Can we take a moment to reflect on the collective stupidity that infects the entirety of the UK media whenever it’s time for a new Doctor Who? Yes, Matt Smith is moving on after four years, so it’s fun to speculate on who might be replacing him, but why must all the reports be virtually identical and utterly wide of the mark?
As always, many are clamouring for a female Doctor, as if the act of casting a woman will somehow redress the balance of decades of television misogyny. Aside from the fact that it wouldn’t, and notwithstanding Neil Gaiman’s throwaway revelation that timelords can change sex (in 2012’s “The Doctor’s Wife“), it’s a change that would feel entirely for its own sake, like casting a male Miss Marple to spice up St Mary Mead a bit.
That said, cast the right woman, and I’ll go along with it. I’m quite happy to accept a lesbian lizard adventuress from the dawn of time and her plucky housemaid wife, so show me the perfect female Doctor and I am there. However, the perfect female Doctor is none of the following (all bookies favourites at the current time:) Billie Piper (AS IF!), Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Miranda Hart, Sue Perkins, Jennifer Saunders. Patently ridiculous suggestions like these demonstrate that much of the British press still treats Doctor Who as a joke when it is in fact the BBC’s flagship drama and biggest international money-spinner. While Dames Dench and Mirren would no doubt bring dramatic gravitas to the role you can be certain there’d be a lot less running, and running is a very large part of Doctor Who. With Miranda there would probably still be running, but also a lot of falling over. No, thank you very much.
The list of male contenders doesn’t seem to change much over time – you can literally drag up almost word for word the same articles from when David Tennant announced his departure. So here we go again: Paterson Joseph, David Morrissey, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Russell Tovey. I appreciate it’s an easy way of filling column inches, but boy is it lazy. It will not be any of them, and even the most apathetic journalist knows that. Of the few newcomers, Rory Kinnear seems to have the bookies all of a flutter at the moment – but I’d argue that he’s too famous, doesn’t have enough hair and is probably, post-Skyfall, too expensive. Casting a relative unknown satisfies both the BBC’s and the audience’s needs: cheapness (for the Beeb) and lack of preconception (for us). How amazing was it when Matt Smith arrived, fully formed and thoroughly Doctor-ish? You won’t get that with Daniel bloody Radcliffe, will you?
An announcement is probably imminent – for all Steven Moffatt’s “oh, the search has only just begun” fluff, I’d be willing to bet that the 12th Doctor is locked in already – and I have my fingers crossed that it’s Being Human’s Damien Molony – marvellous actor, not that famous, slightly odd, rockin’ body. A hot Doctor would be nice for once, eh?