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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Editorial: Six Actors Who Could Play The Doctor and Aren't White Dudes.

Sorry this editorial is up so late, guys. I actually didn't get in until about an hour and a half ago, and I'm about ready to collapse with exhaustion.

Editorial: Six Actors who could play the Doctor and aren't White Dudes.

Here's a subject which always brings a few angry fans out of the woodwork. “It's not about race or gender!” they cry, sweeping their arms about dramatically at the mere thought of someone who isn't a white man from taking one of the most iconic roles in television. If pushed, they will sometimes exclaim “He is British, you know,” which is odd, because a) Britain is multicultural, and b) Gallifrey is not technically part of Great Britain.

Still, in the majority of fandom, at least, there is a certain yearning for a bit of variation. It stretches believability a touch when the Doctor regenerates into thirteen different bodies (including John Hurt), and yet all of them are white dudes.

So here's my brief list of a fraction of the actors who could play the Doctor if he were to regenerate into someone who isn't white, or isn't a man, or isn't either.

Idris Elba.

Best known for his roles on BBC crime drama Luther and Guillermo del Toro's giant mech action film Pacific Rim, international heartthrob Idris Elba is well-known, well-loved, talented, and has a wide range of acting experience under his belt. While he's a very recognisable face, so was Peter Capaldi, and they still got him for the role.

Most importantly, the man is incredibly charismatic. He and Gwendoline Christie are my two 'so charismatic that they drown out every other person present' actors, after all.

He's a little bit of a departure from the norm for the Doctor (but then, so was Peter Davidson), but a world-weary, Pentecost-esque Doctor would be both refreshing and very engaging.

Gwendoline Christie.

People who read the last paragraph are probably not surprised by this.

Okay, look, the most important feature for an actor for the Doctor is charisma. I bet there are a few fanboys out there (hey, Steve) who would disagree and say that the most important feature they should have is external genitalia, but those people are wrong.

Gwendoline Christie has charisma in spades, can switch from severe and terrifying to happy and whimsical in a heartbeat, and is really tall. Imagine the looming, guys. Imagine the looming.

Alexander Siddig.

Alexander Siddig is no stranger to science fiction or doctoring, as he played Doctor Bashir on Deep Space Nine for years. He's also kind of brilliant as an actor, able to slip between roles that are utterly different from each other with alarming ease, which is handy for all of those times the Doctor accidentally forgets who he is, or gets possessed, or develops multiple personalities, or is replaced by a pod person.

Siddig has a certain regal quality – that's not my commenting on his literally being related to royalty, it's just something about his manners – that would be perfect for the Doctor. The dude is, after all, a Time Lord, an aristocrat from an ancient and powerful species. Previous Doctors have never been afraid to lord it over others a bit, although some have been more successful than others.

Siddig can do both fast-talking amicability (see everything as Bashir) and severe regality (see King Minos in BBC's Atlantis), so he'd be perfect for the role.

Felicity Jones.

I admit, out of all of these, Felicity Jones is the one I know the least about. Except that I did see her in The Worst Witch, and she was really good in that.

But she has a very impressive resume of experience, ranging from dramatic period pieces like Brideshead Revisited to Amazing Spiderman 2. She's not the most obvious choice, but Doctor Who has never been one for obvious choices, and it'd be fascinating to see how she'd approach the role.

Shappi Khorsandi.

“Foolish Murphy, Shappi Khorsandi is a comedian, not an actor!”

That's true, but there's a lot of cross over between the two. She wouldn't be the first comedian to show up on Doctor Who, and in a major role too (while Catherine Tate is a classically trained actor who received her training at the Central School of Drama, she was much better known for her comedy work at the time she was cast).

Khorsandi is bubbly, engaging, and has an edge to her that would serve her well in playing the Doctor. Not to mention, she's really funny, and the Doctor is always a bit of a figure of wry humour.

Santiago Cabrera.

An important thing to remember about Santiago Cabrera is that he is very pretty.

He'd definitely be the most good-looking Doctor so far. I imagine that the tabloids would entirely forget to scream about his being Chilean, as they would be too busy screaming about how apparently the Doctor has to be ~sexy~ now, and he'll be flirting with his companions constantly, and they're going to go to Albert Square, and get a pint, gawd.

(The 'Doctor Who and Eastenders Crossover' rumour seemed to be a staple of tabloid coverage of Doctor Who for nigh on four years.)

He's also really engaging and charismatic, and this would be a chance for a Doctor a bit more like Three, which we've not seen in a while: A slightly more swashbuckling, smooth, almost Errol Flynn esque Doctor who's a bit more of an action-y type than the norm, while still bringing to bear all the intellectual power that a Doctor has to have.

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