Next Doctor Who: 10 actors who could step into the Tardis

Who will be the next Doctor Who? Jodie Whittaker is stepping away from the role, leaving the position wide open – and every British actor is seemingly a contender, with the likes of Hugh Grant having to shut down casting rumors following rabid online chatter about his potential casting.

In fact, it’s all changing over at Who headquarters with a returning Russell T. Davies replacing Chris Chibnall as showrunner. Davies has already his own part in contributing to casting rumors. He told SFX that It’s a Sin actor Olly Alexander would be “a marvelous Doctor Who”, and Alexander’s agent shut had to down the rumors in a hilarious pun-filled statement, claiming the actor is focusing on his music career, but we haven’t ruled him out just yet. The hunt for the next Doctor Who continues.

Davies has said that the series had yet to cast a new Doctor and that auditions started back in December, and with not too long to go until Whittaker’s final episodes, the casting would become clear soon. So, who could potentially be on the shortlist? Here are 10 actors who could be cast as the next Doctor Who. 

1. Jo Martin

Doctor Who

(Image credit: BBC)

Perhaps the most likely option, Jo Martin was introduced as the Fugitive Doctor in the 12th season of Doctor Who. Notably, she’s the first person of color to play the role of Doctor, so it would be lovely to see her return as the official Fourteenth Doctor. The Fugitive Doctor is rumored to be an earlier incarnation of the Doctor, perhaps even before the First Doctor, and is a more ruthless version of the often goofy character. It would be great to see Martin flex more in the role and add depth to the Fugitive Doctor.

2. Olly Alexander

It's A Sin

(Image credit: Channel 4)

You can say you’re not in talks to be the next Doctor Who, but if you say so with a pun-filled statement worthy of the Doctor, we’re not going to believe you. The official statement from Alexander’s agent reads: “Even though Olly is often contacted by cybermen, I’m afraid I have to exterminate this speculation. As nice as it is to see interest in this story regenerate, it just isn’t true. As Ood as it might sound, Olly is focusing on his music, for the time being.” It’s clear that Alexander is a Whovian, and the actor’s proximity to showrunner Davies (who created It’s a Sin, which Alexander appeared in) makes it even more likely the actor could step into the TARDIS. Though he’s young, he’s older than Matt Smith was when he took on the role…

3. Michaela Coel

I May Destroy You

(Image credit: BBC)

Michaela Coel is an excellent option for the Fourteenth Doctor, as she can balance comedy and drama with ease. Coel is best-known for creating and starring in Chewing Gum and I May Destroy You, but she’s no stranger to sci-fi. Coel has a starring role in a Star-Trek inspired episode of Black Mirror, so she certainly knows her way around a spaceship. Coel would be the first Black woman and person of color cast as the mainline Doctor, which would be a great step forward for the series. In response to The Guardian (opens in new tab) asking if she’d step into the titular role back in September 2021, Coel said: “I never say never to anything…I guess that’s my answer 

4.  Michael Sheen 

David Tennant and Michael Sheen in Good Omens

(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Michael Sheen, who currently stars in Good Omens alongside Doctor Who alum David Tennant, is a fan-favorite choice for the role. Sheen won the Radio Times poll for next Doctor, (opens in new tab) beating out Richard Ayoade, Jo Martin, and Andrew Scott. Sheen has technically already been in Doctor Who – he voiced the villainous House in an episode written by Neil Gaiman (who wrote the book Good Omens), but Peter Capaldi was in an episode of Doctor Who before he was the Doctor, so no matter. Sheen certainly has the acting chops, and perhaps Tennant could give him tips on the Good Omens set, but another middle-aged white man may not be the ideal choice for the next Doctor.  

5. Lydia West

It's A Sin

(Image credit: Channel 4/HBO Max)

Another It’s a Sin star, Lydia West is such a popular choice for the next Doctor that UK betting sites reportedly had to close their books (opens in new tab) after being flooded with bets on West. While the betting sites have certainly been wrong before, closing books on bets that never came to fruition, the same sites suspended bets on Peter Capaldi replacing Matt Smith as the Doctor, as well. Even Whittaker wants West in the role: the current Doctor said so on an episode of BBC Radio 1 (opens in new tab), to which Davies replied with “noted.” West would be a great addition to the legacy of the Doctor, adding both youth and diversity along with some impressive acting skills.  

6. T’Nia Miller 

The Haunting of Bly Manor

(Image credit: Netflix)

If you’ve seen The Haunting of Bly Manor you know the power of T’Nia Miller. Miller absolutely broke hearts in her portrayal of a doomed manor manager in the Mike Flanagan Netflix series, so we know she has the ability to keep us thoroughly engaged. She’d also keep up the hilarious little tradition of Doctor Who side characters ending up in starring roles alongside Capaldi and Karen Gillan – she plays an unnamed guard in a 2015 Capaldi-led episode called ‘Hell Bent.’ Miller expressed interest in the role in an interview with Screen Ra (opens in new tab)nt, saying she would “give [him] a call” as playing the Doctor would be “fun”. We’d have to agree, as she would be a great addition to the legacy of the Doctor. 

7. Matt Berry

What We Do in the Shadows

(Image credit: FX)

This one would be hilarious. Matt Berry, best known for his role as Laszlo in FX’s What We Do in the Shadows and in classic British comedy shows like Toast of London, would make for an excellent Doctor. If Davies wants to lean into comedy, Berry is the man to do it, and his iconic voice would make for some seriously memorable monologues. And as a matter of fact, Berry is already tied to Doctor Who: he covered the theme song on his 2018 album Television Themes (opens in new tab). Imagine a groovy, ’70s rocker version of the Doctor? I’d watch it… 

8. Millie Bobby Brown

Stranger Things

(Image credit: Netflix)

Thanks to Stranger Things, we know Millie Bobby Brown can play brooding and powerful, and thanks to Enola Holmes, we know she can play whip-smart and witty. That’s the four main pillars of the Doctor right there. At 18 years old, Brown would be the youngest version of the Doctor to date, but it would be an interesting new take on the character – what happens when a 900-year-old alien wakes up in the body of a teenage girl? Brown hasn’t spoken about Doctor Who at all, but if Stranger Things season 4  is done filming, she might have the time… right? 

9. Rahul Kohli

Midnight Mass

(Image credit: Netflix)

Rahul Kohli would be a perfect fit for the role of Doctor. Yes, he told everyone to stop tweeting at him about Doctor Who, as he’s “already played the best TV doctor” as Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti in the CW’s IZombie, but we can dream. Kohli has shown an ability to be charming and warm while also shattering hearts in his work with Mike Flanagan in both The Haunting of Bly Manor and Midnight Mass, so we know he has the range needed to play the Doctor. That he’s a vocal advocate for human rights on social media and an unabashed nerd further supports our argument.

10. Omari Douglas

It's A Sin

(Image credit: BBC)

Omari Douglas is another It’s a Sin star who would make for a perfect Doctor. Douglas told iNews (opens in new tab) the rumors about him stepping into the role are “an honor” and Davies hasn’t confirmed nor denied it. “He’s just got everything you need in a leading actor,” Davies said. “He’s fearless and limitless. And stays great fun, even when the subject matter is tough.” Alexander has backed him as the Doctor (opens in new tab), stating that the Doctor is “quite queer” and it would “make sense for a queer actor to take the role.” In that same conversation, Alexander removed himself from consideration, but we’ll keep that above entry up there. 

For more Doctor Who goodness, check out the best Doctor Who episodes written by Russell T. Davies.

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