This past weekend we reported that Matt Smith would be calling it quits for Doctor Who. Speculation has already begun in regards to who could be taking over the role. Some of the wildest rumors claim that Sir Ian McKellan or even Helen Mirren would be assuming the role.
However, one of the show’s biggest fans has a different opinion. Neil Gaiman is one of the most respected and beloved fantasy writers of our time, and he’s also a lifelong fan of Doctor Who. So big in fact, that he’s been lucky enough to write two episodes, The Doctor’s Wife and Nightmare in Silver.
Be warned, Neil does mention some spoilers for the seventh season finale. Read further at your own risk.
“I actually like it when The Doctor is a relatively unknown actor, or one without one huge role that made them famous. A star, like Sir Ian, brings all the other roles they’ve ever played to the table when they act. Seeing John Hurt as the (Spoiler) at the end of the Name of the Doctor, meant that this was a certain type of part with a certain amount of gravitas, and you understood that John Hurt was bringing everything with it (including being John Hurt), just as Derek Jacobi did as the Master.
But I like to see The Doctor as The Doctor, and an actor who doesn’t bring baggage is a grand sort of thing. A star waiting to happen. So I don’t want to see Helen Mirren or Sir Ian McKellen or Chiwetel Ejiofor, or any of the famous names people are suggesting.
I want to see The Doctor. I want to be taken by surprise. I want to squint at a photo of the person online and go “but how can that be The Doctor?”. Then I want to be amazingly, delightedly, completely proven wrong, and, six episodes in, I want to wonder how I could have been so blind. Because this is the Doctor. Of course it is.”
I can’t say that I disagree with Gaiman on this issue. When David Tennant, probably the most popular actor to portray the Doctor since Tom Baker, left the show, no one had ever heard of Matt Smith. When it was announced that he had been cast, many news outlets used the headline “Doctor who?” in reference to his unknown status. Then he blew everyone away with just how amazing he was. With any luck, his successor should be able to do repeat that.
What do you think of what Gaiman has to say here? Do you agree that an unknown should become the next Doctor? Why don’t you just tell us what you think in the comments below?