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Published on June 11th, 2013 | by Meredith Burdett

BBC Confirms Continuing Search for New Doctor Who

So, the BBC has denied that the part of the Twelfth Doctor has been offered to actor Rory Kinnear and now confirm that the hunt is still on to find the actor to replace Matt Smith.


Rumours are still persisting and certain names keep cropping up including actor Ben Daniels (Law and Order: UK, have a look at this YouTube clip where you can see his range and skip to 1:04 to see a very Doctor-style argument), Ben Whishaw (Skyfall), Russell Tovey (Doctor Who: The Voyage of the Damned) and Paterson Joseph (Peep Show, Jekyll).

Luther’s Idris Elba has been rumoured and would be fantastic in the role but it seems that he’s not so keen:

No I didn’t think I’d be very good at Doctor Who man. I don’t look good in a bow tie.

As ever, these rumours add up to exactly nothing until the BBC and Steven Moffat announce who they’ve cast.

If they were to go down the route of having a female Doctor, actress Helen Mirren could certainly help with the casting:

I think it’s absolutely time for a female Doctor Who. I’m so sick of that man with his girl sidekick. I could name at least 10 wonderful British actresses who would absolutely kill in that role.

Is Mirren right? Should we have some of Britain’s female acting talent holding the keys to the TARDIS?

What would River do?



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About the Author


What happens when an eight year old kid watches the 1993 repeat run of Planet of the Daleks? He pretty much ends up here writing about the show that grabbed hold of him and never let go!

60 Responses to BBC Confirms Continuing Search for New Doctor Who

  1. avatar Terry Cooper says:

    Thanks Meredith! Nice to get some clarity in these confusing times!

  2. avatar TimeChaser says:

    We’ve had Time Lords and Time Ladies. I don’t think a spontaneous gender change of an iconic character is a good idea. It could blow up in their faces if people don’t get on board with it, and I doubt Moffat will run the risk of being the one who ruined Doctor Who.

    • As opposed to a spontaneous hair color change, accent change, height change… Who are you deluding!? This is Doctor Who!! Regenerations are SPONTANEOUS!!

      • avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

        So would Susan (if she is still alive somehow) then have to call him Grandma? I don’t think so! With different hair, accent, height etc… He will still always be her GrandFATHER!!! Maybe you’ll understand in time.

        • avatar Oleta says:

          I really dislike your patronising tone.

          Your argument is also weak. The Doctor can always be Susan’s grandfather, her name and feelings for him need not change just because his genital and reproductive configuration changes! Susan is also Galifreyan, she would be familiar with regeneration, it is possible that the term grandfather would be used regardless of the person’s current gender, more as a definition of their relationship as it originated. The Doctor isn’t human, you are projecting your own prejudices and cultural restrictiveness onto an alien species who have a completely different existence to our own.

          I recommend the Ursula Le Guin novel “The Left Hand of Darkness” if you want to see the idea of how gender could exist differently in other species, a fascinating book, and a really good read!

          • avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

            My tone wasn’t particularly intended for your liking so don’t worry too much about it hen.

            Do you remember The Curse Of Fatal Death? The comedy sketch from 1999? Remember how it built up to a humorous revelation that The Doctor’s last regeneration was female? It was funny because it was preposterous. It was funny because it was ridiculous. It was funny because The Doctor being female WAS THE JOKE!

            There are plenty of strong, great female hero parts out there so I beg the crazy feminist army to please leave Doctor Who alone!

            Oh, and lighten up :)

          • avatar Zooromeo says:

            Wow – study gender neutrality at uni did we ?

            Men and women are different – get over it !!

            The doctor should stay a man because that’s the character – he doesn’t need to be a woman just for the sake of it.

            *cue accusations of prejudice

          • avatar Oleta says:

            I gave a reasoned response, detailing how this might work and why it could be reasonable within the mythos of the show. Franco and Zooromeo’s level of ‘debate’ involves insulting me and all women. I rest my case, and won’t be wasting my time responding to anything they say.

            Anyone have any constructive comments I’m always happy to discuss. I understand that it might feel odd to have a female doctor and as I remark in a comment further down, I’m not sure I’d want one while Moffat is show-runner. I’m happy to speculate on what might and might not work. But knee-jerk sexist nastiness is childish and unproductive. It makes the whole fandom look bad.

          • avatar Oleta says:

            To clarify: My reference to sexist comments relates to some other comments made by these later in the thread and not just those above.

          • avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

            Oleta, you won’t be ‘wasting your time responding to anything we say;? do you honestly mean it? Please don’t tease us! It sounds too good to be true!

            Oh, and nobody here is insulting ‘all’ women. Just people like you sweetheart who A: ask for it and B: rise to it. I have no problem insulting somebody that is obviously looking to be insulted. And people aren’t sexist because they don’t want a female Doctor. These people are just the vast majority of Doctor Who fans. But obviously you know better.

            Now, Oleta, how’s my dinner coming along?

      • avatar TimeChaser says:

        I’m not deluding anyone, and I’m not deluded either. There is nothing that says the Doctor ever HAS to change into a woman. There have been plenty of strong female characters in the show, and I’m sure there will continue to be in the future. Why does the main character have to change gender to justify some misplaced notions of gender equality if he doesn’t?

        • avatar TimeChaser says:

          Gender INequality, I should have said. Just because some of us, probably a lot of us actually, don’t want the Doctor to be a woman, doesn’t mean we sexist or there’s a conspiracy to put down women because of it.

  3. avatar dr jon says:

    The bbc and moffat will have a few names on the list but they won’t rush things, lots of actors to see lots of dinners to go to, and we will not know who was in the running long after they pick the right choice for dr 12. I have a feeling they will go for a lesser known actor and they may well be quite a bit older to get a new spin on the show.

  4. avatar Hyncharas says:

    Still the obssession over guest cast members becoming The Doctor; it would appear some fans will never learn.

    As for rumours, they never stop. People can believe whatever they want but, ultimately, the BBC are the ones running the show – they will decide who (and what race/gender) is best suited to fulful the role.

    • avatar Grufaine says:

      Uh, Colin Baker was a guest cast member?

      • avatar TimeChaser says:

        A rare case. I still don’t think Patterson Joseph would make a good Doctor, no matter how many times his name gets thrown out.

      • avatar Timelover says:

        And (unfortunately) he was the most disliked.

  5. avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

    “Time will tell. It always does.”

  6. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    No, Mirren is wrong. And so is anybody else who thinks there should be a female Doctor. The Doctor has never been female. The Doctor is not female. The Doctor never will be female.

    And for Mirren to simply say she is ‘sick of that man with his girl sidekick’ is plain ignorant and insulting to Billie Piper, Freema Agyman, Catherine Tate and Jenna-Louise Coleman who far from being mere stooges or sidekicks have all been instrumental and central to the show – equal to whichever Doctor they appear alongside. Not only have the companion roles been excellently written, they’ve been superbly played by all actresses involved. They are incredibly strong and positive role models for today’s children (not just girls by the way).

    Besides the ‘man with the girl sidekick’ formula has basically worked pretty darn well for 50 years. If it ain’t broke…

    • Who are you to tell anyone their opinion is wrong? You are ironically painting yourself as even MORE ignorant and insulting than you claim Ms Mirren to be by flatly panning her opinion just because YOU don’t like it… You know nothing of the Doctor Who Franchise if you really adhere to the whole, “If it ain’t broke” The Doctor that Tom Baker played certainly fixed a lot of things that weren’t broke.

      • avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

        Calm you pretty little head dear. Don’t worry about it.

        • avatar Oleta says:

          That is an obnoxious and sexist comment. I don’t think you understand this program at all if you think this kind of attitude is ok.

          • avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

            Love it! some feminists are so easy to wind up. Some feminists give feminism a bad name and you, dear, and the lovely lady before you seem to be in that category. Now take a deep breath… and relax!

            The vast majority seem to agree with my comment that Mirren is wrong and that The Doctor is and always will be male.

          • avatar Oleta says:

            So you like winding women up do you? So you’re basically a troll. Saying hateful things to upset people, and you haven’t actually countered the argument that I made earlier…your only response is a petulant “I don’t like it so it won’t happen”. Facile and childish. I objected to your tone to the other poster so you replicate it, because you are like a misbehaving child craving attention – perhaps that’s the only way you can get women to pay you any?

            One day the Doctor will be female. Knowing that it will displease you makes it all the more sweet.

          • avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

            haven’t you got some washing to do or something? And no, the Doctor will never be a woman. Sorry to disappoint you sweetheart.

          • Can we keep this civil please, otherwise I will be forced to close the thread.

          • avatar Zooromeo says:

            For gods sake woman where’s my bloody dinner ?!?!?

  7. avatar Bob James says:

    What would River do? Ignore any statements made by people who are completely devoid of any remote understanding of what Doctor Who is, especially in 2013.

  8. avatar TonyS says:

    don’t believe them
    they already know

  9. avatar a fan says:

    From my perspective, it will be another relatively unknown actor taking up the part. To many upsides, while both Tennant and Smith (and Tom Baker) have proven that an unknown actor can make for a superb Doctor.

  10. avatar Al says:

    I wish people would stop suggesting Helen Mirren. Yes, she would be a great Doctor if they went that route but the problem is she’d be a short-term Doctor because she’s too busy with stage and major film appearances. Plus she’s too old. Ignore John Hurt’s age – we all know he’ll be in that one episode and that’ll be it. Someone his age would not sign on for the long haul. And the same for Mirren. And I’m still convinced they’ll lean towards casting an unknown rather than someone who has already established a reputation. Casting Elba would be neat, but then it’ll be all “Luther cast as Doctor” in the media.

    • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

      I doubt his recent brawl in a nightclub with one of the Gallagher brothers will have helped his case though. (Idris Elba, not John Hurt! Though I wouldn’t put it past Hurt!!!)

  11. avatar dr jon says:

    Very true indeed, an almost unknown actor has the chance to make his mark on being the new doctor as no one will know how he will play the part. And a better chance of people thinking he is the dr, I know jon pertwee and pat troughton even bill hartnell were quite well known but often hid behind wigs,beards,and silly voices. Peter davison was one of my favorites but he got a lot of stick from the press,calling him the wet vet. As he was well known at the time. And I think it didn’t help him at the start, even though he did good in the end. A more well known actor tends to be noticed for things they have done before and I think it can take longer for the public to take to them.

  12. avatar Geoff says:

    I think Idris is an excellent actor with charisma by the bucket load but there’s something too masculine about him. By that I mean he’s quite big and physical looking. To me at least the Doctor is imposing in a different way. That said he’s an actor and I’m basing that on what I’ve seen of him in other parts, Luther in particular. I’m sure he could do a Doctor-y turn if he was offered it. His response to the question was interesting vague. Maybe he is considering it. I’m holding out for Superhans aka Matt King but he might be too Tennant/Smith-y in appearance. He’s got a great range and has that Tom Baker crazy feel to him.

    • avatar Timelover says:

      Idris is more of a James Bond than a Doctor Who. The Doctor has to have a certain geekiness about him. Richard Ayoade or David Oyelowo (Danny Hunter -Spooks) would be a better casting.

      • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

        Hadn’t previously thought about David Oyelowo – might be interesting choice.

  13. avatar authorman94 says:

    And the search continues… while we all have big names or character actors we’d like to see as the actor (me, being predictable, either Paterson Joseph or James Nesbitt), I would rather they choose an unknown, because it would give a very talented actor their big break and that Tom Baker, Tennant and Smith were more or less unknowns and they’ve managed to bring their own uniqueness to the part.

    Now, I do have a view on the female Doctor debate – I would be fine with one, but not while Steven Moffat is writing since the man has not a clue how to write women (or romantic relationships for that matter). And also, I’ve personally found it more empowering to see average humans like Ace and Sarah Jane, or even minor superpowered ones like Nyssa, Leela or Romana (both of them) be the ones saving the Doctor and the universe because it sends the positive message you can be ordinary and yet do great things.

  14. avatar David F says:

    I think the seeds of the female Doctor idea were sown in The Three Doctors, when different versions of the same man were first seen interacting with one another. It damaged the concept that the Doctor is a single person, and some people have developed the fuzzy idea that the Doctor, within the story, is in some way a job, taken on by different people. We say “The Eleventh Doctor” when we should more accurately say “The Doctor’s eleventh body”.

    He’s a man. That’s what he is. If, say, The Bill had cast twelve consecutive Chief Superintendents as female, there’d be grounds for female actors to speak up about how the next one should be a woman. But this is a single person. When a soap-opera role is recast, no says, “The new Nick Tilsley should be a woman. The last two were both male.”

    • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

      But the difference is that the Doctor is an alien who can change bodies – when a soap actor is recast, the character is meant to be the same (however much they may change in actual fact), the fact they no longer look the same is ignored – it’s not in DW. The Doctor’s regeneration is openly acknowledged – Matt Smith isn’t playing a version of Hartnell, in a white wig, but a physically transformed character, so in theory there is no reason why he could not regenerate into a woman, change race, be a dwarf or nine feet tall!

      • avatar David F says:

        Yes, I know it’s technically possible to justify a change into a woman, but that’s only because (in Doctor Who) it’s possible to justify anything. It could be written that he turns into a two-headed purple giraffe. But that doesn’t mean a writer should do it, because he’s a man and it would undermine the entire narrative set-up, damaging the basis of his relationship with the audience.

        • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

          I fail to see this. I’m not particularly keen on a female Doctor – but that’s because I doubt Moffat and co could write one (River Song is effectively a female Doctor and she’s a disaster).

          But why would a female Doctor necessarily “damage…his relationship with the audience”? After all there have been acclaimed all female Richard II and no one blinked – and Richard was a real person!

  15. avatar Lewis Seymour says:

    If, as generally believed, it is true that Patterson Joseph was very close to being cast last time – and he confirmed he auditioned – then this suggests that a] Moffat didn’t care that he had been in the show before and b] he didn’t mind casting someone who couldn’t be described as “unknown” – he’d been a regular in Casualty for a start – so it would be wrong to rule out anyone. We know that Moffat had thought about an older (mid-40s) Doctor last time, and this may well be his plan again. But only time will tell – and frankly, the BBC will be happy to milk this for a while longer – lots of free publicity being generating at minimal effort from them!

    My personal opinion, for what it’s worth – they’ve cast the Doctor, but it isn’t Rory Kinnear. If it were, I think they’d confirm it.

  16. avatar David F says:

    What’s that based on? Can’t see any reason to disbelieve the simplest explanation, which is that they’re embarking on a sensible process of auditions, screen tests and conversations.

    • avatar castellanspandrel says:

      Thanks for posting the most common sense, David F. People are too ready with conspiracy theories re: 12′s casting.

      I’d ask Helen Mirren: so would it be okay to bring back Prime Suspect but with a male actor playing DCI John Tennyson? I’m so sick of that woman and her clueless male lackeys. I can think of at least 10 wonderful male actors who’d absolutely kill in that part.

      And yet despite her emphatic dislike of Doctor Who, some still speculate over whether she’d make a good female Doctor. Extraordinary.

    • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

      Based on my personal opinion and my knowledge of TV production. It is – amazing as it may seem – as valid an opinion as yours.

      • avatar castellanspandrel says:

        “Based on my personal opinion and my knowledge of TV production. It is – amazing as it may seem – as valid an opinion as yours.” – Not quite sure what this is in response to, Lewis. Could you elaborate?

        For the record, I wasn’t aiming anything personal at anyone. I just don’t believe it matters whether the part has been cast yet or not, as we’ll find out in due course anyway, when the BBC are ready to announce it or when it’s leaked, whichever happens soonest.

        • avatar castellanspandrel says:

          Ah, okay. I’ve actually put my glasses on and read everything now, so I know what you were referring to! Mea culpa.

  17. avatar Timelover says:

    I’m actually hoping it’s someone (the majority of us anyway) have not heard of before. Matt was new … even David Tennant was pretty much unknown.
    Saying that, if they cast Hugh Laurie (which I doubt) I’d be over the Moons of Poosh with happiness :-)

  18. avatar Zerico says:

    How about a ginger american?

    • avatar TonyS says:

      A ginger American woman. Gillian Anderson is based in the UK at present…

      • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

        But now blonde sadly. I’d love to see her in DW – but more likely as a guest star rather than the Doc – she is too identified with Scully, and has previously expressed an aversion to signing up for another long term commitment after 9 years in X

  19. avatar antony492 says:

    Wish the people and “celebrities” egging for a female Doctor would shut up. I totally agree we should have female Time Lords, but The Doctor himself should not just be able to switch gender. It would not make sense. These people probably hardly ever watch the show or do not follow it religiously. But for those of us who do, it would be tragic.

  20. avatar castellanspandrel says:

    People speculate over whether the Doctor should become a female part simply because it ‘could’ become a female part based on the idea of regeneration, but why does that logically mean it ‘should’ become a female part?

    We’ve seen many reboots of other shows and films, sometimes involving gender reversal in key roles; for example, the recent casting of Prof. Moriarty as a woman in a version of Sherlock. Therefore, in theory, it could be done with just about any character role – even those who can’t regenerate! – but that doesn’t mean it always will happen; look at all the different Bonds (no bodily regeneration involved there), and not one of them a female, because it’s recognised as a male character, and similarly, it’s why the Doctor shouldn’t become a female, in my opinion, despite the plot device of regeneration, which would allow that to happen.

    If the Doctor became female, I’d still watch. Who knows – I may even like it. They could always try it and if it doesn’t work out, regenerate her back to a bloke, but at what expense to the programme and its ratings? In short, it smacks of change for change’s sake.

    • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

      I’ve always thought of the Doctor as asexual myself – although this has been somewhat undermined by the reboot version as he seems to fall in love at the drop of a hat!

      The big problem with saying that a change of sex might damage the programme is that you could apply this reasoning to any change. A black actor might alienate the some white viewers, or a even younger actor might alienate older viewers, or an older Doctor might drive away the younger fans.

      Whoever is chosen could end up being the wrong choice for any number of reasons – the best we can hope for is we get a good actor – or actress…

      • avatar Oleta says:

        I agree, with much that you’ve said here and in other comments on this issue.

        I’ve always felt that as an extremely long-lived species, with the ability to regenerate, Time Lords would likely have a reduced sexual drive, perhaps only being hormonally interested in sex at specific times, and essentially asexual the rest of the time. In my head I am trying to put down the current Doctor’s more overt sexuality down to this regeneration being essentially the Time Lord being in a period of being hormonally ‘active’. If you expand the theory you could say that the reason the Doctor’s current regeneration was so young was to prepare for this.

        I also agree with your earlier comment – as an alien there is no reason to apply human standards to how the doctor might regenerate, the physical differences involved in changing gender are no greater than any of the other physical changes that occur in the regenerative process. But, while I would love to see a female doctor at some point, I agree that it would be better if it wasn’t on Moffatt’s watch, the man seems to ‘unwrite’ women. River Song arrived with an interesting depth and implied backstory and has seemed to diminish in depth with every subsequent encounter. I almost feel she is 2d now, a parody of herself.

  21. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    Calm down dear.

  22. avatar Oleta says:

    There are some truly horrible people on here. Trying to belittle me with nasty comments rather than engaging in discussion. Are there no moderators here to ensure posters aren’t bullied? What a horrible horrible reflection on the Doctor Who fandom.

    • avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

      Sadly, and ironically, you appear to be one of those horrible people that you mention that brings fandom down. Your ‘holier than thou’ attitude does not help you. Are there no moderators here to ensure that us sane and rational posters are protected from crazy militant feminist crusaders hellbent on destroying our beloved show? Now, let it be and move on.

    • avatar Zooromeo says:

      I think the real reason people resent feminists such as yourself is because such intellectualising and overly academic quasi-political stance on anything which even looks sexist just sucks the fun out I everything – even speculation on the next doctor !!

      And you BIG draw card is always – “ooooh these sexist anti-women people”.

      It just gives you a sense of purpose and victimhood whilst 95% of men like me have been treating women equally for decades.

    • Oleta: I’m not certain from your previous comments whether you do want to engage in discussion or whether you prefer to express your own feelings as irrefutable facts. Either way, your behaviour on this thread is no better or worse than anyone else’s.

      However, I’m not putting up with the stupidity that this thread has collapsed into, and from this point comments on this page are closed.

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