The Likely Candidates Leave the Starting Gate in our Guide To The Potential Doctors.
Craig McGill was the journalist who broke the story that David Tennant would be replacing Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor. Now working in PR, he’s dived into the debate over the new Doctor on his blog…
The start of the year looked so promising for journalists – a year of speculating on the economy, when the general election would be and who would be the next, well Doctor Who – and the BBC went and ruined that by giving people 24 hours notice that the Eleventh Doctor, David Tennant’s replacement, would be revealed on Saturday night.
There’s been a lot of speculation over the role and who is going to fill it with the favourites being:
- Jimmy Nesbitt
- Sean Pertwee
- Robert Carlyle
- Matt Smith
- Chiwetel Ejiofor
- Paterson Joseph
Now, the first one that can be ruled right out of that is Robert Carlyle as he’s just announced that he’s the lead in the new Stargate show Stargate: Universe. Nesbitt has been suspiciously low-key over the position, which probably rules him out, though it would be fantastic to have him utter the line “Every planet has a Belfast” when asked about his accent.
That leaves Sean Pertwee as the legacy choice. After all, he looks like a mix between Doctor Three (unsurprising as it was his father) and Christopher Eccleston.
Pertwee would be a good choice, a steady choice. He can handle action and has some charisma. If Who was a football team it would be like bringing in a team legend as manager when the team was underperforming.
But who is not underperforming, far from it – and that’s one of the reasons he won’t get it.
Then there’s Matt Smith, who appeared over the internet in the hours before the announcement was made and if he is the New Who it’s one in the face for the pundits and one for internet gossip as no-one has heard of him.
But the smart thinking is on it being a coloured, specifically black, actor –probably Chiwetel Ejiofor or Paterson Jospeh – and the timing is what gives it away.
Both men have good acting credentials tinged with Sci-Fi. Chiwetel, also known for his role in Kinky Boots (and the headline writers will have fun with that) has global appeal from his role in the Joss Wheedon film Serenity – a spin-off from Firefly – while Paterson has been one of the leads in the recent remake of Survivors on BBC1.
The smart money and inside tips are on it being one of these two men and while the choice will be on their acting ability, their skin colour may have played a part in the announcement being made so early.
From a PR point of view it seems strange to announce the news so early – after all the new Who will be on the screen very little in 2009 with their 13-episode series not being broadcast until mid-2010. Filming won’t even start for at least eight months.
But if there’s a black doctor, it means that when the world gets round to doing all the press for Barack Obama and how black people are getting into positions never thought possible even just a few years ago, then Doctor Who is getting mentioned in those articles across the world because up until now, it’s always been a role for a white actor.
There’s also 18 months of positive press publicity (and if there’s one thing I would imagine the BBC wants just now after what happened with Ross/Brand is some positive publicity) for the BBC for having a black actor step into the role.
One thing is for sure: whoever gets the role is in for a mediafrenzy the likes of few actors experience. Would still have been good to hear Nesbitt say “Every planet has a Belfast” though.
(Hat tip to Craig McGill www.craig-mcgill.com).