Who’s the Next Doctor?
So, Matt Smith is leaving Doctor Who at Christmas. I feel I am in the minority who consider Matt Smith the best Doctor (even if this recent season came dangerously close to being the worst season of anything ever) but I understand that regeneration is all part of the Doctor Who experience, and so I am accepting this, and turning my attentions towards worthy successors to the role. You hear that, obnoxious Tennant fangirls of 2008? No crying, no threatening to never watch it again. I am the very picture of maturity.
Who? Most recently seen as Bruce Wayne’s improbably supportive butler.
Why? Apparently, when Matt Smith was cast in the role, the producers were aiming for an older gent to play the part. Michael Caine would fit the bill perfectly, with a no-nonsense approach to alien mischief, but a kindly twinkle in his eye.
Sample Scene: When yet another wide-eyed Clara asks the Doctor why the aliens keep trying to attack Earth, the Doctor gives a heavy sigh and a long anecdote about his childhood on Gallifrey, concluding, “Some alien species just want to watch other worlds burn.”
Who? Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the U.S.S. Enterprise, or Professor Xavier of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, depending on your age.
Why? A quiet dignity that has been slightly lacking in recent incarnations of the Doctor, who have all had a tendency to run around like a toddler pumped full of E-numbers doing everything short of backflipping around the TARDIS. Also, as recent events have made clear, he’s a truly inspirational and lovely guy who any sane person would trust with the well-being of the universe.
Sample Scene: Lights are flashing, klaxons are blaring, Clara is running around like a headless chicken screaming about how the TARDIS is going to crash. The Doctor is reading a book, something by Kafka or Tolstoy. Clara screams at him, and he merely holds up a hand, finishes reading the page, puts a leather bookmark in the book (he would never do something so uncouth as dog-ear the pages) and calmly stands, flips a switch or two, and returns to his book. “Do try not to disturb me while I’m reading, Clara,” is all he says, eyes not leaving the page.
Who? You know, the Ron Weasley guy.
Why? The Doctor would finally get his wish of being ginger. Also, his wand-waving experience would give him a certain flair when it comes to wielding the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver.
Sample Scene: Clara and Quirky Ally of the Week have lost the Doctor! They run around asking passers-by if they’ve seen the Doctor -“Ginger? Looks like he’s in an indie band?”- and eventually find him fixing a little old lady’s car. He’s such a nice boy.
Who? Makes up 50% of The Mighty Boosh, the Never Mind the Buzzcocks team, and the Goth Detectives from The Big Fat Quiz of the Year. Looks like a magpie pimp given human form.
Why? He’s no stranger to taking surreal journeys through time and space, and this incarnation of the Doctor would still know everything, but remember very little and get easily distracted. The audience and companions would never be quite sure if it was all just an act and he actually had a plan, or if they just managed to escape death week after week by sheer luck.
Sample Scene: Sitting on a stile in a three-piece suit made of glitter and LSD, sharing a kebab with a badger. Further context is unnecessary.
Who? His booming voice has appeared in The I.T. Crowd and Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace.
Why? That voice. Seriously, imagine Smith’s “I’m the Doctor, basically run” speech from his first appearance, but with Berry’s almost Pavarotti-like booming. And then ladies, go change your underwear.
Sample Scene: The man’s been hamming it up all season, bellowing threats to his enemies, reassurances to his friends and directions to alarmed motorists. So when Clara dies in a brutal alien attack, we expect a big NOOOOO to the sky. Instead, he cradles her charred body and whispers with tears in his eyes, “Clara… I’m sorry…” and millions of viewers weep like children.
Who? Host of Q.I. and all-round smart cookie.
Why? The Doctor has a tendency to get intellectually nerfed, to avoid his overall perfection overshadowing his mere mortal companions. However, like a good teacher, Fry’s Doctor would educate without making his companions feel inferior, and always offer them opportunities to use their own personal skills.
Sample Scene: “The Daleks are actually a fascinating species, you know. Many people mistakenly believe them to be robots, but as we all know, they are organic lifeforms that have a mechanical shell that protects their fragile bodies from attack. It’s really quite extraordinary” he says, in between bursts of fire from the aforementioned fascinating Daleks.
Who? Brits will know him as the rubber-faced loon from A Bit of Fry and Laurie and Blackadder. Americans will know him as the cynical nihilist title character from House.
Why? Being able to switch at the drop of a hat from silly fun to a snarling speech about the Slitheen’s emotional flaws would lend this Doctor an unpredictability that would be as unsettling for companions and audiences as it would be for his foes, providing a rich source of internal conflict.
Sample Scene: Using the sonic screwdriver to tune a piano, before jamming out a jazz rendition of the theme tune.
Who? That Cockney bloke.
Why? A rough diamond Cockney charm, and a slightly more, er, action-based approach to problem-solving that would bring him gradually towards the Dark Doctor, as played by John Hurt. Also, his documentary I Believe in UFOs gives him some foreknowledge of the science behind eveything.
Sample Scene: Upon landing on a potentially hostile world, he poses as a humble merchant selling stuff that fell off the back of spaceship. Using Cockney as a secret language, he manages to rouse the underclasses into a glorious revolution against their oppressive overlords. He also throws a couple of people out of windows.
Who? Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s friend, “round-headed buffoon” and reluctant star of An Idiot Abroad and The Ricky Gervais Show.
Why? A perpetual confusion when confronted with other cultures. As Geek Pride’s Cristina said when she nominated him: “He’d be awesome on planets he’s never been on! Including Earth.”
Sample Scene: The 12th Doctor rummages through the TARDIS’ wardrobe for a bit, eventually deciding on a uniform of socks with sandals and a wide-brimmed hat. He then turns to his companion and muses “The Daleks, right… I don’t get why they have to exterminate everything. And once they do exterminate everything, they’ll just be standing around like “OK, now what?” They’ll just go for tea and biscuits… only there won’t be any left ‘cos they’ve exterminated them all.”