The Twelfth Doctor – Who’s in the Running?

The waiting is almost over. The new Doctor will be announced at 7pm Sunday 4th August. In the mean time, here is the speculation so far on night take over the role:

The most exciting prospect discussed for the Twelfth Doctor is that the bookies favourite is now Mr Peter Capaldi! According to the Huffington Post the odds have been slashed to 2/1 for the erstwhile Thick of It star. Apparently a Doctor Who fan since his youth, he wrote to the Radio Times about the show, and once tried to oust the Fan Club president! It seems too good to be true, but Christopher Eccleston was a bigger name when he was cast, and maybe, like Eccleston, he fancies a challenge. Patrick Troughton was also already a well-known character actor.


More speculation came courtesy of Chav rag The Sun (story here).

Julian Rhind-Tutt grabs the headline. The story claims that he missed out on the part of the Doctor last time round, but that he’s short-listed again now. He’s got the hair, and a good background in both drama and comedy which would serve him well. Rhind-Tutt starred in fondly-remembered Channel 4 comedy The Green Wing, BBC 2’s The Hour and in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider alongside future-Bond Daniel Craig and almost-Bond Iain Glen. He’s a solid choice, and not currently identified too much with just one role.


Next up they mention former Torchwood star Burn Gorman. He played Owen Harper in the Doctor Who spin-off. As written Harper’s character is the kind of cocky bastard that women couldn’t help but fall for, sadly he was hopelessly miscast and just came across as snide and incredibly annoying and unlikable. Hilariously the writers must have pictured him as quite the hard-man, as evidenced by the scene where a Weevil cowers from him growling. This scuppers any lingering menace the poor creatures might have had. The character of Owen Harper was completely revised for the second series. Gorman was also Pacific Rim, in The Dark Knight Rises and Game of Thrones.


The Sun also claims The Paradise‘s proprietor Moray actor Emun Elliott may be in the running. He’d need a shave, and Paradise has been greenlit for at least a second series. Like Gorman, Elliott has also appeared in Game of Thrones.


The fourth name they mention is Richard Coyle. This is more like it! Curly hair and genuine eccentricity. He was the main character, Moist von Lipwig, in Sky’s adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal and starred in Steven Moffat’s great sitcom, Coupling. Although thus far the Moff hasn’t used any of the actors from any of his previous series in Doctor Who. From this list, Coyle is the stand-out candidate for me, Gorman my least favourite choice. I’d be happy with Rhind-Tutt too.


Just after the announcement of Matt Smith’s departure Odds Checker had the following actors are odds-on favourites for the next Doctor:


Ben Daniels emerged as the bookies’ early favourite. He is best known for TV series Cutting It, and more recently Law & Order UK. Daniels has a great voice, deep and authoritative, and that craggy, weathered look of a twentieth century Doctor. In Law and Order UK he played CPS prosecutor James Steel, alongside Martha Jones actress Freema Agyeman. One of the detectives had a model police telephone box on her desk, and always hoped that Freema’s character, Alesha, would pick it up and look wistfully at it for a moment.


It’s difficult to say where the Ben Daniels rumour originated, other than perhaps that he’s ginger. This follows remarks from both the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors shortly after they regenerated lamenting their lack of ginger follicles. On Twitter @BadWilf says that these rumours have been around ‘for a few months now’; and Doctor Who Magazine editor Tom Spilsbury recently started following the actor on Twitter.

At 49, he would be an older choice, which Steven Moffat has previously stated would be his preference. When casting the Eleventh Doctor the show-runner said that the part needed an actor over forty, and that David Tennant was exceptional. But then Matt Smith’s audition was so excellent this went on the back-burner.

On Twitter Ben Daniels has thus far remained silent about the speculation.


Chris Addison is best known for starring in the excellent BBC series The Thick Of It (plus spin-off movie In The Loop), and as a stand-up comedian appearing on panel shows such as Mock The Week. The origin of this seems to be a Tweet from singer Paloma Faith:


The only acknowledgement on Addison’s timeline is this, which doesn’t really suggest he’s taking it seriously:


Of course, a serving Doctor has never held a Twitter account, and it might be better for their sanity if they didn’t. Addison then appeared on the 14th June episode of Mock The Week in the Fourth Doctor hat and scarf to joke about the rumours.


Irish actor Damien Moloney is presumably looking for a new job following the end of BBC 3 series Being Human, where he played the vampire Hal. There was a lot of darkness in this character, he’s done things which he is now ashamed of and is constantly fighting his predatory, vampiric side. Where the character is most similar to the Doctor, though, is the way he’s rather out of his time, and ill-equipped to deal with modern life. I like the idea of the Doctor being a rather Edwardian figure, and I enjoyed the Eleventh Doctor’s attempts to talk knowledgeably about dating in The Wedding of River Song, “Texting and scones.”

Like Ben Daniels, Moloney has maintained a dignified Twitter silence about his possible casting as the Doctor.

Doctor Who Gala Screening - London

In fourth place is Russell Tovey. This is probably down to former show-runner Russel T. Davies suggesting that he would have cast the young actor as the Eleventh Doctor following David Tennant’s departure. In fact he auditioned for the part at the time, and lost out to Matt Smith. As recently as April this year he talked about it: “It would have terrified me,” he says. “I don’t know what I would have done with all the attention” in this Guardian interview. In his most recent role in ITV sitcom The Job Lot, he appears quite muscly, which would be an odd look for the Doctor.


Stephen Mangan sparked some early rumours by tweeting this picture of himself wearing the Fourth Doctor’s scarf hours before the announcement that Matt Smith was stepping down. Whether or not this was a coincidence, Mangan has had fun with the idea:


But he has also tweeted that his followers should not waste their money when he learned that bookies were offering 14/1 odds on his appointment, and then outright denied it:



Harry Potter star Rupert Grint is garnering a bit of interest, but this is also probably just because of the ‘ginger’ running joke. My feeling is that he’s just too big of name already, same with Skyfall and The Hour‘s Ben Wishaw. Great as I think he’d be in the role, it’s difficult to imagine him moving to Cardiff at this stage in his career. Gallifrey Times has this story about Wishaw refuting that he’s in the running.


I think something to bear in mind in all this, with names flying around, is that by all accounts it’s a fairly gruelling nine months a year, working twelve hour shifts at a time. Of course the ideal we’d all like is a brilliant new interpretation of the Doctor by an actor who is committed to really developing the part over a number of years, in the way that Colin Baker had in mind – a seven-year plan; rather than as a stepping stone to greater stardom.

Ultimately, it’s more than likely that none of these actors will be announced as the Twelfth Doctor, and I think that’s the way it should be. Neil Gaiman articulates this better than I possible can:

“… I like to see The Doctor as The Doctor, and an actor who doesn’t bring baggage is a grand sort of thing. A star waiting to happen. So I don’t want to see Helen Mirren or Sir Ian McKellen or Chiwetel Ejiofor, or any of the famous names people are suggesting.”

Full story in his blog post here

Friday 7th JuneStarburst claims to have a source saying that a Sunday newspaper has got hold of the name of the actor to be cast as the Twelfth Doctor, and it would be announced Saturday night. The BBC quashed this on Saturday morning, but the article provides three more names for the rumour mill:

Dominic Cooper is the best-known and oldest actor of ‘The Starburst 3’ (he turned 35 on Sunday). He’s the former flatmate of recurring Doctor Who guest-star James Corden and has starred in movies such as Mamma Mia and played Tony ‘Iron Man’ Stark’s father in Captain America: The First Avenger (alongside The Sands of Life star Hayley Atwell). He’s a dashing and charismatic choice.

On Twitter Cooper is @DominicCoop. He has now pooh-poohed the idea that he is already in the running.


Daniel Kaluuya – The only name on the list who has already appeared in Doctor Who, this 24 year-old starred in the Tenth Doctor special Planet of the Dead. He played Tea Leaf in the excellent Psychoville and was in outgoing Doctor Who producer Caroline Skinner’s previous series The Fades.

Kaluuya is @Kaluuya on Twitter.


Finally, 30 year-old ginger Irishman Domnhall Gleeson. He starred in the second series of Black Mirror opposite War Against the Laan star Hayley Atwell, was one of the Weasley Brothers in Harry Potter and actually plays a time traveller in About Time, opposite Vincent and the Doctor guest star and Ninth Doctor short-lister Bill Nighy.

Is it the right time for a ginger Doctor? Beyond an initial post-regenerative comment of, “finally I’m a ginger” it could go some way to helping the ginger race be accepted in society, much like when David Tennant wanted to make kids who wear glasses feel cool. The fox-hunting ban has been a big piece of anti-gingerphobe legislation in the UK, and this could be another big step.

Domhnall Gleeson

A few days later Domhnall dismissed the rumours in this RTE interview.


Sunday 9th June

The Telegraph prints a story saying that Rory Kinnear has been offered the role. Bizarrely, they make no mention of him actually auditioning for the part. “He has been offered the part and we are waiting to hear if he will accept,” says the unnamed Doctor Who source. It makes the BBC sound like a teenage boy who has asked a girl out by text message and is now anxiously awaiting a reply. Surely there are actors who WANT to take on the best character on television, and they should be the ones waiting to hear back to see if they’ve got it?


You may remember him from such movies as Quantum of Solace and Skyfall; BBC sitcom Count Arthur Strong and from series one of Black Mirror. I’m not sure Kinnear’s got the hair for it to be honest. Maybe he’ll wig up like William Hartnell did? Perhaps time for another curly-haired Doctor?


The above tweet appeared on Sunday afternoon, from a friend of Mr Kinnear.

Want to see some earlier Regenerations? Order this DVD boxset from Amazon:

Doctor Who: Regeneration [DVD]


4 thoughts on “The Twelfth Doctor – Who’s in the Running?

    • I forgot about him! Apparently we might be finding out who it is tomorrow evening though.

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