You’ve got to hand it to old Russell T Davies – he really, truly knows how to wind up the press and generate column inches for Doctor Who publicity.
You see when he’s not writing mercilessly into the small hours (I find that the best time to write too… gentle conversation on the radio, no cars outside, no family interruptions) Russell has – I imagine – a little notebook with pages headed "Wind Up Name" under which he lists as many unlikely potential Doctor Who leads as he possibly can.
After all, where else could he possibly pull some of the recent names from? At the Press Launch of The Next Doctor (last Thursday, 18th December) RTD speculated how two women would make good Doctors, adding that its bound to happen at some point…
"I think the more [a female Doctor] is talked about, the more likely it is to happen,"
And who did he suggest?
"Lesley Sharp or Catherine Zeta Jones."
He couldn’t pick two more different actresses. (Although of course they do have one thing in common. Lesley Sharpe appeared in the Doctor Who adventure Midnight playing a freakish alien entity that inhabits human bodies, and Catherine Zeta Jones is married to Michael Douglas.)
Of course it would be churlish to ridicule the choice of Catherine Zeta Jones, if only because it would allow more pictures on Kasterborous like this one.
I’d certainly ride in her TARDIS.
But it gets even more interesting. You see RTD isn’t the only person bandying the names of female actresses around. Somehow Goodness Gracious Me actress Meera Syal has become linked to the casting of the next star of Doctor Who – at least in India:
A source said: "The BBC really wants to shake things up. There is no reason storyline wise why the Doctor cannot be a woman and from any ethnic background.
"The Doctor has morphed before and will do so again.
"To keep the edge they need to change and update the show otherwise there is a danger it will look tired."
The one thing that will make Doctor Who look tired is cynical stunt casting. Anyone remember the 1980s?
It’s hard to take the above story seriously – but how seriously can anyone take a story suggesting that David Walliams is the Eleventh Doctor? The Telegraph reported this week that bookies have slashed odds on Little Britain star Walliams taking the role (despite bookies not offering any odds for weeks now – since around the time that this story broke.)
Rupert Adam, a spokesman for William Hill, said: "We had a bit of money suddenly put on David Walliams 15 days ago and then we had a flood of bets.
"His name had come out of the blue but these are quite significant moves in the market."
If you want more lists, head on over to The Mirror, who seem hell bent on naming as many actors from a certain Doctor Who Forum as possible candidates for the role. Otherwise, pop over there for this slightly barmy story.
Darts commentator Sid Waddell wrote the near-legendary kids TV series Jossy’s Giants in the 1980s – and reckons that one of the stars of the show is going to be Doctor Who # 11. On the potential casting Julian Walsh, he says:
"Jossy’s Giants was probably the best thing I did – the series peaked at 6.9 million viewers and it was top of the BBC ratings for children’s programmes.
"I’m chuffed for Julian he’s among the contenders because the kid was a natural."
(Walsh can be regularly seen in television commercials for Warburtons Bread. Also note this story was originally reported in May 2007.)
Like I say, anything to get the press talking about Doctor Who…