Odds-On Favorite For Next ‘Doctor Who’ Is …

By January 31, 2017

Although it wasn’t entirely too shocking when Peter Capaldi announced Monday that the upcoming 10th season of Doctor Who would be his last.

But what might be shocking is who the odds-makers think will replace Capaldi in the role. While there are some fresh names from the list compared to a few years ago, the one thing that is most surprising? There seems to be very good odds that incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall will go back in time and bring back a former star.

That’s right. Matt Smith, the current star of The Crown who immediately preceded Capaldi in the title role, has been given 16-to-1 odds to return, according to The Mirror. That’s far better than even one fan-fantasy of having Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe take over. His odds are 33-to-1.

Although more unlikely, bookies have included both David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston in the possibilities, rounding out the list of all the Doctor Who actors since the 2005 resurrection. But they’re odds are about on par with Radcliffe at 20-to-1 and 33-to-1.

The odds were offered by the people at William Hill, the London-based gambling company that has been betting on the odds since 1934. And it’s not too far-fetched to think an old actor could come back. Tom Baker’s surprise guest appearance in the 50th anniversary Doctor Who special suggested The Doctor still has some control over his looks, and at some point even decides to explore some of the “classics,” like that of the Fourth Doctor played by Baker.

But it seems the past actors are quite busy on new projects. Smith, of course, is working on The Crown for Netflix, while Tennant continues to work on Broadchurch – which Chibnall created – as well as a few movies in the pipeline. Eccleston just wrapped his work on HBO’s The Leftovers, and has two films in the works.

So who will be the next Doctor Who? Well, William Hill seems to be hedging bets on one guy: Ben Whishaw.

Name doesn’t sound familiar? Well, his face might be. The 36-year-old actor has portrayed Q in the James Bond film franchise since Skyfall in 2012.

He’s also set to play Michael Banks in Disney’s upcoming sequel Mary Poppins Returns, with Emily Blunt in the title role, a role originated by the late Matthew Garber in the 1964 original.

If he is cast, Whishaw would become the first openly gay actor to take on The Doctor. He also would be yet another actor celebrated by British critics and peers, especially with four BAFTA nominations (and a win for The Hollow Crown in 2013) under his belt.

Whishaw’s odds? A very confident 5-to-1.

Right behind him, however, is Richard Ayoade. The 39-year-old actor might not be well-known in the United States, but he stays quite busy in England with series like Strange Hill High and The IT Crowd – which he won a BAFTA for in 2014.

Ayoade would be the first non-white actor to play The Doctor, thanks to his Norwegian and Nigerian roots.

At 7-to-1 odds is Rory Kinnear, who most recently played John Clare in Penny Dreadful, and has played Bill Tanner in the James Bond film series since Quantum of Solace in 2008.

He was nominated for a BAFTA in 2014 for Southcliffe, and also has appeared in The Imitation Game as well as the anthology series Black Mirror.

Fans, however, have been clamoring for a woman to take over the role – something we know can happen thanks to Michelle Gomez’s take on The Master – er, we mean The Mistress. While some would love to see Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren take on the role, her odds aren’t good – 25-to-1.

One actress who seems to have a better chance, however, is Miranda Hart at 8-to-1. The actress had her own self-titled series Miranda for six years, earning her five BAFTA nominations. She also starred in Call the Midwife,  and is set to provide a voice for the upcoming Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry animated film The Canterville Ghost.

While Mirren might not be on the short-list, Helena Bonham Carter might. The actress who played Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter series, and has essentially appeared in just about anything her ex Tim Burton directed, would carry a lot of clout with her. We mean, she does have two Oscar nominations to her name for The Wings of the Dove in 1998 and The King’s Speech in 2011.

Among Carter’s upcoming films is one of the more anticipated franchise films Ocean’s Eight that will hit theaters next year.

Of course, this is all speculation.

And not only do fans have to try and predict what BBC wants to do in carrying the series forward, they also have to try and anticipate Chibnall, who takes over as showrunner once Steven Moffat finishes the 10th season and the Christmas special this year.

A decision won’t take too long, however. Capaldi is leaving during the Christmas episode, and someone will have to be chosen long before then.

But if anyone is hoping for Tom Baker … don’t get your hopes up too high.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael began what has become nearly 19 years of entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based out of New York City where he is the editor of a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in the Bronx.