Features Is the Twelfth Doctor Who in this photo?

Published on August 3rd, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

Is One of These Men the Twelfth Doctor? [POLL]

The time is almost upon us; the rumours have been circulating for months. Is the Twelfth Doctor one of these men?

In advance of Sunday evening’s Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor, a gimmicky Time Lord extravaganza in which the identify of Matt Smith’s identity will be revealed, we’re running a poll to see who you would prefer as Doctor number twelve.

Bu before you vote, let’s take a look at the candidates…

Anthony Head

59 year old Anthony Stewart Head is well known on both sides of the Atlantic for his role as Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but arguably more recognised in the UK for a series of Gold Blend coffee commercials opposite Sharon Maugham in the 1980s. Latter, he headlined in BBC One’s Merlin as Uther Pendragon and has already appeared in Doctor Who as Mr. Finch in School Reunion (2006) and as the evil Baltazar, Scourge of the Universe in the first animated adventure The Infinite Quest in 2007.

Interestingly, Head auditioned for the Eighth Doctor in late 1995/early 1996.

Ben Miller


A comparatively youthful 47 year old, Bennet Evan Miller is recognisable both as the comedy partner of Alexander Armstrong (The Sarah Jane Adventures, The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe) and as the star of the first two series of the BBC’s Death in Paradise. He also appeared as James Lester in ITV’s Primeval.

The fact that Miller quit working in the tropical climes of Guadeloupe for half a year on Death in Paradise has long raised eyebrows with many Doctor Who fans fancying him as an interesting replacement for Matt Smith.

Daniel Rigby


You may know him as the studenty mop top in the BT Internet adverts, but Ben Rugby is far more talented than that. In 2011 he won a BAFTA for Best Actor BAFTA for his outstanding performance as the legendary comic Eric Morecambe. His portrayal in Eric and Ernie was remarkable, so much so that in winning the award he beat both Matt Smith and Sherlock‘s Benedict Cumberbatch.

The downside of all this is that Rigby is a young actor, just 30. Fans long calling for an older Doctor may be unhappy with this choice.

Ben Daniels


Another more mature option is Ben Daniels, well known for his roles in Cutting It and more recently Law & Order UK. Aged 49, the actor has worked extensively on stage and screen over the past 25 years, although his name is perhaps not one you would usually know – or indeed associate with Doctor Who.

Although a fascinating choice – and according the Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston, the most likely, having been offered the job some months ago – Ben Daniels would be the show’s first openly gay lead actor. One’s sexuality obviously has nothing to do with suitability for a job, but it seems difficult imagining an out gay actor in the role after having grown up with Doctor Who as an uncool stick with which to be beaten in the school yard. As long as attitudes among the young have changed, this should be excellent casting.

Peter Capaldi


Ten days ago the star of The Thick of It and its movie version In the Loop was beyond most people’s thoughts as the Twelfth Doctor – yesterday betting closed at one major bookie with the Scots actor (born Peter Dougan Capaldi) as the most likely choice. With a career built from a strong appearance in the 1983 film Local Hero, Capaldi is of course well-known to Doctor Who fans as Caecilius in 2008′s marvellous episode The Fires of Pompeii.

It’s fair to mention, however, that Peter Capaldi holds a particularly important place within Doctor Who fandom, however. The 55 year old actor is in fact a life long fan of the series and in the 1970s ran a fan club in competition with Keith Miller. While the latter was awarded the “official” title by the BBC, the young Capaldi was apparently a bit of a schemer, attempting to grab that all-important title for his own efforts!

Rory Kinnear


A surprise choice when mentioned back in JUne, 35 year old Kinnear is the son of late actor Roy Kinnear and is best known for playing Bill Tanner in the Daniel Craig Bond movies Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, in addition to voice work in video games from the franchise.

What is most notable about this particular rumour is that according to Kinnear himself he has no interest in taking over from Matt Smith, noting recently:

If I was an actor who was really longing to play Doctor Who, then this would be torturous, but it’s a programme I’ve never watched, so I don’t even really know what it is.

Chiwetel Ejiofor


Apparently among the contenders for the first non-white Doctor last time around, the 36 year old actor born in London to Nigerian parents is perhaps in the wrong place in his career at the moment for Doctor Who. Probably better for his roles in movies such as Amistad, Love Actually and Children of Men, Ejiofor is also an accomplished stage actor with the lead roles in Romeo & Juliet and Othello under his belt, the latter gaining him the 2008 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor. He’s also played in The Seagull.

Perhaps the most accomplished black actor in Britain, Ejiofor would also be a marvellous choice. However back in 2009 following the reveal of Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor, a BBC source was quoted in The Star as saying:

The key phrase is ‘programme-makers’ – some executives were desperate for a black actor to take the role.

Paterson [Joseph] and Chiwetel were both at the top of the list, though both ended up ruling themselves out once they found out what would be expected of them.

There’s no doubt that one or other of them would have walked into the role had they not done so. Once they were out of the running the producers went to Plan B – a young unknown who would happily commit to the part long term.

Although we’re usually suspicious of the unnamed “BBC source” this does seem likely, especially given what we heard in the run up to that particular piece of casting.

David Harewood


David Harewood is another actor with some connection to the previous regeneration, having appeared as Joshua Naismith in The End of Time. Although British viewers may recognise Harewood from the BBC One series Robin Hood or Fat Friends, The 47 year old is perhaps best known as David Estes, Deputy Director of CIA Counterterrorism in the popular Homeland.

His connection to the popular US action series is such that he recently played down his chances, noting

It’s only rumours but it’s amazing to be attached to such an iconic role. It would be extraordinary if the BBC were to make me the first black Doctor Who, it would be extraordinary. But I’m almost scared to make any comment whatsoever.

Richard Ayoade


Finally we have The IT Crowd‘s Richard Ayoade, the casting of whom might be described as both “brilliant” and “stunt” depending upon what you know of the actor and his work. The 36 year old actor, comedian, writer and director was born to a Norwegian mother and a Nigerian father and has strong connections with The Mighty Boosh, having appeared in the radio version and had guest appearances in the TV incarnation; he also acted as script editor for the third series.

He is of course best known for his idiosyncratic performances as Moss in Graham Linehan’s The IT Crowd, but also works as a director, having helmed videos for popular groups such as The Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Like Ejiofor, Doctor Who might be the wrong move at this stage of his career.

Damien Molony


On the other hand, 29 year old Damien Molony might be at just the right stage of his fledgling career to take the plunge into Doctor Who, following the natural end of Being Human. Having only two key TV roles to his credit alongside stage work, the actor is a popular choice among fans.

He’s so far refused to rule himself out, too, so if he has been involved with casting the Twelfth Doctor, Molony might be the surprise package, a Matt Smith-style dark horse…

Stephen Mangan

Following his brilliant Dirk Gently (cancelled way too soon by BBC Four), Mangan ha long been one of the Kasterborous editorial team’s big favourites to take over from Matt Smith. Mangan is perhaps a fan himself, admitting in 2012 that

I’d love to be Doctor Who – who wouldn’t, it’s a great part, it’s very exciting.

More recently the actor – who stars in Epiodes with Tamsin Greig and Matt Le Blanc – tweeted this pic:

We’ll leave the decision up to you…

Samuel West


Finally, we have the accomplished actor and self-confessed fan Samuel West, who previously appeared in the Doctor Who thirtieth anniversary charity um, thing, Dimensions in Time.

At 47 he is another older choice but the son of actors Prunella Scales and Timothy West is an intriguing possibility, with many varied roles under his belt in a career spanning more than 35 years.

So who is your choice? It’s time to vote…

Remember, if your preferred choice doesn’t appear in the list, vote “Other” and share your thongs in the comments section. We’ll discuss the results when the poll closes tomorrow.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

46 Responses to Is One of These Men the Twelfth Doctor? [POLL]

  1. avatar Lewis Seymour says:

    Not seen that quote regarding black actors in 2009, and not sure what to make of it. I have always been doubtful about Chiwetel Ejiofor, as I think he was merely being polite when asked about the part by Andrew Marr (watch it and he’s hardly enthusiastic, more trying to avoid upsetting anyone by saying something like Kinnear has said more honestly).

    Patterson Joseph has never given any indication in interviews that he turned the part down – it has been known for some time that he was in the frame, he’s admitted that himself. This quote from an interview he gave a few years ago would seem to suggest the complete opposite to the “source”:

    Asked if he would have accepted if he’d been offered it: “Oh God yeah! I would have hesitated, but I think I would have done it – I think I would have had to have done it. What’s the worst that could happen? … Boy, it would have been an amazing opportunity!”


    • avatar TonyS says:

      For reasons like that, Lewis, Paterson Joseph gets my vote. Some of my comments over the past few days (weeks, months- take your pick) have not been 100% serious :) Paterson Joseph could be an excellent Doctor.

      • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

        When the search started (sometime last century, wasn’t it?!) my top choices were 1.Colin Salmon and 2.Patterson Joseph. I’d be overjoyed if either of them got the part, but just as happy if it were Capaldi. I would be less enamored if it were Daniel Rigby or some of the other (IMO) Smith-alikes. But then I will still watch the series when it comes back, and see if, as with Smith, I can be won over by their performances.

  2. avatar authorman94 says:

    Paterson Joseph would be my choice for the Twelfth Doctor. He has this warmth about him that makes him seem like a cuddly granddad and since we’ve had dark, brooding Eccleston, your best friend David Tennant and your nerdy brother Matt Smith (not criticisms, just trying to sum up their personalities as simply as I can), it would make a nice change personality-wise. And he has appeared in the Moffat years, and something like this would put him on the map as an actor, which is what I like to see happen with a role like that of the Doctor. I do think it’s unlikely to be him, but netherless, I’d like to see him as the Doc one day. But no disrespect intended towards people who disagree with me, that’s cool.

    • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

      “cuddly granddad”?!

      I was watching him the other night in a “Death in Paradise” where he was the killer – anything but cuddly.

      I don’t particularly see a “cuddly” Doctor facing up to Cybermen!

      • avatar authorman94 says:

        There was a cuddly Doctor who faced the Cybermen. His name was Patrick Troughton. ;)

        But yeah, one reason I forgot to mention there is that the guy can do diverse roles very well. From the cuddly McCoy/Troughton-side he’s shown in “Neverwhere” and “Boy Meets Girl” to the more deranged, darker Colin Baker/Christopher Eccleston side in “Death in Paradise”, I do think the guy could pull off all the facets of the Doc’s personality.

  3. avatar TonyS says:

    Despite misgivings about some of what has made it to the screen in the past three years, I do trust the Production Team over this. I’m sure whoever gets it will be brillaint. And I am certainly not going to stop watching if they cast someone with whom I am not instantly enamoured.

  4. avatar Alyssa says:

    So, no women are potential candidates for the Twelfth Doctor then? You seem to be missing quite a few talented actresses who have long been considered candidates for the role here.

    • I don’t believe the Doctor Who production team are actively looking at a female lead.

      You’re welcome to continue under that misapprehension, but I feel you will be disappointed.

      (EDIT: I also feel a list of suitable actresses would be ridiculously short. I’m not going to jump onto the “token female” bandwagon showcased on other sites.)

      • avatar Alyssa says:

        Emma Watson, Zawe Ashton, Naomie Harris, Natalia Tena, Evanna, Lynch, Parminder Nagra, Angel Coulby, Nathalie Emmanuel, Helen Mirren, Tilda Swinton, Amara Karan, Michelle Dockery, Carey Mulligan, Sophie Okonedo, Olivia Colman, Christine Adams, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Emma Thompson, Ruth Jones, Laura Carmichael, Jessica Hynes, Sarah Solemani, Katie McGrath, Julie Andrews, Sophie McShera, Neve McIntosh, Emma Thompson, Hayley Atwell, Oona Chaplin, Antonia Thomas, Jessica Sula, Ruth Wilson, Lara Pulver, Louise Brealey, Vinette Robinson, Jessica Brown Findlay, and Romoloa Garai, for starters.

        But sure, keep pretending there aren’t a lot of ridiculously qualified and amazing actresses for the role.

        Also, really? You’re actually going to try to claim that having a women play the Doctor would be tokenism? Tokenism is by its very nature a dismissive gesture. It means allowing just one minority person to have a small role on a show to give the impression of inclusion and representation. Having a woman play the Doctor isn’t tokenism; it would be a powerful statement that a woman can play such an iconic role just as well as a man can. You’re not just being sexist and dismissing half of the great acting talent in the UK, you’re also showing you don’t understand what tokenism means.

        • I’d appreciate it if you actually read my responses instead of overreacting.

          Other sites have included single female entrants to their polls. Patronising and missing the point.

          I’d prefer not to join them.

          Of your list, only a small number are anywhere close to what I would expect of a supposed female Doctor (and I was speaking with a certain amount of knowledge in my earlier post).

          For instance, Michelle Dockery – yes. Angel Colby – no way. Limited actress, IMO and well below the standard required to front a huge TV show like Doctor Who.

          But the discussion is academic, I’m afraid.

          • avatar Alyssa says:

            So how about instead of being patronizing and only including the name of one female actress as tokenism, you actually include the names of multiple female actresses who would be good for the role? The response to patronization isn’t to be more patronizing by excluding them from the conversation altogether.

          • It’s a fair question.

            Unfortunately an honest response is particularly humdrum. I don’t have time.

            Indeed, I had planned a separate poll focussing on the female “candidates” but as I spent the night sleeping on the floor near my poorly two year old daughter should she need a bucket, it turned out that I didn’t have time.

            As we’ve only had a couple of days confirmation on the show, it wasn’t possible to ask any of my team to fill the gap on time.

            Now, I’ve gone well beyond my usual policy of not discussing editorial matters. So I’m leaving it there.

        • avatar TonyS says:

          Saying that a woman can play a role that has been played by a male in 11 incarnations is the very essence of tokenism. Cast a woman yes. But not just to prove a point.

          • avatar David F says:

            If there were a new series about a time travelling alien, yeah, cast a woman. If Inspector Morse or Columbo or any other series needed a new lead character, cast a female replacement just as readily as a male one.

            But Doctor Who is a story about a man. One man. He’s a man. Sure, the series is a fantasy and it could easily be written that he turned into a woman. But why would you do it? Rightly or wrongly, it would unsettle half the fanbase. It would alter the relationship that children have with the series. It would alter the relationship that young women have with the series. You could also change the TARDIS from a police box to a refrigerator, but that doesn’t mean you should.

            And if it went wrong, because it shifted the foundations of a long-established show, it would be a legendary piece of shark-jumping, and–more seriously–would end up looking like ham-fisted tokenism.

            Yes, good writers and actors might be able to pull it off, but why take the risk of destabilising the show? Russell T. Davies always said there are certain core elements you don’t mess with. The TARDIS, the Daleks, the theme music . . . and, arguably, the fact that this story is about a man.

            I don’t believe that any production team has ever seriously discussed the possibility. Maybe Moffat, who is analytical about storytelling, has chatted to his team about why it shouldn’t be done, but I don’t believe it’s ever been properly considered. This story has reared its head before every Doctor casting since Davison, but this time, it’s become a really annoying, unpleasant page-filler and I can’t wait till tomorrow, when it’s over for another few years.

        • avatar David F says:

          Alyssa: If a woman had been cast instead of William Hartnell, and this series had become a fifty-year story about a female time-traveller, that would have been excellent.

          And I would now be sitting here insisting that she should never be turned into a man, for exactly the same reasons as I’m now insisting the Doctor should never be a woman.

          But he’s a man. That’s just what he is. It’s not sexist or condescending, it’s just a fact of the story.

          It’s the difference between electing a female prime minister to replace a male one, and forcing the existing male prime minister to have gender realignment surgery. Christian isn’t saying there shouldn’t be a brilliant show about a woman travelling through space and time, being amazing. There should be. I’m sure we’d all watch.

          But this series is about a man, and we’re locked in to that.

          • avatar Szotticus says:

            Except the series has made a big point that Time Lords can become Time Ladies. They can supposedly regenerate into anything, and it doesn’t even have to be humanoid. He’s not a “man.” That’s a human term. He’s alien. There are black men on the list. But the Doctor has always been white. Why is it that while his DNA is being completely rewritten, he can change race but not sex?

          • “a big point”?


      • avatar Lozzer says:

        I stopped visiting certain other sites because of it.

    • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

      You could use the “other” box to vote for an actress you thought appropriate.

  5. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    Thank you Christian for not including any ridiculous female-Doctor suggestions.

  6. avatar TonyS says:

    Christian, I hope your daughter gets well soon and I am praying for you all. Obviously your family cpmes first. And it should.

    • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

      How can someone rate this comment down? Really?

      • avatar TonyS says:

        I woindered that. Then I noticed my typo :)

  7. avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

    Well, the BBC have so far not used any masculine or feminine pronouns in any of their press releases regarding , so perhaps unlike Kasterborous we shouldn’t rule out a female Doctor.

    It’s more likely to be no-one on this list and wrongfoot everyone when the DodecaheDoc is revealed.

    Anyway I’m more disturbed by the idea of the invitation to “share {our} thongs”.

    • the BBC have so far not used any masculine or feminine pronouns in any of their press releases

      That’s because they’re press releases, written by a team of clever wordsmiths with a vested interest in making sure the conversation across the web and in newspapers continues in order to promote the show even when there is nothing to talk about.

      This is how PR works.

  8. Isy Suttie is wonky enough to be the perfect doctor

  9. avatar Geoff says:

    I think Stephen Mangan wants the part so people will finally stop shouting: Dan, Dan, Dan, Dan…………………………….DAN! at him across car parks.

  10. avatar David F says:

    This will be the Doctor’s thirteenth incarnation (assuming the John Hurt Doctor stands as one of his biological lives) so I’d imagine the story arc for the next Doctor is being (in effect) mortal, and how that affects him. I don’t like the “twelve regenerations” rule, because it could easily be dispensed with in a single clever line, but if it has to stand, it would be wasteful not to explore its effect on his behaviour.

    So I suspect Moffat would be looking to bring in an older actor. Someone with a more world-weary face, who can really pull off the idea that this is a man nearing the end (before the inevitable episode where he secures a new lease of life.)

    And this is yet another argument against introducing a female Doctor. Because that would create a character-development arc all of its own, which would need extensive exploration, and it would distract from the need to examine the Doctor’s brush with mortality. (Although it’s academic, as there won’t be a female Doctor anyway.)

    In fact, if there were ever a time when making him female might be dramatically justified, it would be in his fourteenth incarnation, after he’s somehow achieved a new life cycle, and might have something approaching a clean slate. (But I’m stretching to make a concession here, because, basically, he’s a man, and . . . nah, I’m not typing all that again.)

    • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

      Never understood the fan obsession with the Twelve Regenerations concept. We’ve seen the Master get round it more than once (he is effectively unkillable as the TV movie proved), Rassilon resurrected, and all manner of Time Lord jiggery pokery with their bodies – so why is it always assumed that the 12 rule will never change for the Doctor? Not once since 2005 has this rule been mentioned.

      Best Guest: In the special it will either be revealed that, due to the Time War the Doctor has more (unlimited) regens like all Time Lords in it, or that it was a Time Lord rule and now they are gone it doesn’t count anymore.

    • avatar TonyS says:

      Robert Holmes introduced the twelve regenerations idea in “The Deadly Assassin” but I don’t believe that he intended it to hamper the programme forever. There are many ways the twelve regenerations thing can be overcome. personally, I favour just ignoring it. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who will become quite vocal on the subject after this next regeneration.

      • avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

        The 12 regenerations dilemma was addressed with a simple throw-away line by The 11th Doctor in The Death Of The Doctor. Problem resolved.

        • avatar TonyS says:

          Yeah I never really bought that line either

  11. avatar TimeChaser says:

    Voted for Ben Miller, as he’s been my choice since all these months of discussion began. I’m really glad they’re simulcasting this though. I’ve made sure I won’t be doing anything else tomorrow afternoon.

  12. avatar Frank says:

    I voted: Other: Sean Pertwee. He actually wanted the part back when they cast Matt Smith, and being the son of the Third Doctor he would make a nice tie-in between the old and the new. It would almost be like, now that the Doctor is (technically) nearing the end of his regenerations, his regenerative capability is back-firing a bit, and he resembles one of his old selves.

    • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

      While this would be a nice idea and I’d like to see Perwtee do it – he has just signed up for an American tv series as a regular, so don’t think he’s likely.

      Maybe next time?

    • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

      Talking of Doctor’s Children – what about David Troughton? Now there’s a thought…

  13. avatar Lewis Seymour says:

    Judge read that one of the guests on the show will be a Strictly Come Dancing judge. He’s going to warn that the new casting could be a disaster!!! One way of starting the new Doctor’s era, I suppose…

    But maybe this is a clue? Colin Salmon has been on SCD – any of the other likely candidates appeared on it?

  14. avatar Lewis Seymour says:

    James Hawes has apparently Tweeted his surprise at learning the new Doctor’s name – “I would never have guessed!!”. Begs question, if it is top top secret, who told a TV Director with a Twitter account…

    But if this is more than just a bit of leg pulling, does it suggest we’re in for a complete surprise?

  15. avatar Lozzer says:

    It’s all pointing towards Daniel Rigby… Even his show has been cancelled in Edinburgh tonight… I’ll be surprised if it’s not him.

    • We’ve just heard it wasn’t cancelled – it was never scheduled…

      • avatar Lozzer says:

        Ah ok – I’m getting a little nervous, better open a good bottle of red before the show… Lol

    • avatar Lewis Seymour says:

      I do hope not. I’ve nothing against him – I don’t know his work outside of a few ads so can’t comment – he won a BAFTA so must have some ability. But he is just far too much of the same type as Smith. I want the Doctor to change, to be different every time and not be the same. He’s a similar sort of age, look… I don’t know. He could be brilliant, but… I suppose we’ll see.

  16. avatar TonyS says:

    I read on BBC news that official photogrpaher Rankin has photographed the new Doctor.

  17. avatar TonyS says:

    We now know that the answer to the question posed in this headline is “yes”.

  18. avatar Gruff says:

    I voted after the announcement, but as he was a close but not my particular favourite it was not for Peter Capaldi. Though I am very happy to see him cast nonetheless.

    What I am disturbed about is your request for sharing of thongs. I do not believe this to be a hygienic practise, so would please request that you do not ask me to do this in future.

Please be aware that all comments are subject to adherence to our comments policy.

Back to Top ↑