteenth Doctor, but I have included him because he is my favored candidate. Joseph is best known for playing Alan Johnson in the cult comedy show Peep Show. In Peep Show, Johnson was an arrogant businessman who was willing to screw over his best friends, but Joseph was able to make him compelling and weirdly likable. Johnson was an asshole, yet he had a swagger about him – traits he could transfer into The Doctor. In the Peep Show episode “The Affair,” Johnson is at a low ebb after losing his job and going a bit mad. Joseph can use all that experience when playing The Doctor, someone who is a smug and arrogant Time Lord who knows he is the best.

During Joseph’s long career he had a supporting role in The Beach where he gives a speech about his love for God and cricket. This would give a flavor of what a speech by Joseph’s Doctor could be like.

Joseph was considered the favorite by bookies to replace David Tennant as the Eleventh Doctor but obviously, Matt Smith got the role. This previous speculation may make Joseph hesitant to play The Doctor.

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