The Contenders: Who Will Replace Peter Capaldi?

No sooner had Peter Capaldi announced that he will vacate the TARDIS during this year’s Christmas Special, speculation turned to who will become the Thirteenth Doctor.

Using a mixture of soothsaying, haruspicy, and (mostly) some bookmaker nonsense, we’ve compiled a list of the current runners and riders in the race to become the universes’ sworn protector.

William Hills odds compilers have already installed Q himself, Ben Whishaw, as the favourite at 5/1.


A winning mixture of sensitivity, charm and inner steel, the Spectre actor was already linked to the role during last times rumour-go-round, so, unlike a lot of the names on this list, he’s already spoken about becoming the Doctor:

“It’s not going to be me. But I don’t mind – I don’t think you can be Q and Doctor Who. It would be a bit wrong.”

Ah…maybe not then…and what about Paddington? You can be Q and Paddington but not Q and the Doctor? Why diss poor Paddington?

However, with James Bond heading towards another shake up, could Whishaw suddenly find himself available?

Another name on the list that has previously been linked to the role (and another James Bond regular) Rory Kinnear is next in line at 6/1. Also, he’s another actor who has previously ruled himself out.

The Count Arthur Strong star had previously said:

“I haven’t been and I am totally certain that I will not be asked to be the next Doctor Who. 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.”

Which sounds very definite to us. It seems unlikely that the show would bank upon an actor who isn’t already familiar with the show – especially if the Beeb are trying to get back to the same audience figures the show attracted during David Tennant’s tenure.

Next up, and like a returning course and distance winner, Ben Daniels, another actor previously linked to the role, is once again touted as the next Doctor at 8/1.

Daniels, who recently appeared in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, was allegedly on the shortlist of actors to replace Matt Smith last time around.

Telling the tale to Digital Spy, he said:

“Apparently, usually when it’s announced that the [old] Doctor is leaving, the new Doctor’s already firmly in place. But a BBC email had apparently been leaked, talking about Matt Smith’s departure or something, so they had to announce it officially much sooner than they’d have liked.

“I don’t know whether my name was also on that e-mail as was stated in lots of those rumours, but I was one of the names on one of their many lists they had as a possible replacement.

“So I was asked, and when I eventually managed to peel myself off the ceiling, I said, ‘Yeah, of course it’d be something I’d be interested in doing.”

Unfortunately, fate and Steven Moffat had other ideas.

Other names in the betting included Rupert Grint 8/1 (nah), Jason Flemyng 8/1 (interesting, perhaps a little too old if the Beeb are going younger), David Harewood 12/1 (an interesting shout and, rumoured to have been offered the role before Matt Smith became the Doctor), Alexander Vlahos 16/1 (seems to want it too much, a good actor but perhaps not the Doctor), Happy Valley’s James Norton 9/1 (he was great in Happy Valley, another interesting name) , and IT Crowd star Richard Ayoade 11/1 (no, I can see why but no).

One name that’s already got the Mirror quoting it’s shadowy and occasionally wrong insider sources is Andrew Buchan.

He’s best known for playing Mark Latimer, the father of murdered schoolboy Danny in incoming show runner Chris Chibnall’s hit ITV series Broadchurch, which returns for its final run later this month.

Speaking to the Mirror from somewhere beyond the corporeal, the insider said:

“Andrew would fit what the BBC want – a more youthful Doctor, who will appeal to the traditional fan base of kids and young adults.”

The female contenders including Sherlock’s Lara Pulver 10/1 (can see why she’s been linked but doesn’t have that cosmic something), Line of Duty’s Vicky McClure 20/1 (another Broadchurch star, a great actor), Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge 14/1 (Fleabag is great, another Broadchurch guest star), Hayley Atwell 25/1 (already said she’d like to play the Doctor) and, of course, Olivia Coleman 12/1.

Who would you like to see play the Doctor? Who don’t you want to see take on the role? Should it be an unknown?

  • Peter Rabytt

    I quite like the idea of Richard Ayoade, for quirky nerdiness and ability to do humour, but I have doubts on the gravitas front. I suspect it will be more of a conventional pretty boy type this time, after going older with Capadi. The names with Broadchurch links seem the most likely to me, in the way that Tennant worked with RTD on Casanova before being cast. I don’t think it will be a woman this time, but I don’t think that’s too far off. As long as its not Miranda Hart, I don’t mind!

    • I too rather fancy Richard Ayoade. He just seems like the kind of person who’s perfectly suited for the Doctor, I’d be willing to give him a chance to prove that he could provide the necessary gravitas.

  • TheLazyWomble

    Apparently David Tennant said that they have approached a friend of his and Chris Chibnall said they are looking at someone from Broadchurch. That would tend to support Andrew Buchan. But it has apparently been mooted that we will finally get a female Doctor. So Olivia Colman.

    But that is all speculation. The female Doctor is a theme they run every time a Doctor leaves and is almost certainly a red herring.

    I think Andrew Buchan is a fine actor but I don;t really see him as the Doctor. Olivia Colman is a possibility. My choice for a female Doctor would be Amanda Abbington.

    Of course, the problem is that punters (and especially the media) tend to view candidates based on other roles they have played. Benedict Cumberbatch would make a good Doctor because he has played Sherlock? No he wouldn’t! That is the thinking that led the BBC to think that a Hound of the Baskervilles starring Tom Baker would be a good idea.

    • Peter Rabytt

      I think cumberbatch would have been an excellent doctor if he had not been Sherlock……but as you say, he has! As, in my view, he virtually plays Sherlock as the Doctor without a tardis, it would be mightily confusing if he now was the Doctor. In any case he has repeatedly said he doesn’t want the role, so it’s a non starter.
      I agree that Andrew Buchan is a distinct possibility, but hard to imagine being very doctorish.
      If it’s going to be a woman, Colman seems as likely as any to be that woman.
      This rabid speculation is going to go on for months now, but I guess it’s all part of the fun!

      • TheLazyWomble

        Cumberbatch might make a good Doctor- but not if he gives the same performance as he gives in Sherlock. That is the mistake that the media (in particular) makes: assuming that an actor is suitable because of another role they have played. They are actors and should be able to create different characters.

    • bar is in-console-able

      Andrew Buchan gives a sort of Fifth Doctor vibe to me, so I wouldn’t say no. I can imagine him being thoughtful, quietly heroic, and suddenly Other.

      • TheLazyWomble

        Andrew Buchan does not necessarily have a quality that screams out “Doctor” but he is a blooming good actor. And it is an acting role after all. I hadn’t thought of it like that, but yes you could be right.

  • Dr. Moo

    I’d be prepared to bet good money on a non-white man this time and then a woman for 14. I think it’s a safe bet for me to do that. I doubt they’ll take the plunge and go female this time but I can see it within half a decade.

  • TheLazyWomble

    So it’s time to relaunch the Charlie Sheen For The Doctor campaign 😉

  • bar is in-console-able

    Whoever it is, they’ll have a horrible job filling Capaldi’s shoes. But ‘the impossibility of replacing the previous actor’ is all part of the job. Anyone who takes that on has to be up for it, so hats off to anyone contemplating saying yes.

    • TheLazyWomble

      Echoes of Davison P again, Bar 😉

  • Ranger

    I think Buchan is probably the frontrunner, as it makes sense for Chibnall , getting to grips with being the show-runner, making it easier for himself by going with an actor he already knows. I don’t watch Broadchurch so don’t know the actor, so can’t comment on his suitability. I would like Wishaw, but that’s a non-starter. Richard Ayoade, I really don’t think he could do the gravitas, but I could well be wrong. It’s a difficult role because you need someone who can be childish (both in the sense of having a child-like wonder and also being intensely irritating), yet also commanding respect; serious, yet also funny. Someone mentioned Kris Marshall to me today. I can see it, but…

    • TheLazyWomble

      On the other hand he is about to come home from the Caribbean…

      • Ranger

        I know, another reason I’m in a bad mood this week, first Capaldi and now Kris leaving Death. I’m not a big fan of Ardal O’Hanlon, so am not expecting much for the next series. Still I watch hoping I am wrong.

        • TheLazyWomble

          Having seen this week’s episode, I was struck by just how much Ardal O’Hanlon’s performance resembled Dougal and Thermoman. Obviously the same actor, but it goes beyond that. The words “one trick pony” are edging to the front of my mind.

          • FrancoPabloDiablo

            “one trick pony”? Are you sure you’re not thinking of “My Lovely Horse”? 🙂

          • TheLazyWomble

            I wasn’t. Thanks for giving my earworm ideas 😉

          • Ranger

            Exactly, which is why I am not a fan.

  • bar is in-console-able

    Just to be picky Andrew, the only possible answer to ‘who will replace Peter Capaldi?’ is ‘No-one; someone will succeed him, but he will never be replaced.’

  • ColeBox

    After his stint as The Fixer, I had Buchan down as a future Bond. That a potential James Bond could get the Doctor instead is just too surreal!
    Not sure about Olivia Coleman either as after her stint in The Night Manager, there were calls for her to be the next pregnant James Bond. That a potential pregnant James Bond might get the Doctor instead is also just too surreal. Besides, they can’t give it to Coleman; she wouldn’t have time to be in everything else!

  • TimeChaser

    I’ve often thought Ben Whishaw would make an excellent Doctor. And if he grew back a beard for the role, and he ran into Missy, you could have some good “Love the beard” jokes from our formerly male Master. 😛

    I’m really not all that familiar with any of the other actors mentioned. My exposure to the current BBC acting pool is almost exclusively through Doctor Who!

    • bar is in-console-able

      I love all the jokes and asides about hair (or lack of it) and beards in Big Finish, especially about 8’s wig. McQueen and MGann’s camp exchange in The Eyes of the Master puts a huge grin on my face.

      • TimeChaser

        Haven’t gotten around to that yet, but I look forward to it. 😉

  • Ranger

    Off-topic I know, but does anyone know how to refresh the site using a tablet? I’m still not getting all the articles when I come onto the site.

    • bar is in-console-able

      tablet – they’re those round white things you take for the headache you get when trying to make a computer do things, right?

      • Ranger

        lol! Not so far from the truth at the moment!

    • Philip

      Sorry, right now, the only advice I can give is to put the ‘s’ in https’ in the address bar. Hope that helps, but if not, let us know; we’re working on it 🙂

  • TheLazyWomble

    My friend Lucy wants Bradley Wiggins to play the part.

  • Rick714

    What I *don’t* want is an actor of color or a woman or a really young guy****just for the sake of appeasing the small fraction of the audience that seems to want to prove a point****. BUT if they want to throw open auditions to everyone and someone NAILS IT, whatever race or sex—-cool. Although since the vast majority of fans seem to not like the idea of a female Doctor, I think they’d really be risking a lot by going that route ever.

    One concern I do have is Chibnall’s ability to pick a good Doctor (hopefully it’s a group decision with Andy Prior), while another concern is him as a show-runner, especially considering how horrible Broadchurch is. Isn’t Olivia Coleman the lead in Broadchurch? Guh, no thank you.

    Whishaw is an interesting choice, as is Ayoade (he really seems to be a fan favorite, but is it too on the nose? Dunno.)

  • Rick714

    Was having dinner with a friend the other day and we were talking about the sex change aspect of a regeneration and he had a good point I hadn’t thought of: that it might confuse the younger kids and at the same time send a confusing message about maybe your sexuality being a choice.

  • Froggitt

    Needs to be a credible selection after the last two duds since Tennant……have had no interest in watching either of them, neither embodied The Doctor. How about Hugh Bonneville? Sort of Tom Baker mould.