As Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall hand back their keys to the TARDIS, predicting who would be an ideal replacement is no easy feat.
Predicting the Doctor Who replacement is not easy. While fans rumour actors like Phoebe Waller-Bridge or Richard Ayoade to replace Jodie Whittaker as the titular role, often their guesses don’t feel right.
Most importantly, the replacement needs to engage the show’s decreasing viewership leading into its 60th year.
Additionally, fans forget to predict the next showrunner. The head writer shapes the next regeneration for the actor and getting that right too can prevent an undoing of an actor’s ability, as evidenced by Whittaker’s opportunity tarnished by Chibnall’s awful writing.
Interestingly, the actor prediction names are often too high profile, or the role would be treated as another to add to their portfolio, rather than giving them the opportunity to grow into, as seen with countless Doctors and companions of the show’s past.
Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith and companion Karen Gillan are the best examples to prove this. Neither were instantly recognisable, and both have had successful careers since, including the Marvel Cinematic Universe – Loxias Crown and Nebula respectively, and in the instance of Smith, Netflix’s The Crown alongside Claire Foy.
With that in mind, who would make a great casting choice for the role. I would argue that it would need to be an actor from a British drama of time-gone-by who is no longer a huge household name, but when in the role, would cause the reaction “of course it’s them!”.
The Real Hustle
Someone like Adrian Lester.
Lester first found fame in the BBC drama Hustle, which ran from 2004-2012 as confident conman Mickey Briggs, and is more recently seen working on the West End, similar to actor Pearl Mackie before she was brought on as companion Bill Potts in series 10.
The Birmingham born actor is also keen friends with former Doctors David Tennant and Jodie Whittaker, having starred alongside Tennant and Michael Sheen in Staged, and performed with Whittaker for BBC Children in Need in 2019.
Adrian Lester is also often seen exempt from being discussed by bookies or fans alike, giving all the more confidence that this under-the-radar name would be ideal casting becoming the second person of colour to portray the Doctor after Jo Martin’s surprise reveal in series 11 alongside Jodie Whittaker.
While other actors may be a good fit, including Russell Tovey, Lydia West, who worked with both Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat previously on Years and Years, It’s A Sin, and Dracula, as well as actor Will Poulter (Black Mirror, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Maze Runner), personally I don’t feel there is a better fit for the role than Adrian Lester.
Running The Show
As for the replacement of Chris Chibnall. Again, there is only one name that would fit this role like a glove. Toby Whithouse.
Previously a showrunner for BBC’s Being Human, also starring Russell Tovey, Whithouse has penned some all-time fan-favourite episodes, as well as my personal favourite episode – The God Complex.
No stranger to thinking of unique concepts, while remaining true to the show’s history, Whithouse has proved countlessly that his ability is unmatched. From School Reunion to A Town Called Mercy, if Whithouse were hired to fill this role, I for one would be relieved that it is no longer in the destructive hands of a toddler learning to write as shown by 42, The Power of Three, and Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.
Instead with Whithouse who’s the love of the show has oozed on-screen, and fully has the strength to improve, and elevate the show to greater heights, as an audience, we can rest assured that any actor given the leading role will be treated fairly, and given strong emotive material to respond to.
Ultimately, under Whithouse’s leadership, the show could transform into a celebratory fanfare as the show heads into its 60th year bringing hope and joy back into a show in need of rejuvenation.