A new Doctor is nearly upon us. With Jodie Whittaker set to depart Doctor Who later this year and former showrunner Russell T Davies returning to the beloved British sci-fi show, speculation has now gone into overdrive as to who exactly will be the next Doctor.
With almost 60 years of history, the BBC series about a madman (or madwomen) travelling through time and space in a police box has quite the devoted following. Just like James Bond, the role of The Doctor has been played by a great many people over the years (13 in fact) with Whittaker being the first-ever female to become the Time Lord. A huge milestone.
Now that the door is firmly open to anyone, everyone from Michael Sheen and T’Nia Miller to Hugh Grant and half the cast of It's a Sin has been rumoured. Some more outlandish predictions even go as far as saying that David Tennant will return to the role once again... for some inexplicable reason.
In reality, looking back through history and we can see that a lot of the casting is often a newcomer. Tom Baker was a part-time bricklayer before he donned a incredibly long scarf and started offering Jelly Babies, while babyfaced Matt Smith was a relatively unknown actor upon casting. So we're not going to do that here. No, we're just going to look at three actors that I personally think would be fantastic for the part and actually have a genuine chance of being the 14th Doctor. Allons-y!
Okay, let's begin with a terrific actor whose name has been mentioned time and time again: Paterson Joseph. Possessing more than 30 years of experience onscreen with memorable roles in Timeless, The Leftovers and of course, Peep Show, he also popped up in the episodes Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways in Christopher Ecclestone's first and only season. This doesn't rule him out, either – Karen Gillan and Peter Capaldi both had roles before then being cast as a companion and Doctor later down the line.
Additionally, having previously auditioned for the role of The Eleventh Doctor, ultimately losing to Matt Smith, Joseph would bring the right balance of eccentricity, charisma and authority that the 900-year-old plus Gallifreyan needs. Equally, it's time for a person of colour to play the Doctor. Six decades is enough.
So out of all my picks here: Lydia West has the most buzz. The majority of this stems from the British actor starring in both Years and Years and It's a Sin by Russell T Davies – and that's why I think that makes her the most unlikely.
Doctor Who rarely goes for who you would expect. Not to say, West wouldn't be a fantastic addition. At only 28 years old, this would make the actor the second youngest to ever claim the keys to the TARDIS. Would that be such a bad thing? The new talent is clearly on the up and could help bring in more of a younger audience that seemingly has been lacking in recent years. Interestingly, she also voiced Vivien in the Big Finish audio story, Donna Noble: Kidnapped with Catherine Tate. So there is some connection.
Any of these names I'd be thrilled with, however, my number one pick to be the 14th Doctor would be Natalia Tena. A name not many will be familiar with but a name that has actually appeared in Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Black Mirror and Star Wars. As Nymphadora Tonks in Harry Potter, Tena lit up the room in the few scenes she appeared in (I also like the idea of The Doctor changing hair colour every episode like Tonks, though that sounds a logistical nightmare), while in Game of Thrones she portrayed the ferocious but flawed wilding Osha.
Having been seen in numerous blockbuster shows and movies, it seems as if Tena is on the cusp of true stardom – and has been for quite some time. In 2011, The Independent (opens in new tab) put Tena down as one to watch. After all, the actor originally debuted in About a Boy back in 2002 alongside Hugh Grant and Nicholas Hoult.
She has a sense of mystery about her, not to mention having the look of someone young but also someone that could have thousands of years of time travel behind them. That's a key trait for the Doctor. Otherwise, you need something different to make this role your own and Natalie Tena has just that. She also looks damn good in a suit (opens in new tab) and can play the accordion (opens in new tab) – what more do you want!
Doctor Who is set to return in late 2022 with the final episode of Jodie Whittaker's tenure with the new Doctor expected to be revealed sometime between then and now.