The 13th Doctor: Who should it be?


2 years ago, I wrote a post called ‘The Doctor WITH BOOBS? An argument against a female Doctor‘, where I argued against the notion of a female doctor. I outright objected to it at the time. Now, Peter Capaldi has announced Series 10 to be his last for the show, and the argument over who the new Doctor will be. With lots of speculation in the press, on social media, and in my cliques, I would like to discuss what they should do.

The way I am going to tackle this is by looking at 3 ways they could cast the 13th Doctor, and I’ll say what I like about those ideas and what I dislike, and then end with my own view on how they should recast the Doctor. Really the title is misleading, as I don’t really want to turn this into a post regarding which actor should do the role. This is more about the way in which they can replace Capaldi. The first option is, of course:

The Status quo: Just cast another British male actor into the role.

This is the safe option for the casting department, to pick another male actor for the role. Perhaps we could have a black doctor, or an Asian doctor, or a mixed race doctor, but the safest option is British and male. That’s the first thing you think of when you think of the role. The Doctor, he is a British-accented male alien. This is the easiest way to continue to market the doctor abroad. It just makes financial sense for the role to continue as is with no real change. If I was a BBC exec, I’d go for this option. But that is generally quite a boring way to go, the status quo. It really constrains what you can do with the character, thou

But that is generally quite a boring way to go, the status quo. It really constrains what you can do with the casting with such a limited outlook. The actors they’ve picked are all very good, and they create great personalities for their doctor to have, but 13 actors have played the role, and all were white man. I don’t think the 13th doctor shouldn’t be male, but we’ve seen it. If I was casting a British male actor, I’d pick Richard Ayoade. He’s youthful, eccentric, and has the gift of gab.

The other option we have is:

Making the Doctor Female

2015 Ben, what did you say about this idea. Remind us, please…

‘In a sense, making The Doctor as a woman would be a disaster, and could potentially kill the show. While it would be interesting and is not a bad thing really, I couldn’t picture them doing that.’

Now, what are 2017 Ben’s views. Just cast a good actor or actress. Whoever fits the role best. My earlier post is a mess, but some points I still agree with. A female doctor is a gamble, and making the role female would seem like; to me, doing because you can. Missy, the latest Master incarnation, has been great, because Michelle Gomez is a great actress for the role. It reminds me of a female Roger Delgado. I just wish the series 8 finale was better for her, but the series 9 premiere was great.

I don’t know if a female doctor would kill the show now, but I think some people will hate it, and I think it will be bad in the short term for the show, which is why I will say just cast a good actor or actress. Open it up to male and female thespians and see what you get. If I was picking a female doctor, I’d like Lindsay Duncan, whose played Lady Smallwood in Sherlock. She has a lot of class, and she was in Doctor Who. Who else was in Doctor Who before becoming the Doctor? Colin Baker AND Peter Capaldi. Tom Baker said ‘revisit old faces’. There you go…

But those are my choices if I was forced to make a black and white decision, to make it male or female, because that is all you can do, right? No. Here’s my idea for how to cast the 13 Doctor:

My idea: Androgyny

Not male. Not female. Sure, you can have a male or female actor, but it doesn’t HAVE to be Black or white in terms of the gender role. I have had many complaints about recent New Who series, including the romantic tension between the doctor and his companions. So we could eliminate that with a non-binary doctor. Make it like a Ziggy Stardust character. Clean shaven, bold colours, wears a mixture of male and female clothes, mix up those mannerisms.

Think of it this way. Timelords changing gender, and maybe even their biological appearance to less human creatures. Romantic relationships on Gallifrey must be different to those on earth because you can regenerate into different genders. Why is The Doctor called ‘The Doctor’. Its a unisex title.

I would love to see them take a real, real risk. Not just giving the doctor boobs and making the role a girl. Don’t give The Doctor a gender. Make The Doctor alien to the viewer, with alien customs, and a different vibe. Don’t make The Doctor look like he can pass for an everyday person in a crowded street. Do something different. The pool of actors would be endless.

And those are my views on who the new doctor should be. Leave interesting comments on my Facebook page and continue the debate with me.

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Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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