The legacy of Doctor Who dates back decades upon decades, as the most storied sci-fi series in television history. The character is a British icon, as traditional as tea, the queen, and double-decker buses. In turn, the actor who portrays the Doctor takes on a huge responsibility: A poor representation is more than a small disappointment. Rather, it’s a national catastrophe. The show’s growing global audience has served only to raise the stakes even higher, making the selection process for each Doctor a rigorous, carefully constructed affair.
Traditionally, the last of the Time Lords has always been a male. While companions have been a diverse collection of genders and ethnicity, the Doctor’s gender has remained constant throughout the show’s half-century run. Statements from author and comedian A.L. Kennedy though have led us to wonder: What if the Doctor was a woman?
Kennedy herself doesn’t entertain the question, citing the Doctor’s lack of “girl-type eccentricity.” We’re of the mind though that with the right actor, it could work beautifully, and departing showrunner Steven Moffat at one point shared our curiosity, stating that the next Doctor “might be female” in an interview with SFX.
And, as reported by the Mirror, the BBC has announced that Peter Capaldi will be leaving his role as the 12th Doctor after the 2017 season, leaving the door open for a female Time Lord. Here are 10 actresses who we think should be on the BBC’s shortlist.
1. Hayley Atwell
This whole discussion first gained steam on the back of Agent Carter star Hayley Atwell taking questions on Twitter. One fan asked her if she’d like to appear on Doctor Who in some capacity. Her response pretty much says it all.
@ohmyjlc I’d like to BE Doctor Who
— Hayley Atwell (@HayleyAtwell) August 14, 2015
We see no reason why Atwell shouldn’t be, already showing the world her creative range; she’s already appeared in everything from Marvel’s Cinematic Universe to the cerebral Black Mirror on BBC. This range makes her eminently qualified to play a character that requires a unique touch for each iteration.