5 Roles Danny Dyer Could Take On in Doctor Who or “Doctor ‘oo you lookin’ at, mush??? Eh? Eh?”

“I could see myself in the scarf and all that”

Just let that sink in for a minute. Is that the sort of cover letter or job interview quote you could see clinching the lead role in the BBC’s flag ship show, Doctor Who? Well, this is exactly what EastEnder Danny Dyer has said with regard to taking on the mantle of the Time Lord played by some of our greatest actors. Could you see him following in the footsteps of John Hurt and Paul McGann? Is he worthy to be seen in the same room as “the scarf and all that”?

OK, preconceptions aside (I’ll admit Catherine Tate filled me with dread when she joined the show, but she quickly turned me around and I now believe she was the best companion of the modern era!), I don’t really think the cheeky wide boy persona of Danny Dyer would suit the show and I don’t think he has the acting chops to be able to carry it off. My opinion. So there!

So, this got me thinking… if not the Doctor, then what other roles might have suited him now or at some other time in the show’s history?

  • Well, the first thing that sprang to mind was Duggan in City of Death. Dyer would have been great as a hard-bitten down-to-earth version of Inspector Duggan. Handy with his fists and even handier with a one-liner, in a low budget Jason Statham fashion.
  • At around 6′ tall he’s probably not that physically suited to playing a Sontaran (the new pixie Sontarans, that is – classic era Sontaran would be perfectly fine!), but I could certainly see him stomping around and demanding that everyone follow his orders or be blown to smithereens by the might of the Glorious Sontaran Battle Fleet.
  • How about renegade Time Lord Drax who appeared on screen in The Armageddon Factor and has also featured in a number of off screen adventures in book and audio form and even did time in Brixton prison, where he picked up and kept his accent, for stealing replacement parts for his TARDIS. I’m sure Dyer could find inspiration in his own life to connect with Drax the chancer.
  • The Master? Um. No! Actually, now I think about it… I think Dyer could have pulled off the Harold Saxon version of the Master as portrayed by the deliciously OTT John Simm. Yes, definitely. I’ve talked myself into it, now. Dyer in a sharp suit could certainly have pulled this off. Maybe.
  • Could he have been companion material? Well, generally speaking the companion has to be somewhat dumber than the Doctor so the Doctor can explain things for the audience’s benefit. Dyer could certainly pull off the bemused, “but what does that mean, Doc?” but which companion could he have played? Mickey! In a colour-blind casting world he could have certainly played Rose’s hapless boyfriend, and even the version of Mickey we got later on in his cameo role as freelance alien fighter and defender of the Earth.

So, you lovely people… agree with my ideas or have better ideas of your own? Let us know!

  • Dr. Moo

    One of the Silents, so that I can forget about him when he’s not there.

  • krumstets

    Missy: Time to die Doctor!
    Dr Dyer : Shut it you slag!

  • FrancoPabloDiablo

    WTF have I just read? If any of you have ever seen Celebrity Juice you must think of Keith Lemon’s impersonation of him every time your hear his name (though it is revealed his REAL name is Malcolm Smith) 🙂

  • TheLazyWomble

    I have only seen him in Eastenders and so only know him in one role. But if he is an actor with any breadth, why shouldn’t he play the Doctor?

    • Peter Rabytt

      As much as I admire your generous spirit LW, I think the key part of what you said there was ‘if he is an an actor with any breadth’.
      He isn’t.

      • TheLazyWomble

        Yes that is why I picked my words carefully. The comment that he could see himself in “the scarf and all that” didn’t bode well.

    • Philip

      It’s quite interesting actually – I’ve been talking a bit about this with contributors. As you say, actors with any breadth could play the Doctor, right? Well, I’m not so sure. Doesn’t the Doctor have to have something inexplicably alien about him? Surely that rules out a lot of actors, and puts further still into question. Dyer, for instance, is pretty good in EastEnders (even though I thought he’d be terrible), but he’s not got this indescribable magic about him. Magic’s not the right word, but you know what I mean…

      • TheLazyWomble

        I am not sure that I agree. When Peter Davison was cast “alien” is not how I would have described him. Yet he is one of my favourite Doctors.
        The big concern I have with searching for an “alien” quality in the Doctor is that it can lead to suggestions based on other roles played by a particular candidate. To some exxtent that is inevitable: one can only assess an actor’s suitability by their body of work. But I would be wary of casting Benedict Cumberbatch in the hope he would play the Doctor the same way he plays Holmes.
        Tom Baker once said that the role is actor-proof. I am not sure I agree. But I do think the success or otherwise of a particular incarnation should be a result of how the actor, the writers and the director construct the character.

      • Peter Rabytt

        I think what you say is generally true Philip. I think I would call the desirable trait charisma. I would be looking for someone with charisma, somebody who is interesting and draws your attention, combined with a respect for the character and the Doctor’s history, yet the ability and qualities to bring something new. I do agree with LW that you can’t just pick someone because you want them to replicate their performance in something else, though I think you can sometimes see elements in someone that suggest they could be a good Doctor. For example, someone good at conveying intelligence, eccentricity, gravitas etc. You do have to be careful though, or you could end up with someone who ticks those boxes …..but is like a caricature. Personally, I think likeability is also important. Although most of us, including me. have come to love Colin Baker, many struggled at the time because he wasn’t likeable. Peter Davison, however, is and always was, immensely likeable, so although not ‘other wordly’, he succeeded through having a warmth and charm. The Doctor is, after all our hero, and we need to root for him (or possibly her, if you believe the bookies).

        • TheLazyWomble

          Well said Peter. I am all in favour of the Doctor having charisma. I would even agree he should have an indefinable alienness. But I believe these can come through the characterisation and would be worked out between the actor, script editor producer and directors. Yes there will be traits that are seen in other roles that might ring a “He-is-the-Doctor” bell. But the character can come chiefly from the performance.

          Having said that, last time I was championing Patterson Joseph on the basis of his rile as the Marquis of Carabas in Neverland. You’ve got to admire consistency, haven’t you?

          • Peter Rabytt

            Hi LW, I doubt this is working at the moment, but what the hell is happening with DWC? I can’t get it to come up at all for yesterday and today. Either its just me and my computer or they have had the mother of all crashes! I keep trying, but no joy. Same for you? Any info on what going down? Apart from the site I mean!

          • TheLazyWomble

            Hi Peter. I am having the same problem. Unfortunately I don’t know what is happening. Hopefully admin are aware of it and are sorting it out

          • Philip

            Hey! Hoping you get this alright. Sorry for what’s happening – we’re having major issues with the hosts, so we’ve only *just* been able to log back in after a few days inactivity! We’re hoping to get normality restored asap, but it depends on the hosts playing ball… We’re on Twitter and Facebook by the way, so if you check those out, we’ll keep everyone up to date if this isn’t working.

          • Peter Rabytt

            Thanks Philip. I am almost afraid to curse it…..but hey it looks like things are back up! At least you know we miss you!

      • TheLazyWomble

        Philip the website appears to have gone down again. I can only access like this through an -email from Disqus

        • Andrew Reynolds

          Hi guys,

          It’s Andy, the ‘not Phil’ Editor at the DWC. I can only apologise for the issues we are currently having with the site.
          It appears as though our host provider has gone and deleted something important and well, you can clearly see the results.
          It’s been a sleepless two days of back and forth with them and we are working on a solution as we speak.
          I’m sorry for the inconvenience this has caused and hopefully *fingers crossed* we’ll get back to normality soon.