Doctor Who: Weighing the Odds on the Internet's Favorite Potential Successors to Matt Smith


The Whoniverse was rocked this weekend when the BBC announced that Matt Smith, after four years of playing the Doctor, will be leaving Doctor Who. Despite the fact that four years is standard tenure for an actor playing the Doctor, despite the fact that we kinda felt this coming on, and despite the fact that it might be the kick in the arse that the series needs, it somehow still feels a bit sudden. We'll only get two more episodes with Smith—the 50th Anniversary Special that's scheduled for November, and the annual Christmas Special. 

From his statement:

It's been an honour to play this part, to follow the legacy of brilliant actors, and helm the TARDIS for a spell with 'the ginger, the nose, and the impossible one.' But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go and Trenzalore calls. Thank you guys. Matt.

But before we even finished reading the news, the internet was already aflutter with gossip about who the next Doctor should be. So we've decided to throw in on some of our favorite guesses so far. Let's hear your own in the comments!


IDRIS ELBA

He's British, he's incredibly talented, and it would be great to have a Doctor who isn't white and/or male. However: Elba seems too badass, too hulking to play a guy who lives and dies by his wits alone. I have no doubts he could act the part admirably, but it'd be tough to convince anyone that Elba's Doctor would need to run from Daleks. Can his shoulders even fit through the TARDIS door? 

Chance of being the next Doctor: 20 percent



SIMON PEGG / TOM HIDDLESTON / BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH


These are all fantastic actors who seem Doctor-y, but all three of them feel too big to star in a television series (or in Cumberbatch's case, a second television series). Hiddleston is too busy playing Loki, Cumberbatch will have his pick of American movies post Star Trek, and as much as I'd love seeing Pegg's version of the Doctor, he shut down that idea last night:

Chance of being the next Doctor: A very chilly 5 percent 



GILLIAN ANDERSON

I would absolutely love to see a female Doctor, and I would love for that female Doctor to be Dana Scully. She's been killing it on Hannibal, so she's clearly open to doing TV again, and she was partially raised in the U.K. so she can do a flawless British accent.  may not want to cast an older actress as the Doctor, Anderson is not exactly known for her comic timing, and she may be too well-known to play The Doctor, but I think she'd be a fantastic and ballsy choice. 

Chance of being the next Doctor: An optimistic 50 percent



RICHARD AYOADE

This guy! Well-loved for his work on Garth Merenghi's Darkplace, The IT Crowd, and the movie The Watch, Ayoade is a perfect choice to play the Doctor. He's got an adorably nerdy look, he's a great actor, and I can easily picture him in a trench coat. I would put the odds fairly high on this one, except for the fact that Ayoade seems to be moving more toward directing these days; recently, he's helmed an episode of Community and a movie that's coming out this year called The Double, among others.

Chance of being the next Doctor: 75 percent if he wants the role



NATALIE DORMER


The actress who plays Margery Tyrell on Game of Thrones is simply fantastic. She's gorgeous, spunky, smart... and also incredibly complex. There's some interesting darkness in there that could take the Doctor in a very fun direction, and her smirk just feels so River Song-ish I can't stand it! (I hear she's also been great on Elementary, a show I don't watch.) Plus there's already so much fraternizing between the Game of Thrones and Doctor Who cast. I'm going to put this one in the "maybe?" category—all they'd have to do is work out the shooting schedules, or set a lot of Doctor Who episodes in Malta.

Chance of being the next Doctor: 75 percent, but I'm being hopeful



NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON

I love this guy more than anything, and sure, he would lend some credibility to the Doctor's space travel, but he's a astrophysicist, not an actor. Though I'd totally get on board with a guest-starring role. 

Chance of being the next Doctor: Zero percent unless Moffat goes nuts.



BEN WHISHAW

This guy has popped up in the BBC series The Hour (so he wouldn't have to fill out another application!), as well as the movies I'm Not There and Cloud Atlas, among others, but it was his turn as Q in Skyfall that got people's attention. He's a bit of a chameleon, he's quirky and quick, he's got acting chops, and let's face it, he's a dreamboat. He's a known actor but not so well known that he's too big for the role, and he doesn't seem to have anything in the works as far as I can tell...

Chance of being the next Doctor: 80 percent



RUPERT GRINT

Ronald Weasley seems to be the main name people are talking about when discussing the new Doctor, and I get it. He's a bit younger, but he's a well-loved actor, a familiar face, and a ginger. He can play befuddled, he can play tough and menacing, but I don't know if I would buy him as an ancient alien. Plus he's a bit built—not Idris Elba built, but quite muscular. However, I would certainly love to see what he could do in the role; he's shown time and time again that he chooses fun roles for himself and then does fun things with them. Now that CBS has passed on his sitcom pilot Super Clyde, he's looking for a job. 

Chance of being the next Doctor: 70 percent and ginger


We can speculate all we want, but seeing as Doctor Who has traditionally picked unknown or little-known actors to play the double-hearted madman in a box, we're probably all wrong. But the speculation is fun, and I'd love to hear who you want to be the next Doctor!!


Psst... If you'd like to vote for someone you don't see listed, speak up in the comments and we'll try to keep the poll choices updated accordingly!

Comments (335)
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By your percentages there are going to be 3.75 Doctors in the next season.
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Mathew Bellamy. he likes aliens and conspiracies already and would be a perfect doctor. Probably won't happen but if he ever wants to take a break and act Dr. Who would be a perfect role for him.
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can I just ask how someone who has already been the doctor is in the running for the doctor and is in first?
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This is not a list of people who are "running" for the Doctor as for one its not a position that you can be elected to and B this is an independent poll done by this one websites for funs. Thus, have some.
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how many times can we vote?
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Not British but still a good idea: Richard Dean Anderson.
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what r u smokin'? share it must be good for that ridiculous idea
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Andrew Lee Potts would be absolutely amazing.
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yeah, ever since I saw him in Alice, I wanted to see more of him, and the Doctor might be just it :)
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ANDREW LEE POTTS!!!!!!!!!!!
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Andrew Lee Potts!!!!
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Emma. Watson.
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Andrew Lee Potts would be perfect
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I like Dominic Monaghan and I am going to vote for him but I would rather have Billy Boyd as the next Doctor Who.
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what r u smokin'?
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I honestly haven't though about who I would like to see as the 12th Doctor. I'm still dealing with the news of Matt Smith leaving.. he was amazing as the 11th Doctor. :(
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Oh, come on. Non-white? Easy. Non-male? Easy. You want to set fire to the Whoniverse? Give them a Doctor without a British accent. Say, Colin Ferguson, for example.
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They did, Sylvester McCoy (7th) spoke in his natural Scottish accent, in fact, he was the only Doctor to not speak in the distinct "Northern British" accent (think Californian / the accent of media in the US). David Tennant slid under the wire and got to use his natural Scottish accent in one episode as well (Tooth and Claw).
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Add James Frain to the list....He's a little bit Who, and a little bit Bond. Could be very dark, and very funny as we've seen in both Grimm, and True Blood.
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It would not make sense to cast a female in this role. I'm all for the companion being male, or a female less focused on 'hotness'. However, the series history simple has made too many references to the Doctor not understanding women. It is a male role. Some things can't be changed. Doing so would feel far too much like a ratings move.
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Forget Grint. Emma Watson is more talented, and like you said - It would be great to see a woman in that roll.
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I picked my male choice(Robert Carlyle) and my female choice(Natalie Dormer), although the likely hood of them making The Doctor a woman is about .000001%. While I would love to see what Dormer does with the role, they need to keep The Doctor a man to get little boys before the age of 13 watching; and teenage boys would need her to be all sexed up to keep them watching. Them's just the facts of Show Business.

I know that actors like Ben Whisaw, Rupert Grint, and Colin Morgan would all be amazing to watch in the role (and I would love to see each of them have a turn to be honest), I am tending to agree with many others that the next Doctor should be a little older. I like the alien aspect that Matt brings to the roll, and it would be nice to see it continue but in a more mature way rather than the goofy slap stick way Matt has been. I think both Carlyle and Dormer could do that better than some of the other choices.

Lastly, as much as I would like to see people like Mathew Grey Grubber and Chiwetel Ejofor have a chance, I think there may be rioting if an American was chosen. I know the arguments for it: "They can do a British accent", "If actors from the UK can come over and play Batman and Superman etc, American's should be able to play icons from the UK", "When The Doctor regenerates he changes his accent, can change skin color and even gender, why can't he become American?". I'm not saying I disagree with these arguments; but at the end of the day it's a British show and and while they make a habit of upsetting the status qua, I think this may have to be a sticking point.
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Dave Chappelle!
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what r u smokin'?
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Domhnall Gleeson would rock it I think! Plus he has the "ginger" aspect working for him.
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Contrary to popular opinion, I really don't want a female Doctor. Not that I'm being sexist to my own gender, but I think it'll will change the whole dynamic of the show.
Also, rather just looking for a new Doctor, they should look for someone to replace Steven Moffat.
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They can't make him too old, a woman would be okay as long as they got the right one. Idris Elba's too badass, serious, and old to play the doctor but he should be in more good movies/shows, he's awesome in everything he's in even when it's crappy like Ghost Rider and he deserves to not have to be the only good thing in a movie for a change.
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I dont think the person being is a problem in the past they have been old
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But we've gotten used to the doctor being high energy and athletic when it's necessary. He's been young since the series started over and I think if they want to keep the charm they've established they'll need to keep him young.
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Lennie James
Billy Boyd
Matt Berry
Richard Ayoade
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"Doctor Who has traditionally picked unknown or little-known actors to play the double-hearted madman in a box,"
Yeah that is not true at all...
William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston,and arguably David Tennant were all very well known actors before being the Doctor. The fact they may not have been big names in the states doesn't make your statement any more true.
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One of my first thought was comedian Jack Whitehall. He's young, cool, funny and cute.
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I really hope it's someone we don't know yet a great stage actor or unnoticed character actor. I love being surprised. I do, however, really really like Dylan Moran (Black Books)..we haven't seen a cranky Doctor in quite some time...angry yes, cranky no..definite comic potential there. :D
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Recently watched Patrick Steward and David Tennant in Hamlet. There was a bunch of “unknown” superb actors and actresses in there... ;-)
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Yes, I would like a female doctor. A bisexual one that is still married to River would make an excellent character.
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Frankly, I'm not yet all that ready to welcome new Doctor. But since it's happening, I'll at least put my three cents in. I'd like to see Andrew Lee Potts as a new Doctor.
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oh lord, he was wonderful as Hatter..great idea!
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yeah, he was a perfect Hatter, and I believe he'd make a perfect Doctor
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I think it should be girl. As far as I know Dr. Who has never been a girl before.
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Is Ben Wishaw known mostly for his turn as Q in Skyfall? That would be a shame, such a cliché character, I relate him to the great performances he did in Perfume and Cloud Atlas. Like him the most on the list for this sort of role but as said by others, the Doctor would benefit being played by some lesser known actor to leave their distinctive mark.

Always missed the cliff hangers from the earlier episodes where the Doctor or a companion looked like they were really gonna get their ears pinned back by some bit of nasty till luck or the Doctor interceded in quirky style. Also would not mind some equal or greater consideration for casting of companions and not always Earthlings and Earth obsessed episodes (it is a big Universe Dr Who writers) like Adric (was always amused by conflict of youth and intelligence) or Leela (savage foil to the Doctors reasoning and logic).
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I know that the Doctor is usually played by a lesser-known actor, but I would love to see Christian Bale in the role, or Daniel Day-Lewis. Personally, I hope that the next Doctor isn't even younger than Matt Smith. I'd hate to see a teenager playing the Doctor, something would be lost, maybe the essence of age-earned wisdom. I love Matt Smith, but he came across as too naive to be 1000 years old and to have lived through so much. This past season, with Jenna-Louise Coleman, he really came into his own and now he is leaving!
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Lol, both spectacular actors who would kill it but neither one would have even the remotest chance of accepting, nor could the show afford either... but the behind the scenes for either one would be HILARIOUS! Can't you just imagine Day-Lewis or Bale never breaking character and walking around everywhere as the Doctor? That might be more fun to watch than the actual show.

That said I really would like someone older with that level of acting chops, but it won't be highly sought after Oscar winners, and I'd be surprised if it was even someone as well-known as Rupert Grint. Luckily the UK always has an abundance of amazing stage actors who can be had on the cheap, so quality is not a worry.
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I wouldn't call it coming across as naive, but rather being so sick of his past and his cynicism that he overcompensated for it.
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i would love if it was Rupert Grint but I doubt it'll be anyone with a "big" name - whoever gets the role will probably be a little known actor like Matt Smith was.. but only time will tell
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Peter Dinklage. It seems like everything he does turns to gold.
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They won't cast an American... fake accent or no.
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Oh, and Alexis Denisof and James Marsters would be good choices as well!
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Both American... no chance.
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Alexis Denisof did a good British accent in Sharpe. James Marsters was in Torchwood so he would definitely be out
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My #1 choice for Brittish actors would be
Male: BILLY BOYD. Dr. Pipin!!
Female: HALEY ATWELL. She's amazing.

From the list in this article, my picks, in order:
BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH (he'd be perfect, but I doubt he'll do it)
RUPERT GRINT
RICHARD AYOADE
GILLIAN ANDERSON

IDRIS ELBA is an awesome actor, but he might be too serious for the role.
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Now Billy Boyd has potential!
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I'm damn near positive it'll be someone relatively unknown. although fantasizing about the possibilities is kind of fun. Example.... Bill Murray from about 1990 or so... would be a perfect doctor. Sir Patrick Stewart would be fucking amazing but... I think people would have a hard time not seeing Jean Luc Picard everytime they looked at him. I saw someone say Val Kilmer.... and for that I'd say only if it was Val from his era of first two movies (Top Secret and Real Genius). As much as I'd be fine with a female doctor, especially if it was Gillian Anderson, I just don't see it going that way. And yes... poor Matt Smith... everyone already so eager to see someone else as a new doctor... well his call he's the one leaving the show.
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The previous 3 modern Doctors were only relatively unknown in America, they were already well-established British actors.
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The doctor is a low key but energetic type. Never "macho" and always a bit geeky. That in mind I look forward to next years series. I have been watching the doctor since I was 6 and that is a long long time it seems any more.
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whats with the , 'and ginger'??
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The last few regenerations, The Doctor is disappointed that he's still not a ginger.
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LMAO that i did not know , never really been a massive fan of Dr who... but i'll be damned if that isn't hysterical!
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wth where did these names come fro mon thalist, its a farce, joke,... yes it will have to be a unknown quantity for the next Galafreian, though I do like the idea of it possibly being a woman, which would require a bridging episode to phase shift from matt to the next form and neatly carry the plot over to that person, def some very clever writing needed for that challenge.

but then why not have Jenna coleman as the next doc and a male companion
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Why would it have to be an unkown? Despite what the article states most of the actors who played The Doctor were very well established and known already.
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The Doctor shouldn't be played by a famous actor. In Britain, the more famous the actor gets, the more likely he will be in ditching the series for something else more appealing. Plus I don't think any famous actor would want the role of the Doctor overshadowing everything they did before or since (which is why Eccleston hates the series so, so much) Give the role to a relatively unknown actor. Almost all the Doctor actors had very little on their resume, and EVERY ONE OF THEM did a fantastic job. (Yes, even Colin Baker, who, despite gettin the crappiest scripts imaginable, turned complete crap into something at least watchable. I can't say the same thing to the "perfect" Doctor, David Tennant. The Season of Specials was AWFUL!.)

Why are Paul McGann and David Tennant on this list? They had their shot, and Tennant will return for the 50th anniversary. Can't the fans just leave it at that? (though I'm betting everyone wished Tom Baker, equally as iconic in the Classic era, would come back full time as well during the 80s...)
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Most of the Doctors were very well established and had plenty on their resume before taking the role. I'm not sure where this notion is coming from that the actors have all been unknowns. It's simply not true.
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I'm don't think Eccleston really hates it that much. I've seen interviews with him saying he too is returning for the 50th. But No we can't for get DT! I'd still love for them to use the deleted scene of 10.5 and Rose being given a Tardis to grow and make a show.

Your right though if a well know actor takes the role if a big movie role were to come up he'd let DW suffer or drop it all together at the last minute in order to jump at the movie role.

Daniel Radcliffe too well known as Harry Potter. Then you would get hardcore Harry Potter fans and non fans alike in an uproar. To me the fans would want the doctor to become more like Harry Potter or include more elements like in the Harry Potter Movies and that would inturn upset DW fans who wouldn't want that! Maybe with Rupert Grint too but you'd have to listen to ones who liked and disliked him in HP commenting often.

Patrick Stewart, Ah No. Same problem as above with Harry Potter fans. This time you'd have hardcore Star Trek fans comming out of the woodworks demanding more Star Trek elements. That wouldn't work as people alreay complained the last episode with the Cybermen already looked like too much like the Borg from ST.

Plus it's stupid to want people already in established series to take the job. Natalie Dormer as mentioned above is alredy in Game of Thrones. I stopped watching but unless something happened to his character Robert Carlyle is still doing Once Upon a Time. Matthew Gray Gubler (is he even British?) He's signed into Criminal Minds for another season or two. Jonny Lee Miller's show Elementry happily got renewed for a second season. And we don't want people trying to do double duty. Most likely DW would suffer for it.

If you need proff this doesn't work take a look at the 10th Doctor's season.
2-10 Love and Monsters - The Doctor and Rose were working on another ep and were practically NOT in it at all. They made more like cameo appearances. They were busy filming another episode.
4-10 - Midnight - Donna wasn't in it as, Catherine Tate she was filming Turn Left.
4-11 - Turn Left - This time The Doctor wasn't in it at all, save for flashbacks, as David Tennant was filming Midnight.

Hugh Laurie is not a good choice. He's too well known a House.

Catherine Tate ah I'm not sure we want the return of Doctor Donna and though I did like her, I know a lot of people never liked her.
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One you didn't mention, but i think would be amazing: Daniel Kaluuya. He's intelligent with great comedic timing, and was great in a dramatic role in Black Mirror. One thing's for sure, they need to break the streak of white, male leads. If they go female, my ideal would be Ruth Wilson. She's an absolute genius in Luther
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yeah, i agree with both your picks, Daniel Kaluuya is such a versatile actor he can do pretty much anything and Ruth Wilson is so devilishly cool. I agree that they desperately need to break their white, male leads streak but they also need to find someone a bit older so for that maybe these actors wouldn't work
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Wow, Alice as the Doctor.. you just blew my mind. Haha! Even as a companion she would be hilarious (I just got a flash of and Idris Elba Dr Who cupping his face after Alice shot the Master with a shotgun) :-)
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Damian Lewis
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Why isnt Billy Boyd on this list??? He would be perfect!!
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Sigh I hope they dont put Natalie Dormer as the new doctor...it will force me to watch the show (shes just that gorgeous)...which means I'll have to catch up on....how many episodes does this thing have now? lol
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and when did 375% become a thing? lol how do multiple people have 75% chance of being the doctor?
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I hope they pick an fairly unknown actor. A (huge) famous actor as the doctor isn't going to work.

Also why is Catherine Tate in the list? Wouldn't it be a little bit weird if the doctor regenerated into Donna?
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I agree, and I don't know why past Doctors are on that list either. I know as a sci-fi show they can make anything work, but I doubt any of them would come back to the part.
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Well, we already had a Doctor Donna, so not that weird...?
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I agree with Sheila, totaly weird.
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Totally weird
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BILLY BOYD, BILLY BOYD, BILLY BOYD...He's Scottish, VERY talented actor in many genres of acting, and he has a genuine heart capable of winning over Whovians of all kinds and bringing in a new audience to the series! He has so many loving fans wanting so much for him to have this role! Just give it a thought and give him a chance...it'll be the best thing you could do!
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My suggestions: Vicky McClure, Zawe Ashton and Jaime Winstone. Also the lad who played the son in the Masood family in Eastenders.
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I absolutely hate the thought of a female doctor and I hope they don't go in that direction. The gender is male and should stay that way. I can't see any female being that enjoyable in the role. It's a silly modern idea.
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like the idea or hate it doesn't really matter. Eventually, sooner rather than later, there will be a female Doctor. This was made crystal immediately after the Tennant/Smith changeover.

Smith was checking out all his new body parts without a mirror. He was happy he still had legs, a nose, ears, ect. & by the time he felt his new mass of hair, he initially thought he regenerated into a girl.

So, the gender option has been wide open since then at the very least
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"a silly modern idea" really? as far as i know of the lore (granted i'm not an expert) i don't see why it couldn't be a female and certainly don't see why it would be "silly", because something is set up one way (male doctors) it can't ever change doesn't sound much like progressive thinking.
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What about Shaun Evans ? He played Morse on the TV show Endeavour and he is ginger !
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