It’s time to pick the 13th Doctor. Peter Capaldi’s time on Doctor Who is quickly coming to a close, which means the hunt for his replacement is on. With rumors of Kris Marshall and Tom Rosenthal as serious candidates, it looked like there were no plans to make any big changes at Doctor Who. How annoyingly safe. But then, Nerdist added an actual female frontrunner to the speculation: Michaela Coel. Is this what hope looks like? Just in case the grossly male-dominated staff needs some options for a female 13th Doctor, we’ve got some suggestions. Let’s stop pretending that a character who has mastered space-time travel can’t master a change of gender, ok?
Shana’s 13th Doctor pick: Gillian Anderson.
Full disclosure: Personally, I think that Gillian Anderson can do no wrong, regardless of the role.
With that being said, though, Anderson would be the perfect 13th Doctor. No, really. Hear a nastily biased worshipper at the altar of Media out, here.
If she is to follow in her predecessor’s’ footsteps, the 13th Doctor has to be capable of handling pretty much every situation imaginable. And then some. As dire and dramatic as some of those situations may get, Doctor Who also happens to hit on really light, playful moments from time to time, too. Enter Gillian Anderson. She’s beyond proven in the drama category, having won awards for everything from her portrayal of the probably immortal Part-Alien-Special-Agent-Slash-Medical-Doctor-Slash-Probable-Goddess Dana Scully on The X-Files to her Earth-shattering performance as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire.
But anyone who has followed Anderson — specifically some of her appearances at conventions — also knows that she’s hilarious. (No, really. We don’t call her #NoChillian for nothing.) And thanks to what sounds like it was some good-natured trolling from Bryan Fuller during her run on Hannibal? Gillian even has some good practice with the type of rambling the Doctor gets wrapped up in following a sudden spark of inspiration.
Bonus: The Lady Anderson doth already know how to spot a Dalek.
Rather than pick a new companion for Gillian Anderson’s fantasy 13th Doctor, I’m just going to go ahead and say I’d like to keep Pearl Mackie’s Bill Potts. She’s wonderful, and well…Let’s just say that, should Doctor Who wish to return to the whole, “companion falls in love with Doctor” trope, it would totally work.
Cammie’s 13th Doctor picks: Gina Torres/Sue Perkins.
Now before you dismiss me out of hand for being greedy and picking two, let me present my gracious flexibility on the matter. Either of these women could easily play the 13th Doctor, companion, or both…And slay at it. For the sake of this conversation, I’ll make a case for either of them as the Doctor, but if you’d like to discuss this further, come chat.
So, Gina Torres — an icon in the genre already, and an actress who could effortlessly bring an air of other-wordly authority and regality to the role of the alien Time Lord. There is something so innately goddess-like that Gina brings to any role she plays that goes beyond just the stage presence necessary for a central and iconic role like the Doctor. She commands attention easily on screen, she’s equipped to handle action scenes, and having the level of royalty she brings to any role infused with the character of the Doctor would easily usher in a new golden age of the show.
Despite casting a woman as the 13th Doctor being non-traditional, Torres easily brings a level of understood authority and experience to any role she plays, to the point where seeing her on screen as a powerful Time Lord would fundamentally make sense to viewers.
Amid all the dramatic world-saving themes of Doctor Who, there is a necessary level of comedy and whimsy to the Whovian universe, and few are more equipped to bring that to this role than Sue Perkins. Sue would certainly be an unconventional choice with her background in comedy and live work; but that’s exactly the sort of shake-up that would bring modernity to the show and highlight what’s made it so fun and entertaining all along.
Although Perkins is, from a sci-fi casting perspective, not a traditional frontrunner, she is in her own right a bit of a British icon from her work on another British cultural phenomenon, GBBO. From that perspective, it would be oddly natural to see her move into the role of 13th Doctor. There is something both young and fresh, while simultaneously iconic and proper, about Perkins’ presence on screen. And I have no doubt that she would more than do justice to the the Doctor.
Jenn from Just About Write’s 13th Doctor picks: Kelly Macdonald/Claire Foy.
Did I accidentally pick two women who have been in projects with past Doctors? Yes, yes I did. I love both of these women because they’re incredibly talented actresses who have the kind of range necessary to play the 13th Doctor.
I’ll start with Kelly Macdonald. I first fell in love with her in The Decoy Bride, a cheesy rom-com in which she starred opposite David Tennant. Macdonald has the kind of quick wit and comedic timing that is necessary for playing the Doctor. As much as this show is about consequences of time travel and really heavy subject matter, Doctor Who is also supposed to be just plain fun. Macdonald’s frantic energy in The Decoy Bride elevated the comedy and her earnestness as an actress (and commitment to her role) caused me to fall more in love with her and believe the story being told.
But apart from bringing the laughs, Macdonald is also able to tap into her characters on an emotional level. Even when she was the voice behind Merida, you still felt everything the character did and began to tear up when it seemed like all hope was lost. The Doctor is meant to be a leader who flits around time and space on adventures. But unless there is an emotional connection with the audience, the story is lost. Kelly Macdonald would be able to deliver on all levels in a role as the 13th Doctor and would bring some fresh, fun, female Scottish fire to the role as well.
And then there’s Claire Foy, who recently played opposite Matt Smith in Netflix’s The Crown.
I think what would make her such a great 13th Doctor is that she’s a beautiful actress whose strength lies in her ability to portray a strong female character with vulnerabilities. It’s easy to play a strong woman who dominates everyone and is confident in her strength, but Foy has a natural ability to balance those moments of quiet intensity with introspection and vulnerability. While Macdonald definitely has strengths in comedy, I think that Foy’s biggest strength would be in delivering those iconic Doctor monologues. Foy’s Doctor would be someone self-assured and independent, yet fiercely loyal and compassionate. It would be really interesting to see her tackle some of the big questions that Doctor Who asks, but I know she would absolutely knock it out of the park.
And last but never least, Lyra from Fangirlish’s 13th Doctor pick: Suranne Jones.
Let’s start off with some backstory here. Suranne Jones came to my life on a day where I was in need of distractions. I needed something gripping and all-consuming. That’s where Doctor Foster came in. I was hesitant about accepting Netflix’s suggestion that I should watch this BBC1 show because dramas about cheating husbands and small towns aren’t my thing.
I blame Suranne Jones for the epic binge watch that followed.
She took something simple and turned it on its head. She made me become invested in her journey, her welfare, and sold every single emotion with an ease I’ve never seen before. Imagine if she got her hands on Doctor Who as the first female Doctor? She would bring in a treasure trove of fans who already know about her brilliant acting and would keep those fans who are hesitant about something so revolutionary happening with the 13th Doctor.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who believes this. Her name has been thrown around with Tilda Swinton and Vicky McClure’s as possible versions of the Doctor. To top it off, she’s been on Doctor Who as the personified version of the TARDIS! Peter Capaldi played another character on Doctor Who before becoming the Doctor. Why can’t Suranne Jones? The support for a change with the 13th Doctor is there, and I’m hoping the BBC listens!
P.S. If you want to check out and be wowed by Suranne Jones, check out Scott & Bailey on ITV. She plays a brash, intelligent, and determined police officer. Completely different from Doctor Foster, yet still gripping!
So, those are just a few top choices for a female 13th Doctor. Here’s hoping if it’s not one of these ladies, it’s still a lady. Twelve men have had the chance to play the Doctor. It’s time for the ladies to show us how it’s done.
And as long as we’re talking about changing things up at Doctor Who, maybe we can get some more women in that new writing team of Chris Chibnall’s? If only.1 of 1