Doctor Who News Ben Miller cast in Doctor Who

Published on April 8th, 2014 | by Christian Cawley

Masterful Villain Casting? [POTENTIAL SPOILER]

Former Primeval and Death in Paradise star Ben Miller has been cast as an unnamed villain in Doctor Who Series 8 in the episode written by Mark Gatiss.

Speaking on the BBC Doctor Who website, the actor – who has worked with Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi previously – observed:

As a committed Whovian I cannot believe my luck in joining the Twelfth Doctor for one of his inaugural adventures. My only worry is that they’ll make me leave the set when I’m not filming.

Miller famously quit the apparently cushy job of spending half the year in the Caribbean for Death in Paradise last year (prompting speculation he may have been cast as the Twelfth Doctor), but was adequately replaced in surprisingly competent manner by Kris Marshall, guaranteeing the show a fourth series. Meanwhile Primeval fell foul of the ITV commissioner’s sword in 2010 following the channel’s inability to offer it any support.

(Miller’s comedy partner Alexander Armstrong is probably best known for Pointless these days, although he appeared in The Sarah Jane Adventures as the voice of Mr Smith, and in 2012 Christmas special The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe as Reg Arwell.)

Says Steven Moffat of the casting:

Mark Gatiss has written us a storming villain for his new episode, and with Capaldi in the TARDIS, we knew we needed somebody special to send everybody behind the sofa. And quite frankly, it’s about time Ben Miller was in Doctor Who!

While Moffat heavily indicates that Miller is playing a villain, the big question is, what sort? We’ve had months of speculation concerning the return of the Master, after all.

Could Ben Miller be the Master?


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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+.

24 Responses to Masterful Villain Casting? [POTENTIAL SPOILER]

  1. avatar DonnaM says:

    Given the rumours about the episode in question he might equally be playing the Sheriff of Nottingham!

    I’m all in favour of The Master coming back but if every time a new male villain’s cast we have the same speculation I might be persuaded to change my mind :-)

    I do like the implication of Moffat’s comment though; it suggests the Twelfth Doctor will be more than capable of scaring the villains right back which in turn means they can be a scarier themselves.

    I’ve always thought you can go that bit further with the stories when the Doctor is able to do that – Tom Baker’s heyday being the perfect example in my book.

  2. avatar dr jon says:

    If he does become the new master I wonder if we will have the beard back on form like the one Mr miller is sporting in the picture, perhaps we should have a vote on it ?

    • avatar calliarcale says:

      YES! We must have a bearded Master! Not that I wasn’t thrilled to see Derek Jacobi, and not that John Simms wasn’t a fine actor to take the role, but dang….even Eric Roberts didn’t do the beard, so we haven’t gotten a bearded Master since . . . well, since “Survival”, if we don’t count that DOS game that Anthony Ainley did some bits for.

      • avatar Mark P says:

        Moffat has already stated in interviews c.2007 and as said in the Time Crash minisode between Davison and Tennant that the Master doesn’t have a beard any more he has a wife.

  3. avatar Ranger says:

    Nope, I can guarantee he won’t be the Master. Why? Because I would love him to be the Master and so, therefore, he won’t be. QED.

  4. avatar Doomedrider says:

    No, no, no, you’ve all got it wrong. Clearly Miller is going to be playing the Rani.

  5. avatar Jason L says:

    If this is a potential spoiler, why did you reveal it in the headline, just before saying ‘potential spoiler’?

    • Not sure what you mean. Where is anything (based purely on speculation) revealed?

      • avatar Jason L says:

        Hi, well the headline says there is a potential spoiler, but the only possible spoiler is in the headline. We agree it’s speculation but was still thought worth reporting and with the word spoiler. I’m not a complete spoilerphobe – but if that word comes up, I like the option to click on it for the reveal (and to be honest, I’m sure I would have done anyway).

        • It’s utter speculation. Is a pun a spoiler? I don’t know. Perhaps it is.

          Still, you have me intrigued: “we agree…”? Are we in the presence of Royalty?

          • avatar Jason L says:

            We’ve both said it’s speculation, so I agree with you. hence the ‘we’.

    • avatar It is the end...... says:

      I have commented on this before and agree with you. By looking at this website I acknowledge that I might get ‘spoilered’ now and again, and that’s fine. But it is a bit silly to warn of a spoiler which can’t then be avoided because the photo and headline are in fact the spoiler!

  6. avatar Simon Mills says:

    I think Ben Miller is capable of a quietly stated psychopath… The best sort of monster – a human!

  7. avatar TimeChaser says:

    He was my choice for Twelve, but while he lost out to Capaldi I’m glad to hear he’s still going to appear in the show and go head-to-head with the Doctor.

  8. avatar simon magellan says:

    I loved him in DiP and thought it pretty much jumped off a cliff when they cast Marshall as Columbo – sorry, Goodman. Watched two episodes and that was enough. Really annoyed that they killed off Poole rather than leaving the door open for his return, even if only for a one off where he could finally get the girl.

    However, as I once said re the rumour of his casting as the Doctor – I’m not sure he has the range to play certain characters – I’ve never seen him do anything but play “Ben Miller”. I may be wrong but I’d certainly prefer, say, an actor of the range and depth of Charles Dance for a major role like The Master.

    My guess – Sheriff of Notts or Prince John, as this is the rumoured Robin Hood ep.

  9. avatar Spider-pope says:

    I’ve always enjoyed Ben Millers performances in everything he’s done so far, so i couldn’t give a stuff who he’s playing, it’ll be great.

  10. avatar Al says:

    Agreed – he’s not playing the Master. If the rumors of the Master appearing are true, I want to float a few things in your beers: Moffat canonized the Big Finish audios with Night of the Doctor. Big Finish has introduced Alex Macqueen as a new incarnation of the Master in the audios. Alex Macqueen played Malcolm Tucker’s nemesis Julius Nicholson in The Thick of It. Do the math.

    • There’s actually an s in “math”

      Also, Alex Macqueen has barely set the world alight as the Master. Mark Gatiss’ version was far better, and even THAT wasn’t perfect.

      • avatar Simon Magellan says:

        Speaking as one of the many millions who has not only not heard The Master in a big finish production, but has never even heard a Big Finish production, I don’t really feel we need to be tied by what they have done. DW has often not even allowed itself to be tied by its own TV past, quite happily ignoring and or changing things previously televised (ie the fact that the Doctor didn’t have two hearts until 1970) which is just as it should be. I would hope that, if they do bring back the Master, they cast the best possible actor in the role, not someone just because he has some link to the series and the character.

  11. Outrageous sexism from Christian there. Why assume that a villain being played by a male actor must necessarily be the Master?

    When oh when oh when is Doctor Who going to throw off the matriarchal shackles of the last 50 years and give us what the show is crying out for – a male Rani?

    Yes, I know what you’re going to say. There are already too few amoral role models for young girls on TV. We can’t take this one away from them. But it has already been made clear that Time Lords can change sex when they regenerate and you can only stand against the tide of history for so long.

  12. avatar Jamie-42 says:

    Surely the beard is only superficial or maybe facial hair sends timelords insane! ;-)

    It is the actor who makes the part and I think that both Derek Jacobi and John Simms were excellent.

    • avatar simon magellan says:

      Ironically, for a few years Jacobi did sport a Master like beard in real life – have a look at the Frasier episode “The Show Must Come Off” (which is brilliant) in which he plays a former Shakespearean actor who has ended up playing in a SF show. Wonder who that might have been sending up…

  13. avatar Richard Forbes says:

    I doubt very much Moffat would let The Master be reintroduced in an episode he isn’t writing…. he let Gatiss reintroduce The Daleks in Season 5 and we all saw how that went. Who reintroduced The Daleks in Season 7? Moffat.

    • avatar simon magellan says:

      Er, Moffat is the Executive Producer – any flaws with Victory are down to him, regardless of who wrote it. And the big problems with the episode are design – which can’t really be laid at the door of the writer. Also, re Asylum – Moffat introduced a “:Parliament” of Daleks, complete with a Prime Minister. What?

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