People have always speculated as to who the new Doctor Who will be – even when they aren’t leaving! Here are five of the craziest rumours that have emerged over the years.
1) Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier is regarded as one of the greatest actors of his generation, and was in his 70s when Tom Baker announced his departure from the programme in 1980. So why did people think he was going to be the new Doctor Who?
For years, nobody quite knew where these rumours came from, but according to Doctor Who actor Matthew Waterhouse (who played companion Adric) the mutterings began when he was cornered by an avid fan, who was badgering him for spoilerific details. When asked about Tom Baker’s replacement, Waterhouse apparently plucked one of the most random names he could think of, believing that nobody would take it seriously. But the rumour stuck, and soon many people came to believe that Olivier would, indeed, be given the keys to the TARDIS.
And let’s face it, a version of ‘Earthshock’ with Laurence Olivier as the Fifth Doctor would be truly exxxxxcellent.
2) Michael Jackson
The thought of Michael Jackson as the new Doctor Who may seem even more unlikely than Laurence Olivier. But unusually, this was a rumour that actually carried some weight.
Apparently, during the height of Doctor Who‘s popularity in the 1980s, the movie company Paramount expressed an interest in producing its own Doctor Who film. Moreover, they had their eyes fixed on the King of Pop himself, who had recently enjoyed success in the movie Moonwalker. (And actually, if you look at the poster, it certainly channels some of the Sixth Doctor’s title sequence energy…)
It’s unclear what became of these plans – well, apart from the fact that they never came to fruition. Who knows if Michael Jackson had any interest in becoming the new Doctor Who, or indeed if he had ever heard of the programme.
In any case, it would probably have been more of a thriller than a sci-fi movie…
3) John Simm
Despite David Tennant being firmly established as the Doctor in 2008, people were wildly speculating as to when he would leave, and who would replace him. And these conversations weren’t helped by the surprise regeneration that occurred at the end of ‘The Stolen Earth,’ after the Tenth Doctor was blasted by a Dalek.
Inevitably, people were desperate to know who he was going to change into. Were we about to get a new Doctor Who, even if it was only temporary? It certainly looked that way, and one of the more persistent rumours was that the Doctor and the Master (played by John Simm) were going to do a ‘body swap,’ meaning that David Tennant would become the Doctor’s arch enemy, and John Simm would effectively become the new Doctor Who.
Obviously this didn’t happen in the end, but it’s an interesting idea. How would you feel about the Doctor doing a body swap with one of his deadliest enemies?
4) Phoebe Waller-Bridge
After Peter Capaldi announced that he was leaving Doctor Who, the press had a field day speculating as to who his replacement would be. And even in these pre-Jodie Whittaker days, it wasn’t unusual for female names to be thrown into the ring (the likes of Dawn French, Judi Dench and Helen Mirren had all been touted in the past.)
There is often a degree of fun that comes with this speculation, but sometimes certain names catch on and actors find themselves pressured into commenting on the matter. This would certainly true for the actor and writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who found herself at the centre of something of a Twitterstorm when fans and journalists became convinced that she would soon be the new Doctor Who.
Eventually, Waller-Bridge was forced to pour water on these rumours herself, but they continued to persist. That is, until Jodie Whittaker was announced as the Thirteenth Doctor just a few weeks later…
5) Kris Marshall
Poor Kris Marshall. Prior to the Phoebe Waller-Bridge rumours, his name was at the top of many people’s new Doctor Who lists, with many popular British newspapers printing pictures of him standing in front of the TARDIS, outing him as the latest Time Lord “because sources.”
Unfortunately, these rumours weren’t helped by the fact that he had recently left the popular TV show Death in Paradise, and for many people this was too much of a coincidence. Moreover, Marshall remained fairly tight-lipped on the matter, and it was a rumour that refused to die. Indeed, it even reared its head again (albeit briefly) when some newspapers started reported that Jodie Whittaker would be leaving the series.
And as with any rumours about who the new Doctor Who will be, it is impossible to know where they came from. They do say that there is no smoke without fire – but at the same time, journalists often pick random names just to get clicks.
And so, with that in mind…
Sooty is the new Doctor Who. You heard it here first.
What’s the best ‘new Doctor Who’ rumour that you’ve heard? And who would you like to play the Fourteenth Doctor, whenever that might be? Let me know in the comments below.
Jodie Whittaker scarf – order now from the Lovarzi shop!