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6 Actors Who Could Play The Thirteenth Doctor

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m really disappointed in the latest Doctor Who news. Peter Capaldi was a great candidate to play the infamous Time Lord and I felt like he still had so much more to give. It doesn’t help that his entire reign to date has been riddled with problems, spanning from long scheduling gaps, shortened down episode counts, inconsistent quality, and some really, really painful decisions made by head-writer/executive producer Steven Moffat.

So it’s fair to say that I’m extremely pissed-off with Moffat because of his lack of ideas, which is a massive betrayal to me personally because I used to look up to him as a writer. Now he’s given me the middle finger time and time again, leaving me to feel completely empty when it comes to the current run of the show, maybe even passed the point of caring. I really want nothing more than to see Series 10 be extraordinary and bring the show back on par with earlier seasons which had quality stories throughout and an engaging story-arc. If not for Moffat’s sake (because he really does need to redeem himself now if he knows what’s good for him) be it for Capaldi who deserves at least one good series under his belt.

Enough about the past, let’s look towards the future. Regeneration is always both an exciting, and tragic time for Whovians. We lose a dear incarnation only to be blessed with a brand-new one, starting the fun of getting to understand them all over again. I’m not really good when it comes to choosing who I personally think would make a good Doctor. It can become quite biased because of how you perceive the show and it’s iconic protagonist. Me personally I can’t see him becoming a woman (but that’s for another day). But it goes further than that as I always imagine him being British just because that has been the tradition of the show since 1963, and still remains 53 years later.

So I had a little look at the Top British actors and managed to compile six actors who I think could play The Thirteenth Doctor. Word of warning, I am well aware that a lot of these actors probably won’t play The Doctor because of their status and busy schedules. But I’m trying to have a little bit of fun with this. Plus you just never know.

6. Benedict Cumberbatch


Now I would put Benedict Cumberbatch higher on this list (just because I love him so much) but what lowers him today is his role of Sherlock Holmes in the BBC modern adaption, Sherlock. I think a lot of people will find it strange that Cumberbatch is taking on the roles of not one, but two iconic British characters. Plus it’s the problem of people relating his performance back to Sherlock Holmes, because even I would (but not necessarily in a bad way).

Maybe his performance as Sherlock Holmes is what makes me want to see him play The Thirteenth Doctor because I know he can be both intellectual and eccentric, two very key elements within the Time Lord’s character. Maybe it would be interesting to see Cumberbatch channel his Sherlock performance into Doctor Who because the two character’s are very similar, particularly during the Jon Pertwee era where his incarnation and The Master played off against each other like Holmes and Moriarty.

Then there are his other iconic roles such as Dr. Stephen Strange, Khan and Smaug. All of these roles show off the best of Cumberbatch and his talent for generating his different personas. From being dramatic, intense, villainous, heroic, selfish, determined, and above all comedic. It’s fair to say that I really enjoy Cumberbatch’s bouncy behaviour, particularly during interviews and events because he always comes across as being fun and willing to entertain us. On top of that his voice talent is also another defining feature, making him more than capable of playing The Thirteenth Doctor. But say, since he’s already Sherlock Holmes let us consider our other options for taking on the reigns of the Time Lord.

5. Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman

Here’s another fantastic British actor that doesn’t need an introduction. Gary Oldman is just utterly brilliant and that alone gives him a spot on this list. Capaldi made it clear that you can easily have an older actor play The Doctor within the modern era, moving the show back to its earlier roots. I believe Oldman could do a similar job but his presence would bring a huge impact to the show and rise it to further heights.

Everything I have seen Oldman in I feel he gives it 110%. I particularly love his voice as it always convoys the persona of the character he’s playing on screen, whilst always holding that feeling of authority (even if his character isn’t always the good guy). One of the his most iconic roles comes with his portrayal of Commissioner Gordon within Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Trilogy, which to this day remains my favourite interpretation just because of his of authority, determination and sense of justice.  I also really loved his role as Sirius Black within the Harry Potter films, with his addition in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban making it one of my favourites within the series.

Oldman has even lent his powerful voice to the likes of The Magic Sword: Quest for Camelot as villainous Sir Ruber and who could forget his fantastic Russian accent (and his infamous shouting of “Dimitri”) as Sergeant Viktor Reznov in Call of Duty: World at War, later reprising the role for the sequel, Call of Duty: Black Ops. One of my favourite roles is his voice acting of villain Lord Shen in Kung Fu Panda 2, which stands as my favourite film within the series because of Oldman’s presence (and it has a really good narrative).

I think with Oldman’s incredible legacy he’d be more than capable of playing The Thirteenth Doctor and would bring a new status to the Time Lord’s character through a powerful performance.

4. Simon Pegg

simon pegg

I first grew to like Simon Pegg for his work on The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, consisting of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End. He certainly has a good wit and knows how to create perfect comedy within an array of different genres. Pegg went onto to create a further comedy partnered film with Nick Frost for Paul, a clever spoof on the conspiracies of the Roswell space-crash which featured so many clever references to the world of science-fiction.

And of course Pegg reached new science-fiction heights with his role as Montgomery Scott in Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Star Trek Beyond. So it’s fair to say that Pegg isn’t shy from his love of nerdy science-fiction and this adds to the reasons why he would be good at playing The Thirteen Doctor. Like Cumberbatch and Oldman, Pegg is known for a lot of different roles and personas, with his comedy front for The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, his love of sci-fi within the rebooted Star Trek films, and even has a action side within the Mission Impossible series alongside Tom Cruise. So there’s definitely a variety of appeal for Whovians and the general viewer.

I think because he has a nice blend of seriousness and comedy Pegg could possibly deliver an incarnation similar to Patrick Troughton and Matt Smith in which he’s quite clumsy but extremely cunning. Either-way, Pegg would certainly make the role entertaining and since he’s already familiar with Doctor Who (having played The Editor in “The Long Game”) he already has his foot in the door.

3. James McAvoy


Now I’m not too familiar with James McAvoy and his work but from what I have seen of him (or at least heard of him) he’s a great actor that knows how to deliver an entertaining performance. I’ve seen him in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe portraying Mr. Tumnus and of course for his recent work within the X-Men film series where he plays a younger version of Professor Charles Xavier within X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and X-Men: Apocalypse.

I have yet to see his latest film, Split, which sees him portraying a character that suffers from split-personality disorder. From the trailer alone I can see that he nails the role and convincingly, and sometimes chillingly, delivers an array of different characters set within the same person, showcasing that he’s capable of playing a character that has a wide range of character and personality. The Doctor is a perfect example of this so I think he could easily give us a stunning performance as The Thirteenth Doctor.

McAvoy is certainly not shy from performing in roles with such iconic status among the fandoms and joining Doctor Who would only further his acting career. Also, like with Cumberbatch, McAvoy has such a fun attitude within interviews and really strives to be amusing with his stories. Along with this I love his Scottish accent. And since The Doctor recently turned Scottish why take that away from him straight away. So yeah, McAvoy along with his native tongue and fun personality would be a welcome entry in my books.

2. Idris Elba

Idris Elba

Tradition is a very important thing for me. It’s probably because I do suffer from certain issues, with sudden change being one of them. So when I have something in my mind that becomes like a schedule and it is suddenly broken I feel rather off, sometimes anxious. The Doctor has always been a British white-male and that has stuck with me as the show’s formula, but for this list I want to explore at least one possibility that The Doctor can change ever so slightly.

If The Doctor were to change colour who better to lead that front than Idris Elba. The man is a brilliant actor and has certainly gained himself a reputation through his talent. Unfortunately I haven’t seen the BBC psychological crime-drama, Luther, but I have only heard good things and Elba is certainly the highlight of that praise as protagonist DCI John Luther. However, I have seen him in Prometheus as Captain Janek and Thor, Thor: The Dark World, and Avengers: Age of Ultron as Heimdall.

My favourite role has to be Chief Bogo in Zootropolis. Even with just his voice Elba delivers a great performance. And with Bogo comes a really entertaining character. Every time Elba is in a scene a smile appears on my face because his attitude is hilarious in that he’s extremely rude and uncaring, but the way Elba conveys this grumpy attitude in a fun way helps to further the quality of the overall film.

Elba is certainly a talented actor and has obviously been known for his outstanding television roles, so becoming The Thirteenth Doctor might not be out of the question. I really think he could do wonders if he was given the opportunity and push the boundaries of Doctor Who, creating a completely fresh variation of the Time Lord.

1. Tom Hiddleston


I just had to pick Tom Hiddleston as my number one pick. Hiddleston is fantastic and stands as one of Britain’s best actors within the modern era. Unfortunately I have to say that I only really know Hiddleston for his role as Loki within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but come on, he’s terrific as the villainous, and cunning God of Mischief.

Though he was finding his way within Thor and didn’t necessarily shine, it was his performance within Avengers Assemble that really took people by surprise and remains as one of the best film adapted comic book villains of all times. His attitude changed as he felt more comfortable and confident in the role and pushed Loki to be a chilling, and desperate villain that was prepared to do whatever was necessary to achieve his goals, conducting plans that nearly destroyed The Avengers before they were even properly assembled.

Then of course there’s Hiddleston’s wit and charm, which only adds more layers to Loki. Come Thor: The Dark World he began stealing the show and remains the best aspect of the sequel as he continued to push his role and make us wonder whether or not Loki was capable of turning a new leaf. It’s fair to say I’m looking forward to his return in Thor: Ragnarok. I’m also looking forward to his role in the upcoming reboot Kong: Skull Island, which serves as a continuation to 2014s reboot Godzilla, with the two iconic creatures due to do battle in Godzilla vs. Kong in 2020 as part of a shared universe known as MonsterVerse.

I also heard good things about his recent performance in the BBC mini-series, The Night Manager, in which sparked the interest for Hiddleston to become the successor of Daniel Craig as James Bond. In my defence if people want him to play one iconic British character why can’t I wish for him to play another. I know it’s a pipe-dream but I’d still really love to see what Hiddleston could add to Doctor Who given the chance to play The Thirteenth Doctor.

I know I have only seen what he could do as a villain (in which case if he can’t be The Doctor how about The Master?) but within his role as Loki I have seen so many different aspects to his acting and how much he enjoys delivering a great performance. This is the kind of man I would happily trust playing my favourite protagonist.

If you made it to the end of this listicle, I thank you for putting up with me. Of course this list is mostly for a bit of fun but they are also serious considerations for great British actors who could take on the mantle after Capaldi. But of course these are just my thoughts and picks. Do you agree with me or do you have your own ideas? Let us hear your own lists of actors you would like to see play The Thirteenth Doctor in the comments below or on Twitter!

About the author

John Hussey