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Who Could Be Who? 2: Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedit Cumberbatch in The Last Enemy.

If you read the press, the casting of the new Doctor Who seems to be all over bar the shouting, with Survivors actor Paterson Joseph (or Joseph Patterson, depending on which paper you read) still front-runner for the role. He seems such a dead cert, that the bookies have closed books on this particular flutter opportunity.

It still won’t be him, and today, as part of our occasional series, I humbly offer you Benedict Cumberbatch as a possible contender…

Who?, you ask? He’s the chap who played Steven Hawking in the TV biopic appropriately titled Hawking (which also brought forth a Bafta nomination for Best Actor). He was the slightly off-kilter academic in The Last Enemy (pictured), and sea-faring Edmund Talbot in To The Ends Of The Earth

But the question is: why would he make a good Doctor Who? He has that interesting look about him, an air of secrets and somebody who doesn’t quite connect to the world. On the one hand there’s that aloof academic air, on the other there’s an occasional warming, even mischievous smile that lights up the room - two qualities essential in the Doctor?

Is it perhaps time for that slightly more alien Doctor, a character who loves humans but who doesn’t quite get them? He tries and tries, and nine times out of ten it works. And then there’s that one time when he does something that reminds you this is a man from another planet… For me Cumberbatch could play that quizzical, askance nature that the Doctor sometimes needs, but taken to bursts of intense energy and leadership when the need arises.

I also see him with a tweedy look, heightening the academic angle - a smart pair of brogues, dark trousers, tweed jacket. But not rumpled, it’s all top-notch gear and well cut, perhaps with a loosely knotted scarf when it’s cold - or is that too Tom Baker?

Cumberbatch shares many qualities with another favourite actor of mine, John Wood. Not only do they look similar, they have that wonderful whimsical air that can turn on a sixpence to intensity when needed. I always thought of Wood as a potential candidate back when he did a turn as Stephen Falken in WarGames, and maybe this is why I have Cumberbatch in mind now.

But more than anything, I want Benedict Cumberbatch for Doctor Who as it makes me laugh to think of writers scribbling away in sci-fi magazines having to write “the Cumberbatch era” every five minutes. It would give me a laugh anyway…


He's old beyond his years.. which I was going to say was a drawback, we like slightly younger doctor's these days. But if you're going to play a 900 year old then an air of being a bit aged would probably help.

I dunno, I just get too much of a stuffy, posh vibe. The whole Chris Ecclestone, new DW series, was about doing away with that Southern English rules the roost mandate. This would be too far a step back into the style of the older doctors for me.

I want someone attractive, fanciable is a must (and I did find CE attractive). But only if it's a given the actor in question is brilliant. No point being a looker, however quirky or traditional, with nothing up top.

I like the idea of it being someone no-one else has thought of. Like DT had only come to wider attention just recently thru Blackpool and Casanova when he got the gig. A large number of people were, appropriately enough, going "Who?" I kinda want that again. Someone clearly talented, on their way up, and then DW nabs them as they approach the pinnacle.

Not too hard, is it?

A couple of days ago, at the Evening Standard Stage awards, Benedict Cumberbatch and David Tennant were cosying up together. Maybe they know something we don't :)

I wouldn't be opposed to Benedict Cumberbatch at all - I'm NOT keen on Paterson Joseph. This isn't a race issue, I just can't stop thinking of him as Johnson from 'Peep Show.' I think Dylan Moran, David Morrissey or Hugh Laurie (although I doubt this'd happen, unless he'd swap one Doctor for another...)

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