With the Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker era finally ending, Doctor Who is looking both forward and backward, having reenlisted Russell T. Davies as showrunner after being one of the brains behind the show’s original resurrection back in 2005. However, if the show is to return to its one-time popularity, getting the casting of the show’s lead correct is essential, and Colin Baker has some ideas about who it should be.
Speaking to Digital Spy, Baker, who played the sixth incarnation of the Time Lord between 1984 and 1986, says that current trends suggest an actor of color might be taking over the role. He adds that such a piece of casting would be “quite right, too!”
I suspect that the trend is going to take us down the BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) route – and quite right, too! There’s a whole sector of the acting community that’s been ill-served for decades. It’ll certainly, I suspect, not be a white, middle-aged man; I would like to think it will be another female Doctor because I enjoyed watching [Jodie].
Russell T. Davies hit gold twice during his first era, casting Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant as the ninth and tenth doctors, meaning he has an impeccable record with enlisting the right individual. Many have suggested that Davies might cast Olly Alexander as the next Doctor after the two worked together on It’s a Sin earlier this year, the show featuring a specially shot scene that replicated the show’s production in the 1980s. Alexander would be the first openly LGBTQ+ actor in the role if he were cast.
While Jodie Whittaker’s era has undoubtedly been divisive amongst fans, most highlight the sharp writing downturn as the chief culprit behind declining audience figures, with Whittaker seen as poorly provided for. Baker, for one, says he’s sorry to see her go.
I love something that she has brought, that I’ve never seen in a Doctor before, which is joy: the joy of being the Doctor. I suppose joy isn’t a particularly manly attribute. Usually, smugness is more what men go for, rather than joy!
Who’s in the frame?
If Baker’s predictions are proven right, and the next doctor is both a person of color and female, the leading contenders would be T’Nia Miller and Michaela Coel.
Miller has worked with Davies before on the six-part 2019 series Years and Years, which followed one Manchester-based family over 15 years of political upheavals, economic instability, and technological advances. She has also starred in The Haunting of Bly Manor as Hannah Grose, and even appeared in Doctor Who as The General in 2015’s Hell Bent, starring Peter Capaldi. Like Capaldi and Baker, she would be one of the few actors to have appeared in the show as another character before taking on the leading role.
The other top name, Michaela Coel, is the star of I May Destroy You. Coel, who has also had roles in Star Wars and Black Mirror, has had her name heavily linked with Doctor Who ever since the rumors that Whittaker was leaving arose. She would be a marquee name following the hugely positive reception to I May Destroy You. However, given how in-demand Coel is, Doctor Who may come calling just too late.
Beyond Alexander, Miller, and Coel, other names in the frame include Richard Ayoade, Kris Marshall, and Michael Sheen. Sheen won over 20% of the votes in a recent poll by the UK’s Radio Times, making him the fan-favorite.