On the next Doctor

As I mentioned a few days ago Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston will be leaving the program at the end of this season, the new series’ first. Eccleston is under contract for a second season. He’s said he just won’t do it. The BBC could force Eccleston to fulfill the terms of his contract, but why have a leading man who doesn’t want to be there? Two or three seasons under his belt I could understand wanted to move on. But one? Sodding bloody wanker.

The way I see it, Eccleston will have 11 stories, if one includes the yet-to-be-written Christmas special, in slightly more than one season, which works out to the same number of stories Colin Baker had. Of course, Colin’s stories were multi-episode affairs, while Christopher Eccleston’s are single-episode affairs, save for the three two-parters.

It’s unfortunate. I can’t help but wonder if this is some sort of publicity stunt, much like John Nathan-Turner used to do. The fact that the BBC is already saying that David Tennant is the leading candidate for the tenth Doctor makes me suspicious.

Yet, the speculation has no doubt begun. Who will be the next Doctor? I’ve addressed the question before, but that was nearly three years ago. Where are we today?

My friend Terri suggests Babylon 5‘s Jason Carter. He wouldn’t be a bad choice.

Among my top picks:

Sean Bean
Alan Cumming
Alan Davies
Stephen Fry
Richard E. Grant
Ioan Gruffudd
Nigel Havers
Anthony Stewart Head
Malcolm McDowell
Alexander Siddig

If we have to go with a veteran of genre televison, Siddig is the one I’d pick. My natural inclination, though, is toward Havers, just because I think he’s the actor in the list with the most range. Fry would be right, if he could drop a couple stone–he’s become quite heavy of late. And I’d like to see Richard E. Grant have a proper outing as the Doctor. “Curse of the Fatal Death” and “Scream of the Shalka” are nice, but really now. As for Sean Bean, Americans may be used to seeing him in the villain roles in films, but he has a body of work that works against that perception. Certainly his long association with the Richard Sharpe role, based on the Bernard Cornwall novels.

There’s another implication to Eccleston’s departure to consider. If Eccleston is afraid of being typecast I wonder if he would be open to a multi-Doc story somewhere down the road. I’m thinking we can probably rule out Big Finish audios.

2 thoughts on “On the next Doctor

  1. Have you seen David Tennant in anything yet? He was in the BBC/Masterpiece Theater version of Anthony Trollope’s He Knew He Was Right, and he was pretty entertaining in that.

    Jason Carter would be a not good choice, IMHO; there were two good actors in B5, and he wasn’t one of them.

    John Hannah might be an interesting choice. He can do dark and broody (see Rebus), but he’s had some comedy roles as well. But… the problem with a lot of the people that we’ve heard of on this side of the Atlantic is that I doubt many of them are likely to commit to a long run on the series.

  2. Steve, as best I can tell I’ve not seen David Tennant in anything. Judging by the pictures I’ve seen of Tennant I think he looks a little young for the role.

    The BBC’s own website has a page on several leading contenders for the role–among their picks the only two I don’t have listed are Bill Nighy (who was Russell T. Davies’ first choice for the ninth Doctor according to many reports) and David Thewlis who would, come to think of it, be a good choice.

    The advantage to Jason Carter, in my mind, is that he’s a genre veteran and would have some familiarity with the demands of the role, something that early reports on Eccleston’s departure indicated was part of his reasons for leaving. The one disadvantage I see to Carter is that I’m not sure what personal quality he would bring to the role, and my fear is that if offered the role he may be limited to something akin to a Tom Baker pastiche.

    We’ll see soon enough, I’m sure. If the thirteenth episode is Eccleston’s departure, rather than the Christmas special, it’s possible that the role is close to being filled, if it hasn’t been filled already for a regeneration scene.

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