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The new Doctor Who is…

Well, no, not really - the top rating BBC television drama has a popular and brilliant Doctor Who of its own who, at least for the time being, doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. We have David Tennant for at least another year of special episodes, starting with this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special, also starring Dervla Kirwan and David Morrissey as a seemingly alternate version of the Time Lord. Beyond that, though, there’s a temptation to say: who knows? (Yes, sorry to anybody reading who recognises that last line, I couldn’t resist…).

But all anybody connected to Doctor Who has to say is “AN Other Actor would make a fantastic Doctor Who,” and the papers seem to pounce on it as gospel. Take this week with the serialisation in The Times of extracts from forthcoming book The Writers Tale, being a series of email correspondences between current executive producer of Doctor Who, Russell T Davies, and journalist Benjamin Cook.

In the book, Russell opines to Cook on the casting of actor Russell Tovey in the 2007 Christmas special, Voyage of the Damned:

“He’s amazing. I think I’d make him the eleventh Doctor.”

And cue the frenzy from the press, declaring:

History Boy could be next Doctor Who

Tovey tipped for Doctor Who role

Russell Tovey the next Doctor?

and so on…

I don’t think for a second that, as and when the BBC has a situation vacant in the Tardis, that Russell Tovey will be the next Doctor Who. Sorry Russell, I love you, but I don’t think it’s in the cards. This is, to my mind, the idle musings of a producer at the helm of the biggest show on television (and, for the first time in its long history, it really is the biggest show on television), who probably has that thought about any number of actors every single day. It’s the nature of the beast, I imagine…

But, as David Tennant himself has said, people have been asking him when he’s leaving ever since he took the role of the Doctor on, and those questions are likely to become even more fervent as 2009 comes around and new executive producer Steven Moffatt takes over the big chair.

Indeed, as soon as Moffatt’s name was announced as the new guy, James Nesbitt, who the Coupling writer had worked with on Jekyll, was already cast and routinely dismissed by the fans. Job done.

When the time comes for a new Doctor, I doubt the production team will be looking towards the last bloke they had through the door to work with them - that’s just not the way professionals work. Yes, Tennant was offered the role of the Doctor following his work on Casanova with Davies and Julie Gardner, but that’s one of those rare moments of TV synergy when the right bloke is in the right place at the right time. In fact, Davies probably had Tennant in mind as a replacement for Christopher Eccleston long before the cameras started rolling on Casanova. Anybody watching Blackpool would have had the same thought.

My seven year-old nephew is living in mortal fear of the day when his Doctor Who decides to put the brown pinstripe suit back in the wardrobe for good. He loves him as much as his wise old uncle loved Tom Baker. But change is the nature of Doctor Who, and it will happen one day, sooner or later. But not just yet…

David Tennant will, at some point, enter into the legacy of great Time Lords, that is assured, and there is an actor somewhere out there destined to take on the greatest role of his career (or her career?). There are names being bandied around - as we have seen this week, even by the outgoing executive producer. Names like Chiwetel Ejiofor for one. How about Benedict Cumberbatch? Battlestar Galactica’s James Callis, or Mr Billie Piper, Laurence Fox…

The list goes on and on, but personally, Ejiofor gets my vote all the way. One thing I do know, however, is that Russell Brand need not apply… But I adore the Doctor Who we have right now, so don’t be looking to go anywhere just yet, eh, David?

11 Comments

AMEN!!

I grew up loving Tom Baker and Peter Davison both and yet now I couldn't imagine seeing anyone but David Tennant as the Doctor. I know that when the time comes for David to move on, I'll be miserable for a while and then I'll continue to love the show and the character and the plots and the fun and the adventure of it all, whoever takes on the role of the 11th Doctor.

But right now, David IS the Doctor and I'll always have a special place in my heart for #10.

Hear hear! David T has replaced Tom Baker as MY doctor as well as my 7yr old's.

Casanova, Blackpool - amazing. And i'm sure whatever David stars in next will also be brilliant. But in the meantime.... Long may David reign!

In one of them hardback fancy Doctor Who anthologies, Andy Pryor says David Tennant was in mind for being the first new doctor, but simply wasn't famous enough at the time.

David says when he worked on Casanova he dropped many hints at Russell to be involved in anything Who, and got nothing back at all. Didn't get him anywhere (at the time).

When Christopher says he's leaving, David Tennant is more in the public consciousness. He's had the one-two of Blackpool and Casanova, he's on the ascendant - to a public who may not have known of him before. The timing is set, right place, right time... and there we go.

I wouldn't object to Russell Tovey, I think he's great. I miss Christopher Eccleston in the role, no matter how much I love David Tennant. I just don't want Moffat making some extreme choice to make a point about "moving on". Go with what's right, not with what grabs headlines.

I remember reading somewhere that David Tennant was actually RTD's FIRST choice for the Ninth Doctor but they ended up going with Christopher instead. So when Christopher decided to leave, David was immediately first on the list again.

You'd think a professional writer would know the difference between "alternate" and "alternative"!

Anyway, I hope DT goes on for a long time yet...

So upset David Tennant is leaving...he has been the best Doctor ever. I think Richard Coyle would make a great replacement

Personally, I'm hoping the new doctor is Rupert Grint. Purely because it would tear apart so many people involved to still like Rupert/read the TV Today blog/like Doctor Who.

It's obviously heresy to say but to my mind DT was a grinning idiot as the Dr.

Gurning and hamming his way through every scene like a puppy on steroids.

I read today that he's the hottest actor of our times.

He's certainly the most over rated.

Andy Sircus. Perfect choice. You read it here first.

Strength, Contrast (doctors 1-4, 9-10) Charisma, Like-ability and ability to take the show somewhere else great after such a good run, therefore:-

Andy Serkis- perfect ... or

Paul Kaye- punk Doctor...or

Jason Flemyng "I've always wanted to be ginger!"

The cat is out the bag ;)

I really am going to miss David Tennant and while I don't want him to go I know I don't want him to be replaced but some idiot. My first thoughts were either Harry Lloyd or Richard Armitage because Steven Moffat was taking over as Head Writer and I thought people who can bring out a dark side would really work well with him. However now I think Charles Aitken would make a great new Doctor. I know that this will be totally out of the blue, but with Eccleston and Tennant both being surprise castings I really think this guy could pull it off. He was born in England and grew up in America. He graduated from RADA and I saw him in Othello as Iago at the Lyric Hammersmith. I just thought he could make a really good Doctor. Especially with Moffat taking over this could really work. He can really bring out a dark side. I know it sounds random but it really could work, believe me. Look him up, he's not done much but he's got 'next big thing' written all over him.

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