The BBC recently announced that Season 8 of Doctor Who will feature their first female director since 2010, so we’re using this as an excuse to do a list of the top ten actresses who would make great Doctors in the future (or in parallel universes if you’re reading this from Sideways 9). But we don’t really need an excuse. A female Doctor would be wicked awesome because, yeah, feminism and that, but also because some of these woman are flippin’ incredible and if any role should be open to all comers, it’s that of an ancient ruler of time and space who can change their entire body with alarming regularity. Anyway, onwards to our first pick:
The Doctor: Emma Thompson
Companion: Rupert Grint
Marked by a childlike enthusiasm for exploring the universe and sharing its wonders with her equally flabbergastable companion, Emma Thompson’s run as the Doctor would be a series of psychedelic adventures along the cusp of the fantastic. Each episode would involve the capture-prone Grint falling into the hands of that weeks imaginatively designed antagonist before being rescued at the 11th hour by some mad-cap, utterly unlikely plan, often involving scones or decorative chintz.
“So you see, dear boy, the inhabitants of Lumina Prime can, in times of great celebration, merge to form an enormous golden rainbow encompassing the entire planet”
The Doctor: Maggie Smith
Companion: Dominic Monaghan
Bringing a dour gravitas to the role, Maggie Smith’s reserved and taciturn Doctor would be balanced nicely by her companion’s cheeky cheerfulness and constant attempts to bring a smile to the ancient Time Lord’s face. Feeling the weight of her 900+ years, this Doctor often fells her enemies with exceedingly dry wit or a well-placed bon mot.
“The fleet is in position and our ships are poised to attack. How does it feel to be wrong, Doctor?”
“I wouldn’t know, I’m not familiar with the sensation.”
The Doctor: Helena Bonham Carter
Companion: Johnny Depp (obvs)
Hers would be more of a mad romp across space and time; a Time Lord who is equal parts raggedy clown, petulant child and angel of vengeance. Playing the “many lifetimes” shtick to the hilt, Bonham-Carter’s Doctor would have a hard time discerning fantasy, reality and the quite real voices in her head. Luckily she would have her companion, a darkly comic Victorian gent with a penchant for snuff and sword-canes to keep her level.
“Madam Doctor, I hardly think this is the time for..for dancing!”
“What would you know about Time, eh? Or dancing for that matter…”
The Doctor: Julia Deakin
Companion: Jim Broadbent
Squabbling like an old married couple, this Doctor and her companion would more likely be plonked in deck chairs on the moon watching the Earth rise with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon than fighting off Daleks on a distant planet. Deakin’s chameleon-like acting ability would mean her Doctor could win over her enemies through disguise and trickery – a tactic that would more often than not be foiled by the good-natured “assistance” of her bumbling companion.
“Now see here Doctor, I’ll not have you speaking to me in that tone!”
“Oh, go boil your head you old trout!”
The Doctor: Ruth Wilson
Companion: Daniel Kaluuya
A more cerebral Doctor, Wilson’s adventures would be more focused on Earth and meeting notable personages from the past, present and future for her own intellectual interest and the education of her companion. Every episode would be peppered with Kaluuya’s obscure pop culture references, much to the consternation of his high-brow mentor.
(On approaching space station Gettysburgh IX in the year 3014)
“Woah. That’s no moon.”
“Of course it’s not. It’s an epsilon-class scientific research outpost!”
The Doctor: Lenora Crichlow
The Doctor is never more interesting when he is alone and Lenora Crichlow would be perfect as The Doctor who was left by herself. Thought lost forever, The Doctor finds herself regenerated in an empty TARDIS, nothing but cold machinery and half-remembered ghosts for company. After a few bumpy starts, (offering the Cybermen in for tea and ginger snaps) and crossing off a few potential companions, The Doctor finally confronts some of the more onerous skeletons in her cupboard and finds a modicum of peace in herself.
“Fancy a cup of Earl Grey?”
“I’ve got Camomile?”
The Doctor: Fiona Shaw
Companion: Tom Hardy
A particularly flirtatious Doctor, Shaw’s often risqué behaviour regularly causes discomfort for her ex-soldier companion who has found himself indebted to the wily old time-traveller. Channeling the mischievousness of early Patrick Troughton, this Doctor plays a brightly coloured ukulele when not embarrassing dictators or emancipating slave-miners from the warrens of Ogellon.
“My word, it’s bigger on the inside…”
(sniggering) “Oh, I say…”
The Doctor: Kate Winslet
Companion: A heavily made-up Bill Nighy
The most alien of these suggestions, Winslet’s Doctor would stand apart from the humanity she vowed to protect, judging them harshly when they failed to live up to her exacting standards. A fantastic actress, she would bring some of Tennant’s more inhuman moments to the role, making hard decisions with little or no concern for the lives that might be affected. Nighy’s orange spiky xenomorph would ironically be the heart of the show, helping The Doctor to regain some of her lost compassion.
“I don’t understand. I save them time and again but I cannot save them from themselves”
“Maybe. But who’ll save them from you?”
The Doctor: Lara Pulver
Larger-than-life, even by the standards of Doctor Who, Pulver’s Doctor is always the smartest woman and really wants you to challenge her on that. Searching the entirety of time and space for anything that will keep her interest, she often finds herself in the middle of fringe science experiments gone wrong and ill-advised explorations into forbidden, eldritch sectors. Changing companions more often than she changes her black leather bustier, this Doctor’s adventures are fast-paced, stimulating and often downright breathtaking.
“But Doctor, we’ve lost six men through that portal with no sign if they are alive or dead! Doctor? Where’d she go?”
The Doctor: Maisie Williams
Companion: A dog. Named Gaia.
Maisie Williams! Wait, don’t go just yet! Imagine a little girl and a dogs poddling out of a big blue box in the middle of a warzome, walking up to a bloodied sergeant and saying “Hello! I’m The Doctor. Pleased to meet you!”. Williams’ tenure as Doctor would be far more kiddie-friendly, with adventures in prehistoric times riding dinosaurs or solving mysteries in an alien high school, but there would remain that darkness we saw in Arya Stark, always bubbling below the surface. She would eventually die falling into a black hole or something to save her dog and the entire world would drown in tears.
“Have you seen my sonic screwdriver, boy?”
So what do you think? Who would you like to see as the next Doctor?