The person who plays the Doctor has to be many things. They have to bestride the narrow world like a colossus (or the narrow worlds, if you like); know how the sadness of being the last of one’s race sits in a face; give the impression of being deeply and heartbreakingly human without ever really being one of us at all; but also explode with the joy of life, of laughter and of never growing up.
Her Ladyship adds her voice to the casting question of the moment: who should be the 12th Doctor?
We know he’s a comic genius thanks to his work on The Big Bang Theory, and his popularity in that role is a big drawback (or advantage, depending on your philosophy); BUT if we consider the previous, preciously-scarce and utterly glorious forays of other comedians into drama (Steve Carell in Little Miss Sunshine; Martin Freeman in Sherlock or Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society) we come to the conclusion that a truly great actor can act anything brilliantly, even if it’s outside his chosen line of work. Conclusion: the divine Mr. Parsons would probably be as brilliant at drama as he is at comedy, particularly if we consider the huge amount of work that he does on characterisation, and the ability to do all of these things with equal brilliance is essential in the role of the Doctor.
A brilliant thespian at the top of his game, Lewis has a lot more to recommend him than the colour of his hair. Having spent loads of time delving into the darkest regions of the soul from his earliest (and exquisite) work in The Forsyte Saga, he’s also proved from his work in the much-underwatched and equally-underappreciated Life that he’s really good at portraying eccentricity following extended trauma, something that the Doctor knows plenty about in spite of his innate craziness. The combination of these two things would be absolutely deadly were he ever to be cast in this role.
The favourite of former showrunner Russell T. Davies, this is an exquisite and much underappreciated young actor who deserves an enormously big break: he can be adorable, heartbreaking and outrageously funny (Little Dorrit), as well as tragic, despondent and somewhat psychopathic (Sherlock).
There’s something ageless and magnetic about Emilia Fox that you can’t quite put your finger on. It’s a quality that’s impossible to teach to someone, and it’s characterised every Doctor since the First. On top of this, she’s an extremely psychological actress with flawless control and equilibrium, knowing when to fly off the handle, when to be calm, and how, qualities that are kind of useful when playing someone who’s 909.
Having spent years mastering both the light (3rd Rock from the Sun) and the darkness (Dexter) and drawing such an extraordinary line between them that you can hardly believe Dick Solomon and Arthur Mitchell are played by the same person, combining them would probably be a breeze and would make for one of the most alluring, impossibly magnetic Doctors ever cast.
Whenever one has anything unpleasant to say, one should always be quite candid, and Benedict has proved most unpleasant in stating quite candidly that he is not interested in this role at all. A pity, as his astounding versatility, distinctive looks and devastating charisma make him perfect for it.
A master of comedy and hearbreakingly good at drama on the rare occasions that he turns himself to acting the rough stuff; Fry is a tornado of schoolboy cheek, intelligence, hard experience and effortless charisma AND there’s six foot four of him.
A chameleon with a hundred faces, Serkis is an undisputed master of the beautiful things that human beings can do with face and voice; the implication of these qualities being that he could easily rival David Tennant in passion and intensity if he put his mind to it.
An actress of great emotional maturity with an interesting unearthly quality about her, her exquisite work on the otherwise-dreadful The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo shows a psychological readiness for portraying the Doctor’s loneliness and darkness; her ability to play a character like Lisbeth Salander at such a young age suggesting that playing the naughtier, more playful side of his personality might very well be child’s play for her.