Doctor Who: Actors Who Should Not Play the Doctor

There are various reasons why some actors should not play the Doctor on Doctor Who.

One of the biggest and most contentious topics of discussion amongst fans of Doctor Who is which actors would be good as future incarnations of various Time Lords. These discussions largely focus on the Doctor. Most Whovians have a mental, or even recorded list of their top picks for the role. Internet articles abound. Opinions vary widely and people have very strong feelings both for and against many of the suggested individuals.

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Now, you may love an actor, and they may be widely beloved. That does not necessarily mean, however, that they should — at least at this point in their career — play the Doctor. Below are a few examples of actors whom I have seen suggested by fans, but are not good fits for this role, as well as the reasons why not.


Benedict Cumberbatch – credit:

Benedict Cumberbatch

Best known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes on the BBC show Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch is a superb actor. His rise to the stratosphere of fame has continued since starting that role, becoming a powerhouse in the world of acting. But therein lies the problem. Not only has he become too well known to play the Doctor (contrary to the tradition of casting actors who have moderate recognition at most), but he plays the main character in a currently produced television show on the same network as Doctor Who — a character that, in many ways, is similar to the Doctor. It would be highly redundant.

Not only that, but the scheduling for shooting both shows would be a nightmare. If you are of the opinion that we do not get enough of Sherlock and/or Doctor Who now, just imagine how little would be produced considering Cumberbatch’s commitments to other projects.

In short, Cumberbatch may make an excellent Doctor in a vacuum, but the reality surrounding his fame makes him a poor choice.


Rupert Grint – credit:

Rupert Grint

Best known for his role as Ronald Weasley in the Harry Potter film series, Rupert Grint became instantly mega famous worldwide at the tender age of thirteen when the first movie was released in theaters. Considering the fame standards established above with Cumberbatch, this alone would eliminate Grint from the running. But I have not seen, and cannot think of, any other explanation for considering him for the role of the Doctor other than his being a) a great actor, b) British, and c) ginger. That vague reasoning seems to be quite thin, indeed. While it is not unheard of for people in their twenties to take the role, Grint not only lacks gravitas, but still looks like he is a teenager. Perhaps if he were not so very famous, he would have made a wonderful Doctor later in his career.

There are plenty of other red headed actors who would be much better suited for the role personality wise. If we are going to go with a Weasley, I suggest the actor who played Bill, Domhnall Gleeson.


Hugh Grant – credit:

Hugh Grant

Again, too huge. Hugh Grant is best known for… well, what seems like every British mainstream romantic comedy or drama from the mid 1990s to the mid 2000s. That may be hyperbolic, but the man’s superstardom has been far reaching for quite some time.

He actually did play the Doctor, although not canonically, in ‘The Curse of the Fatal Death,’ which is a short spoof from Comic Relief’s 1999 Red Nose Day Celebration. You can watch the video below. Grant comes in as the “Twelfth Doctor” at around the 15:26 mark. Spoilers: His incarnation only lasts about a minute and a half before getting shot by a Dalek, and soon regenerates into the fantastic Joanna Lumley. Everything else about his career aside, this appearance alone would make it awkward for him to officially play the Doctor.



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I could continue on with more examples, but the above, in particular, have the most lengthy explanations. Which individuals do you think should not play the Doctor? Discuss in the comments.