Let it begin. Peter Capaldi is officially signing off from Doctor Who at the end of 2017. That gives us one last season, and one final Christmas Special, with the grumpy Scottish 12th Doctor. It also means the internet gets to indulge in its occasional pastime of casting his replacement.
For some of us, though, it’s also time for us to start fighting tooth and nail for a female Doctor again. Sure, the system might be rigged so that even a giant fascist tangerine can beat the most qualified woman in the world to be President as long as it has a penis. But dammit, you will give us a lady time lord BBC, or so help me I’ll stage a sit in inside the TARDIS itself.
For those of you who are already scrolling down to the comments section to say things like “But the Doctor is inherently male!” or “I can’t relate to characters who aren’t white men. Leave Doctor Who alone you SJW Cuck!”, please keep your essays to a tight one thousand words. Thank you for your web traffic.
Anyway, let’s talk about some of the actresses who could bring something unique to the role of the 13th Doctor.
1. Lena Headey
We all know her as the one we love to hate on Game of Thrones, but Headey also has an extensive filmography. From 300 to The Sarah Conner Chronicles Heady has shown she’s comfortable in both historical settings and science fiction worlds. Imagine the gravitas she could bring to the character of the Doctor, that sense that we’re watching an ancient but troubled genius from a far off world.
Headey is well known in the US thanks to Game of Thrones, so she’d easily connect with the blossoming Who audience stateside. She’s also nearly wrapped on Game of Thrones, given that it’s only got about a dozen more episodes left to tie up all its loose ends.
2. Thandie Newton
The best thing about another HBO show, Newton is getting a lot of props right now for her performance in Westworld. It even earned her a Golden Globe nomination. In the past Newton has often been relegated to supporting roles and love interests in major American pictures, but she’s always been able to do something interesting with her characters.
Newton as the Doctor could bring wit and charm to a role that always needs it. When things need to be serious though, as seen in Crash, she can do serious. The only issue with Newton would be her schedule, assuming Westworld continues to be a major programme for HBO. Would she be able to commit to two major sci-fi shows, and their filming schedules, at the same time?
3. Emily Mortimer
Another British actress who went to America to find major roles, Mortimer would bring something whimsical to her performance of the Doctor. Her portrayal of Mackenzie Morgan McHale in The Newsroom actually managed to make Aaron Sorkin dialogue sound unpretentious at moments too. A Mortimer Doctor would be in safe hands, blending drama and humour effortlessly. That’s something the producers of Doctor Who seem to like.
Mortimer will appear in three movies in 2017, but it doesn’t seem like she has any television commitments right now. Doll and Em, the Sitcom she wrote and starred in with close friend Dolly Wells last appeared back in 2015. Mortimer, who’s also used to making dramatic Doctor-like speeches on The Newsroom, could easily make the role her own.
4. Zawe Ashton
Whether it’s soon, or in another ten years, Zawe Ashton has to be the Doctor at some point. I’m convinced. Already she’s proved adept at portraying odd characters, such as Vod in Fresh Meat and Katherine in Not Safe For Work. She’s perhaps not well known in the United States, but she has the kind of screen presence which helped Matt Smith go from a no name actor to a household name in the space of one season.
The fact she’s already appeared in Doctor Who as a one off character shouldn’t be a problem. It was three years ago now, and frankly, if Capaldi can get away with doing it Ashton should get a pass too. And if we want a clean break from Capaldi, I can’t think of an actor or actress who could deliver something so distinctly different from grouchy middle aged Scottish Doctor than Ashton.
5. Tamsin Greig
For the vast majority of her career Tamsin Greig has been a comedy actress. Whether it was Black Books or Green Wing she was best known for cult British sitcoms. In recent years she’s ‘broke America’, as they say, thanks to starring alongside Matt LeBlanc in Episodes. Thing is, I can’t think of anyone else who can embody the distinctly British sad clown that Doctor Who often represents.
As primarily a comedy actress, Greig might not want the busy schedule of shooting sci fi action scenes for half the year. But hey, Capaldi was mainly known for comedy before landing the role back in 2013, and he managed to power through three seasons. Grieg is also known for her theatre work too, so you know you’d be getting a top quality Thespian.