Betting Suspended on Kris Marshall Becoming The Thirteenth Doctor

Since the announcement that he’s quit Death in Paradise, Kris Marshall’s name has been linked to Doctor Who – and speculation has never been more rife, since bookmakers suspending betting on the actor playing the Thirteenth Doctor.

This is despite claims that upcoming showrunner, Chris Chibnall hasn’t even started work on his era of the show. Mind you, a large section of fandom believes that to be a lie anyway…

Marshall became bookies’ new favourite, beating previous suggestions like Olivia Colman (The Eleventh Hour), Tilda Swindon (Doctor Strange), and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Broadchurch) – which could hint that someone has insider information. Or equally, it’s a punt. Ladbrokes spokesman, Alex Donohue says:

“A surge of punters have backed Marshall so we’ve had no choice but to close the book. If he does get the gig, the bookies will be exterminated first.”

The DWC generally isn’t getting drawn into the speculation, but this feels significant as, back in 2013, shortly before the official reveal, odds were suspended on Peter Capaldi becoming the Twelfth Doctor. And look how that turned out.

Then again, William Hill is still accepting bets on Marshall, though the odds have been slashed to 3-1. William Hill’s Rupert Adams says:

“We don’t think that the decision has been made and for now we are happy to continue accepting bets. That said, the gamble is a clear indication that Kris is very much in the running to be the next Doctor.”

It does seem a fair call: Kris (My Family; Love, Actually) was said to have quit Death in Paradise as he wanted to spend more time with his family; playing the next incarnation of the Time Lord would give him chance to see his family while also maintaining regular work. Similarly, he proved massively popular in Death in Paradise, where his character replaced that of Ben Miller’s (who was unceremoniously killed off in the opening episode of Series 3), and, more importantly to the BBC, bankable – the show’s viewing figures generally rose to about 8 to 9 million. Marshall would potentially give Doctor Who some stability: he stuck around on Death in Paradise between Series 3 and 6, starring in 30 episodes in total (screened between January 2014 and February 2017).

His DI. Humphrey Goodman also had certain Doctorly qualities too, which only strengthen rumours.

Audiences react very well to Marshall in general, which would be good for the show, good for fandom, and good for the BBC.

Nonetheless, some sections of viewers – and indeed, those who don’t watch Doctor Who but still like a moan – won’t be happy should he get the role. I already hear cries of, “Another white, middle-class male!” Somebody save me…

Personally, there are three people I think would make good Doctors right now: yes, Kris Marshall (I love Death in Paradise), but also Sacha Dhawan (An Adventure in Space and Time) and Josh O’Connor (Cold War, though you’ll know him best from The Durrells).

So what do you think? Kris Marshall: yay or nay?

  • Peter Rabytt

    I don’t watch death in paradise or anything he has been in, so I am not sure! Wasn’t he in a series of adverts for an internet provider or something, or am I confusing him with someone else. I appreciate that that’s like reducing Anthony Head to being that bloke in the coffee commercials!

    • TheLazyWomble

      Yes that was him

      • Peter Rabytt

        Thanks. What’s your impression of him? Do you think he could be good?

        • TheLazyWomble

          I like him in “My Family” and in “Death In Paradise”. I haven’t seen “Love, Actually”. I have only really seen him play one sort of character (albeit one version much larger and camper than the other): a vague slightly ill-at ease with people almost fey person. Yes I think he could be good. But it does depend on how he decides to play the part if cast.

          I was looking forward to Peter Capaldi playing the part but I don’t think the Twelfth Doctor has been well written. I know that that is a minority view around here.

          • bar is in-console-able

            I agree 12 could have been much better written. Capaldi can do as genuinely deep or dark or alien as you like, without being emo OTP rockstar. I’d love to see him fire off a complicated speech so fast you have to play it five times just to get it all, or more of the wordless stuff like the better few mins of Hell Bent. And more crazy adventurer without the angst. And more humour – distracted by something tiny in the middle of a tense situation, or winding up officialdom while he extracts whatever info he needs. Come on BF writers; get plotting…

          • TheLazyWomble

            If Kris Marshall does take on the role, I hope he will play him against type and create a different character, both to what we have become used to and to his perceived screen persona in other roles.

          • daft

            Well, if the rumours about Beeb Execs were true about a return to Tennant era lightness, Marshall would form fit easily to that expectation. Given that rumours also suggest that there will be another lengthy delay between series, I doubt there is any rush to lock in the 13th Doctor in any event. I’d personally hope for someone a little less safe, but you can understand after the current era if they return to early NuHu values.

          • Peter Rabytt

            I agree with you both on this, so may be its not too unpopular an idea around here!
            I know it sounds petty, it’s a minor issue and probably shows what a shallow individual I am, but I also think Capaldi has looked better as the Doctor the more his hair has grown. In the early stuff he just looked wrong to me, too smooth? Dunno, I am probably mad and just happy to see him channelling the Pertwee mop and reminisce.

          • bar is in-console-able

            mad hair has been pretty constant; just 7 and 9 stand out, and 7 had a signature hat. A certain flamboyance is good.
            but i still say whatever material he’s given, whatever haircut or story arc or whatever, he’s utterly brilliant and i hope they get him playing his strengths to the full S10.

          • Philip

            Yeah, definitely not in the minority! I’ve felt Capaldi has massive potential but the writing has let him down (and this is coming from a Moffat fan).

            But I prefer his S8 look. Smooth, as Rabytt calls it. I like that he looks smart. I like that red-lined jacket over the hoodie (shudder), and the tight crop. But I still appreciate that with longer hair, he can have that manic Fourth Doctor look…

  • Dr. Moo

    Not familiar with his work so I can’t comment on if he’s up to the job. What I can say is that it’s way way WAAAAAAAAYYYY too early right now to read anything into this.

    • Peter Rabytt

      You are probably right, though there’s always that sneaking doubt that they know something. On the other hand, maybe someone will just come from left field that nobody is giving much of a chance!

      • Dr. Moo

        I think it’s just that he’s left some high-profile series within days of Peter Capaldi announcing his own intention to leave Doctor Who.
        People have put two and two together and got five.

  • Ranger

    Hmm. I can see Kris in the role, as he is ideal for the cliche Doctor, having consistently played absent-minded, clumsy, socially-inept characters, but I want to move away from that for a little while, we was starting to with Capaldi, yes he was socially-inept, but not absent-minded or clumsy.

    But having said that there are a lot worse candidates for the role. I hadn’t thought of Sacha Dhawan before, but actually I can see that being a great choice, he has that commanding presence.

    I’m not so sure that they haven’t already cast the part, or are, at least, already deep in discussions with a couple of actors. Chibnall says he hasn’t started working on DW yet, but it must be fairly close to when he has to start roughing out the next series and the parts he is going to write and how he is going to guide other writers, it would be a lot easier to do if the next Doctor had already been cast.

    • TheLazyWomble

      I think Fish was quoted as saying that he hadn’t begun to think about casting the Doctor and would write the scripts first and then look for who was the right actor for the role as written. It seems the wrong way around to me. Surely the actor, the producer and presumably the script editor would be having lots of discussions about how the Doctor would be played and THEN the scripts get written.

      • Peter Rabytt

        I agree, I would have thought that made more sense. You can tell when something has been written with a writer having a particular person in mind, either when it’s not the same person who then actually plays the part and it doesn’t quite sit right with that person, or because the script clearly plays to an actor’s strengths and idiosyncrasies.

      • TimeChaser

        Not necessarily. I can’t remember who it was, but I remember one writer saying the early scripts (at least first drafts, I’m presuming) are written with a more generic Doctor in mind, like just using the known traits, and that of course the actor takes it and puts his spin on it, and then from that the following writers will pick up on what the actor is doing so future scripts have that Doctor more defined. I’m sure early on everyone has ideas, but we’re talking about it being so early in the process that you can’t really expect any of those ideas to be set in stone yet.

    • TheLazyWomble

      A friend said that during the news item about Peter leaving David Tennant and Chris Chibnall both did pieces to camera that may have been a little indiscreet. It seems that DT said the part had gone to a friend of his and Fish said it was someone from “Broadchurch”. My friend reckons it is Olivia Coleman. But Andrew Buchan is also in “Broadchurch”…

  • Rick714

    Never heard of him.

    • bar is in-console-able

      me either. but i hadn’t heard of Matt Smith who was excellent.

    • krumstets

      Lucky you. He is just a middle of the road actor who possesses little charisma.

  • TimeChaser

    Back when Ben Miller left Death in Paradise, I was convinced he was going to play the 12th Doctor. Of course he didn’t, although he got a guest roll in an episode. So another lead actor leaving DiP… Let’s not jump ahead of ourselves. He could have been intending to do this for some time and it has no connection with the search for the next Doctor whatsoever.

  • krumstets

    Please not Kris, he is such a boring actor.