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13 Actors Who Could Be The Next Doctor On Doctor Who

Not long after it was announced that "Doctor Who" star Jodie Whittaker would be stepping down as the Doctor after three years on the series, both media outlets and fans alike began in earnest compiling lists of would-be actors who might take over. With the change-over to a new actor seemingly scheduled for fall of 2022 (via Comicbook.com), it seems likely that they'll be filming the 13th Doctor's regeneration within a matter of months, meaning an announcement of her replacement could come any day now.

Keep in mind that it was a big event in 2013 when it was announced that "The Thick Of It" star Peter Capaldi would succeed Matt Smith in the part, revealed as part of a prime time "Doctor Who" special. In 2017 the BBC did something similar, airing a teaser after the Wimbledon men's singles final that provided the first glimpse of Whittaker as the first woman to play the Doctor. What does the studio have in store for the big announcement in 2022 ahead of production on the upcoming final episode? We'll have to wait and see, but for now here's a list of 13 actors who could be in line to take over as the next Doctor on "Doctor Who." 

Regé-Jean Page

Though he got his start in 2001 on an obscure TV series called "Gimme 6," had a blink-and-miss-it moment in the "Harry Potter" film series, and followed it up with a part in the 2016 remake of "Roots," it was the 2020 Netflix drama "Bridgerton" that shot Regé-Jean Page to fame. The English-Zimbabwean actor impressed audiences immediately, and his part in the period drama — where he sported plenty of fancy dress, frilly shirts, and cravats — immediately got Whovians thinking he would be the perfect man to play the next incarnation of the Doctor. 

Though there's been no official word from producers or industry insiders, he's been one of the most popular fan choices of late. There's certainly no denying he's got the talent, the look, and the star power to lead the iconic British sci-fi series. But the biggest roadblock that could stand in the way of Page taking the role of the wayward Time Lord? The fact that he's also been rumored for some major Hollywood franchises. There's been talk that he could be involved in the next iteration of the Black Panther franchise (via Variety), while speculation got so serious that he might be the next James Bond that the actor was forced to clear up the gossip with People magazine. If he were to land a massive franchise, we're not sure he'd have the time or energy to also star as BBC's time-and-space-traveling Time Lord. Though these days, with actors tackling multiple franchises across both television and film, anything is possible.

Robert Webb

One of Britain's most underrated sitcom stars, actor Robert Webb has appeared alongside his comedy partner David Mitchell for more than 20 years, in shows like "Bruiser" (with Martin Freeman), "Peep Show" (alongside Olivia Colman), "That Mitchell And Webb Look," "Ambassadors," and more recently the BBC comedy "Back" in 2017. Though there's been no serious talk linking him to the role, he'd certainly capture the same kind of everyman vibe that returning showrunner Russell T. Davies seems to like in his protagonists: the kind of Doctor who you could easily see yourself jaunting down to the pub with for a pint. It's worth noting that Webb has appeared on "Doctor Who" before as well, in the episode "Dinosaurs On A Spaceship" where he and David Mitchell both voiced a pair of bumbling robot guards.

Though he may still be best known for playing the hip musician Jez on "Peep Show," the actor himself is now approaching 50, and could play off his youthful vibe and cheery disposition as a kinder, friendlier, middle-aged Doctor akin to Sylvester McCoy or Patrick Troughton. Though some have dreamed of Mitchell in the part, Webb seems a much better fit with a more fun-loving and ironically down-to-Earth persona. Though an unexpected pick, he would certainly offer a strong contrast to outgoing Doctor Jodie Whittaker, and could be just the right outside-the-box choice to step in and refresh the series.

David Tennant

What's that you say, David Tennant has already been the Doctor? Yes, we're aware, but if recent rumors are anything to go by, there's a very real chance we could see Tennant don the pinstriped suit, step into some sand shoes, and man the TARDIS controls one more time. Talk has gone wild (courtesy of Gizmodo) that the actor — who since leaving "Doctor Who" in 2009 has gone on to star in "Broadchurch" and "Jessica Jones," among other high-profile productions — could return, not as the same 10th Doctor, but as a new, entirely different regeneration, but with the same face. 

If you think that's odd — and it is — recall that it's been done before. In the 2012 anniversary special, "The Day Of The Doctor," we got a cameo from former Doctor Tom Baker, who seemed to suggest that in his later years he would "revisit some old favorites" and take on the faces of his past selves in future incarnations. If Tennant were to return in this manner, it would surely be met with enthusiasm from fans; with the lackluster reception to the latest few seasons, it could be just the shot in the arm the show needs. It might also provide opportunities for the oddest kind of multi-Doctor story yet, with Tennant potentially playing two versions of the Time Lord. Is there any truth to the rumors, though? We'll have to wait and see, but where the Doctor is concerned, nothing can ever truly be ruled out.

Alex Kingston

If you're looking for a truly left-field choice for Jodie Whittaker's replacement, stick with us when we propose River Song, played by actress Alex Kingston, to take over the lead role. No, we aren't suggesting that The Doctor regenerate and take the face of Ms. Song, but that River herself might be the focus of the next series. She would still be the Doctor, too, as Song has in her lifetime held the title of "Doctor," shown a mastery of the TARDIS and is in fact, part Time Lord

It's also been mentioned, in the 2015 Christmas Special, that Song had in the past often jetted off with the TARDIS while the Doctor was none the wiser, providing plenty of possible stories where Doctor Song went on her own adventures in the blue box through time and space. Or perhaps the Doctor goes missing and it's up to a past version of Song to find her, giving the next season an ongoing story that could even see her reuniting with past editions of the Doctor. It's an offbeat notion, but we do know that Kingston has longed to return to the series as Song so she can meet Whittaker's Doctor. This could give her that chance, while also seeing her usher in a whole new direction for "Doctor Who."

Olly Alexander

When Russell T. Davies was casting the first new Doctor upon the series' revival in 2005 he wound up picking an actor he'd worked with before. Star Christopher Eccleston had appeared in the lead role in Davies' own previous series, "The Second Coming," as a man who claimed to be Jesus Christ reincarnated. When it came time to find a new actor to replace Eccleston a year later, he once again chose another actor he'd previously worked with, a young thespian named David Tennant who'd played the title role in Davies' 2005 mini-series, "Casanova." With Davies back aboard "Doctor Who," it would be no surprise if he chose another actor he's previously worked with, and Olly Alexander has appeared on most rumor lists in that regard.

Alexander starred in Davies' most recent ensemble series, the 2021 drama "It's A Sin," where he played a young gay man in early 1980s London. In the series, Alexander drew praise for his strong performance as Ritchie Tozer, and online buzz suggests he may be on Davies' short list for the 14th Doctor. Interviewed by Express early this year, the young actor finally addressed the talk point blank, putting out an unequivocal denial that he's the next Doctor. But these days it's hard to trust any such claims, as he'd surely be sworn to secrecy even if he were. And as we've seen, even Hollywood's biggest actors have lied openly to the press about their involvement in upcoming projects.

Richard Ayoade

As far back as 2019, comedian, actor, and television host Richard Ayoade has been rumored as a contender for the role of the next Doctor (courtesy of Huffington Post). Although Ayoade was a popular choice to succeed then-outgoing Doctor Peter Capaldi, incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall would ultimately pick "Broadchurch" star Jodie Whittaker. Three years later it's Whittaker who's exiting the TARDIS and once again talk has returned to the possibility of Ayoade taking over the role. The former star of "The IT Crowd," host of "Travel Man," and regular British panelist on shows like "The Big Fat Quiz," Ayoade has since branched out into bigger roles, particularly in the world of voice acting, where he's appeared in "Disenchantment" and "The Mandalorian."

A recent poll by Metro once again put him as a fan favorite to become the 14th version of the character next year. If he is ever to play the Doctor, this feels like the right time for him, as his higher profile internationally seems like it would help convince producers that he'd be a solid draw even outside of the show's native Britain. Some may feel he's a bit too safe a pick, but with the popularity of "Doctor Who" waning in recent years (via Evening Standard), perhaps a populist choice could be just what the series needs. 

Jo Martin

Another potentially safe — but controversial — choice would be actress Jo Martin, who like David Tennant has already played the Doctor. Martin's version, dubbed "The Fugitive Doctor," was introduced in the 12th season episode "Fugitive of The Judoon," but fans initially weren't sure if she was the real deal, having been fooled in the past by a stranger's claims of being "The Next Doctor." But Martin did in fact wind up being an incarnation of The Doctor, from a period of time that had been erased from her memory. Casting Martin as the 14th Doctor would have to either rewrite that story, or — as the rumors of Tennant's return have suggested — establish that the Doctor is revisiting old faces. 

Still, Martin remains a popular choice to succeed Whittaker, with her storyline in Season 12 — and particularly her debut episode — proving a highlight for most fans (via Radio Times). Martin could also become the choice for an expanded series separate from the 14th Doctor that would explore her earlier adventures. With Russell T. Davies commenting that such an expansion of the "Doctor Who" universe may be coming, this one seems more likely than you might think.

Harry Melling

Starting out as Harry Potter's obnoxious cousin Dudley, actor Harry Melling has already appeared in an iconic British franchise, but still shows up on many casting wish lists for "Doctor Who." Since appearing in the Wizarding World, Melling has matured into more dramatic fare, appearing most prominently in the celebrated 2020 Netflix drama "The Queen's Gambit" opposite Anna Taylor-Joy. In the series — which won the Emmy for Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series — Melling played a local rival chess player who becomes smitten with series protagonist Beth Harmon. A star on the rise, Melling would be a perfect choice for a more quirky Doctor.

On top of his talent in front of the camera and his ascendant stardom, Melling has a family lineage that makes him a good pick as well. The actor is the grandson of Second Doctor Patrick Troughton, and while this has helped make fans out of Whovians who enjoy the connection, the actor himself has acknowledged that it gives him no more reason to land the part than anyone else. In fact, in an interview with Yahoo, Melling dismissed the Twitter hashtag #HarryForWho that sprung up in favor of his casting, and admitted to not even being a fan of the series.  

Nabhaan Rizwan

This British actor of Indian descent made a name for himself in the BBC crime drama "Informer," where he played a young man pressured to go undercover in a UK terrorist cell. After a recent, memorable part in HBO's "Station Eleven," it would seem Nabhaan Rizwan's at a similar point in his career as David Tennant and Matt Smith were when they were cast as the Doctor. Having proven his chops on TV and with parts in movies like "1917" and "Mogul Mowgli," the time appears to be right for Rizwan's big break, and there would be no better break than being cast as the lead in "Doctor Who."

Admittedly, Rizwan wouldn't bring much name recognition like Capaldi did, nor the impressive career and reputation of Jodie Whittaker. But both the BBC and showrunner Russell T. Davies have rolled the dice before, and there's no denying Rizwan's incredible talent. If they're going to find someone who is lesser known, Nabhaan Rizwan may just be the best choice on this list.

Michael Sheen

Another name floated as a possible frontrunner is Michael Sheen, star of "Masters of Sex" and "Good Omens," with some even believing he may be the odds-on favorite. Unfortunately, Sheen came out and flatly denied that he had secured the role of the 14th Doctor. Speaking to Metro, Sheen expressed his appreciation for the fan support, saying, "There's been a lot of people, particularly 'Doctor Who' fans, who have said they would like to see me as Doctor Who. That's incredibly flattering." He then noted that he had not been contacted by anyone from the program, and ruled himself out for the part: "I would be very surprised myself if, when the Doctor transforms, it is me."

It's just as possible though that his denial is another example of an actor hoping to draw attention away from his possible casting, as it's become more and more common for actors to make firm denials when confronted with popular rumors. Whether true or not, there's no denying that Sheen would be an excellent choice for the Doctor. He's even appeared in a voice role on the show once before, in the Neil Gaiman-penned episode "The Doctor's Wife." If cast, it would put him in the company of Colin Baker and Peter Capaldi as actors who'd appeared on the series before taking on the title role. 

Omari Douglas

Another up-and-coming actor with close ties to returning "Doctor Who" showrunner Russell T. Davies, Omari Douglas made his screen debut in 2020's "It's A Sin," playing the character of Roscoe Babatunde. Of all the actors on this list, he may be the one with the most to back up the speculation: Davies commented on the rumors himself, which conspicuously did not include a denial. Instead, the writer and producer heaped the actor with tons of praise, telling iNews.co.uk, "He's just got everything you need in a leading actor, he's fearless and limitless. And stays great fun, even when the subject matter is tough." 

Though Douglas is one of three actors from "It's A Sin" to be rumored for the role — alongside Olly Alexander and Lydia West — he might be the best fit, as his quirky, eccentric persona may be just what the show is looking for after a more conventional actor like Jodie Whittaker. If the series is indeed seeking someone who'd represent a stark change from the 13th Doctor, Douglas is the right man for the job.

Rose Matafeo

Ranking high on the list of possible replacements for The Doctor published by The Guardian, comedienne Rose Matafeo may not seem like the ideal fit at first thought, but that's what may make her such an intriguing choice for the part. The Guardian found it easy to see her bursting out of the TARDIS doors, which feels like a good starting point, and her eccentric look certainly suits the role. But it's her comedic chops that may be the best fit of all: her lead role in "Starstruck" since 2021 has garnered rave reviews for its sharp humor and Matafeo's breakout performance as a young London woman who discovers too late that her one-night affair was with a famous actor.

In fact, if anything is standing in the way of Matafeo taking on the role of the Doctor, it might be "Starstruck." The show has been met with such stellar reviews that it may clog up her schedule, as the series is already on its second season. Add to that the fact that Matafeo is from New Zealand, and the Doctor has never been played by an actor from outside the United Kingdom, and you get a great choice who might sadly be a long shot.

Ty Tennant

At just 17, he'd be by far the youngest actor to fill the shoes of The Doctor officially, but none other than the Doctor's son and grandson Ty Tennant has thrown his hat into the ring and said he hopes to land the coveted role (via The Sunday Post). Confused? Well, Ty is the adopted son of David Tennant, the 10th Doctor, and his mother — Georgia Tennant — is the daughter of Fifth Doctor Peter Davidson.

David and Georgia met on the set of "Doctor Who" episode "The Doctor's Daughter," where she indeed played the daughter of the Doctor, and was cast as a nod to her real-life relationship to former Doctor Peter Davidson. The pair wed on New Year's Eve, 2011. While it's not likely that Ty will get the nod this time around, and his own aspirations are further away than 2022, there's no doubt that the young thespian would be a thematically appropriate pick whether now or later.