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12 Actresses For the 12th Doctor

With news that Matt Smith is to leave the role of Doctor Who (read all about it HERE),
many people are wondering who should play Doctor number “12”. So here
are my 12 suggestions for The “Twelfth” Doctor – based on likelihood of
playing the role and availability. Let the insanity begin! (Feel free to
leave your thoughts in the comments section below.)


Lovely Lucy displayed a deft gift for comedy on Series One of the much unseen Vexed from BBC Two (brilliant btw, do check it out). Her awkward gait and tittersome physicality would make for a delicious Time Lady (and not un-Matt Smith-like). Lucy has been doing a lot of big Hollywood comedies of late (Dinner For Schmucks, Bad Teacher for example) but The Doctor could be the role perfect for her abilities and make a name for herself.


Without seeming like a boring old misogynist, Lara did make quite the splash when she nakeded it up beside Benny Thundersnatch in that slightly~more~popular~than~Doctor Who television show, Sherlock. She would make quite a mean and nasty Doctor so one wonders if they ever decide to fem The Master up, then Pulver would be even better for that role. (Note to self: do an “Actresses Who Should Be The Master” list.)



She’s already starred in Doctor Who, though I’m sure you already knew that (Russell T Davies’ brilliant 2007 episode, Gridlock), but that should not be a barrier to Lenora to becoming the new Doctor. For some years the actress delighted fans in BBC Three’s Being Human and she’ll undoubtedly be searching for that next big role to launch her into stardom.


Like Leonora, Ingrid has already starred in an episode of Doctor Who. Which one you ask? Well, one that hasn’t aired yet – the 50th Anniversary Special (pictured above on set, behind~the~scenes). But I’m sure we can get round that (I seem to remember Romana choosing a recent guest cast member’s appearance as her own during a regeneration). Most people will know her from the fantastic BBC Two sketch show Watson & Oliver (she’s Oliver), where there’s already been a few Doctor Who references, so one suspects Ingrid is fan. Would be nice to have one of those at the helm of the TARDIS again!


Another slightly predictable Sherlock choice here but I’m sure you’ll forgive me. Louise played the loveable but unloved (by whats~his~face anyway) Molly Hooper and created quite the fandom of her own. Her humble and meek-like qualities in the role could transfer neatly for a much more low-key Doctor and, as an excellent writer, Brealey could even shake things up on the story front with a women behind the words.


For me, it was a great shame when Rita was killed off in the 2011 episode, The God Complex, as she was such a good character and would have been a superb companion; her instant chemistry with Matt Smith was a joy to watch. Amara would be a very classy choice indeed.


Older readers may remember Yasmin starred in a little show called The Sarah Jane Adventures as one of the main cast back in its first series. There she played plucky Sarah Jane Smith wannabe Maria Jackson but more recently Yasmin has been thoroughly impressing in works like Submarine (directed by another possible Twelfth Doctor candidate, Richard Ayoade) and BBC Three’s series, Pramface. The youngest contender here, but that certainly shouldn’t count against her.


I mean, she’s like the fem-William Hartnell, isn’t she? Tilda possesses an utterly unique look that is so alien and so otherly, it’s a wonder she isn’t actual a Time Lady in real life. The OSCAR winning actress (for Michael Clayton) is probably a bit too “movie” for Doctor Who but Tilda strikes me as the kind of person who does what they please – perhaps SteeMo could use his Scottish charm (not a euphemism) to persuade her into the TARDIS…


Sophie, of course, has already popped up on Doctor Who a few times already (as Liz Ten in The Beast Below and The Pandorica Opens and alongside Richard E Grant in the animated Scream of the Shalka) and her career is one that certainly glitters (having being OSCAR nominated for Hotel Rwanda and BAFTA nominated for her portrayal of Winnie Mandela). Sophie will soon be seen alongside former Who~er David Tennant in The Escape Artist on the BBC but let’s hope the BEEB ask her to stay on the small screen for some space and time travel hi-jinx.


Ah, national treasure Olly Colly. Everyone lurves a bit of Colman at the moment. For years Olivia laughed it up the screen in shows like Peep Show, Look Around You and Green Wing but now, after devastating roles in Tyrannosaur and the mind-blowingly good Broadchurch (packed full of Who alumni), she really is the choice du jour (not to mention the fact she’s already been in Doctor Who, Matt Smith’s debut The Eleventh Hour). Her range is fantastic, and she’d have no trouble in piloting the TARDIS, falling in love with her companion and crying at the death of any aliens she vanquished. There would be a lot of crying.


A personal favourite this one. Andrea’s career has been fascinating since her scintillating small screen series Party Animals back in 2007 (also starring Matt Smith, remember him?), blazing a trail in works like The Devil’s Whore (with John Simm), blockbusting it on Oblivion and Welcome to the Punch and she even performed the task of making Margaret Thatcher seem beautiful and sympathetic in the brilliant BBC Four drama, The Long Walk to Finchley. Andrea’s also got a great light touch, as seen in the fun Magicians, which is a massive plus for the role of The Doctor. For me, the actress has a certain something, a certain unknowable but hugely engaging and fascinating something; a very Doctor-y quality. Almost the top of the pile…

But before we get to the Number One position, here are some of the amazing ladies who very nearly made my top twelve, but just missed out: Olivia Hallinan, Gillian Anderson, Catherine Tate, Romola Garai, Sharon Horgan, Suranne Jones, Lesley Sharp, Keeley Hawes, Neve McIntosh, Daisy Haggard, Eve Myles, Jessica Hynes and Sue Perkins. So here’s the tippity of the toppity…


Quirky. Kooky. And most definitely quite amazing. Helena is the perfect choice for The Doctor, hands down. Despite being a bona fide, and hugely successful, movie star (Fight Club, Les Misérables, The King’s Speech and the Harry Potter films for just a short example of her stunning CV), Helena likes to TV it up regularly, and specifically for the BBC – The Gruffalo short films, BBC Four’s Enid and the upcoming docudrama Burton & Taylor. It seems that no matter the medium, Helena likes to take on work she likes, and what better way to show off your skills, to fully display your talents than the role of everyone’s favourite Gallifreyan, The Doctor.

And while she’s filming, Helena could get her hubby, who is a fan, along for some directing!

12 Actors for the 12th Doctor


  1. *Sigh. Enough with the whole female Doctor crap. Seriously. Also, no offense to my gender, but the Doctor is male, and that's the way we all like it.

  2. Aww, come off it Dora, if genderfluidity is good enough for the Corsair it's good enough for the Doctor!

    Anyway, fine list, though I'm against HBC on general principle. Why not Evanna Lynch if you want a Potter alumna? She's got the "weird" part of the Doctor down pat!

  3. The Doctor has always been a guy and should always be a guy. That would be so retarted if the Doctor regenerated into a woman. I don't know about you all, but I would discontinue watching Doctor Who if that happened.

  4. They won't cast a woman, but if they were to, the only two that I think fit the bill would be Suranne Jones (which would allow the gender-swap to have some plot relevance if he merges with the TARDIS or something) and Rachael Stirling (who could easily be made to look different than she did in Crimson Horror).

  5. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. Female doctor; absolutely no way, not ever. It would ruin the series. I would stop watching it if it happened. Series seven was already rubbish,I guess they might think that throwing in a female Doctor might help change it up, but if that's the only way they can think of to make it happen then then it's time to hand over the writing to someone else. It would have to take a perfect actress, a perfect companion, impeccable actresses/actors for the roles and EPIC plot and character development to make it work at all and I simply don't see that happening. Just .. please …no.

  6. You know what's "retarted," Anna? Not knowing how to spell retarded. Also, using it in the first place. Not to mention being so close-minded that you can't imagine a female Doctor.

  7. The Doctor as a female *would* have been a great, brilliant move… in 2010!

    The chance to do a female doctor has gone though.

    In 2013, its a cliche move- swapping genders or races isnt done to serve the characters or to better a show, its done to play to a certain crowd- who mostly would watch the show anyway- and if there's anything Moffat won't do its play into an obvious cliche like casting a woman when its the hip thing to do.

    Also, remember "elementary" the Sherlock ripoff. You think Moffat is going to do something, anything, that could be percieved as copying his imitators? You're crazy.

    It would be great thing to do- but I think we're going to have to wait until Moffat's gone.

  8. Oh please, a Female Doctor has already been explored…"Curse of the Fatal Death" anyone…and I think Joanna Lumley did spot on impression of a confused regenerated "Doctor" (never mind the "Master" joke at the end)…

    There's always been a male Captain (up until Voyager) in the lead of many Star Trek serials…but Kate Mulgrew threw out the mold with her patented "Janeway Indestructable Bun"…

    I think it would be interesting!

  9. I have to be honest, I don't think it should be a female. My husband and I go back and forth on this conversation. I say that the Doctor was and always has been a male and should continue to be that way. River was born a girl and always regenerated to a girl/woman. I think that's just the way it has to be for Time Lords.

  10. Do we get female Daleks too?

    Actually this is a great list: any of the above would make an interesting Doctor. However this does mean abandoning the trend of the Doctor becoming younger every regeneration. so really the 12th Doctor should be played by a 7 year old.

  11. I would love to see Lenora Crichlow in the role, personally, but these are all some great choices. Gillian Anderson is an unlikely candidate but she has the nerd-cred to pull off such a controversial change to the series, and would arguably draw in more US viewers which is something the series is actively courting.

    I think though, practically speaking, if the BBC is to make a female Doctor work without the show losing too many fans, that she will have to be a young looker to keep the straight guys who watch it for the pretty girls happy, and that she will probably have to take on pretty young male companions to keep the straight female fans happy. I'm sure most fans aren't that shallow that they would give up on the show just because the Doctor changes gender. If you can't handle change, why are you even watching this show? And if you are made uncomfortable by the idea of the Doctor changing gender and are claiming that it would 'ruin' the show, I would suggest that that says more about your notions of gender than it does about anything to do with the actual character.

    I personally would love to have a female Doctor, think of all the possibilities for dramatic tension, as she travels through time being dismissed and disregarded by men, only to prove them wrong! How awesome would it be to have the Daleks or the Sontarans fail to recognise her, would they even be able to get their heads around the idea of gender-change? If the Doctor needs to disappear from view again, because he's got 'too big' (famous), then maybe this is the perfect way to accomplish that. But then again, maybe now is not the right time, because I'm not sure that Steven Moffat can do justice to a female lead.

    And as for River Song's opinion on the matter, well, now that she's dead (again) I don't think it matters much, but regardless, she is allegedly bisexual so I don't think she'd object in the least.

  12. NO… NONE of these work.

    A female Doctor is fine – but not one of these 12…gag. And I am rating them "gag-erific" NOT because of talent or looks, but as potential Doctors.

    IF we go that Route, bring back "The Doctor-Donna" or even Jenny (Peter Davidson's daughter, not Victorian Jenny).

    OR as Clara has already passed through the Doctor's timeline, Jenna Louise Coleman would be awesome.

    Leaving now. I am too old for this blog. (Let there be great rejoicing!)

  13. If the BBC go the politically correct route and cast a woman to play the Doctor, I'm done. 11 incarnations and he's been a young to middle-aged eccentric British male every time (apart from Hartnell, who played him as old, of course). That's who I expect and want to watch as the lead character of Doctor Who. Change that, and at least I'll have my DVDs of old episodes to watch.

  14. I'm of the opinion that Gallifreyans have a sex. As was pointed out in an earlier comment, the Doctor regenerates into a male Gallifreyan, River Song regenerates into a female Gallifreyan/Human. I'd imagine it is possible, but highly improbable, for a sex-change regeneration to occur.
    So, sure the PTB could choose to cast a female Doctor, but it shouldn't be treated like a normal everyday thing if they go that route.
    The 11th Doctor seemed a bit surprised when he momentarily thought he had regenerated into a girl.

  15. The Doctor cannot be a girl! He's always been a man and shall always stay a man! He has too or else every girl ever in love with the Doctor shall stop loving the show as much!!! He's a public ICON!

  16. No.no.no…it's almost as bad as having an american doctor…..the doctor, has been, is, and always should be played by an English male actor. Anyway how confusing for the doctors wife, one day married to a man, the next day a woman….most confusing!!

  17. 1.(I seem to remember Romana choosing a recent guest cast member's appearance as her own during a regeneration) – Now I'm confused.

    2. Olly Colly. Thanks. I knew I'd seen her somewhere before but couldn't remember where!

    3. Someone on one of the DS articles suggested Marsha Thomason as she's both female *and black! 😉

  18. See this is why I don't like the Doctor as a woman. You guys are looking at it as if The Doctor HAS to be a woman, or non-white, in order to be progressive and modern. I look at it as pandering, which to me is MORE insulting than doing another white male Doctor series. I would rather decisions be thought of from a story-based view, rather than a financial or cultural one.

    It's the same dumb sexist move- just giving preferential treatment to the woman vs. the man in this case. And it just reeks of sensationalist ratings chasing.

    I can't see Moffat copying "Elementary", I can't see a legitimately smart or talented actress wanting a part where she'll be judged solely for her gender, and I can't see an actor of color with self respect who would take the job knowing everyone won't be even looking at his acting- rather his color (would you rather be "the Twelfth Doctor" or "The Black Doctor" easy question.)

    And the examples someone mentioned before of "Fatal Death" or "Voyager" -please. Fatal Death is a bad joke- more so now than then- no one wants that as a full series.
    Voyager was a bad, bad TV show, and Janeway does a bad Catherine Hepburn impression the whole series. Just bringing those two up in this conversation is insulting to DW fans, Women, and Sci-Fi in general.

    No matter what anyone did, if they did this, it will always look like Who is changing gender/race just to appease one group, and the actor involved would always be judged based on their sex/appearance rather than their skills in the role (the story would be their race/gender, not their talent) and not for the *right* reasons.

  19. Of all the objections to casting a female Doctor here, Yuri's is at least the best stated, rather than just another 'No, no, NO!!' tantrum. And he does have a point – a non-white and/or female Doctor probably WOULD get called 'The Black One' or 'The Woman One'… and that is unfortunate. But to my mind, that's exactly why it needs to happen – the comments in this thread and others that I've read on the subject prove that racism and sexism are still an issue in this fandom, and in society at large. And as for such a casting move being 'pandering' and PC – I find that those sorts of terms tend to be thrown around where people are dismissive of the struggles that marginalized groups face, which again says to me that this is a conversation that really needs to be had in Doctor Who fandom. I think people people are terrified that a female Doctor would end up being a clone of River Song, but she wouldn't have to be (again, Steven Moffat might not be the best person to write a female Doctor). But ultimately, I think that the very existence of angry 'I'll stop watching!!!' comments like those seen here will be enough to ensure that it doesn't happen – Doctor Who is the BBC's most commercial property and so they're going to play it safe and keep the unfortunate implications of having a white male as being the greatest power in the universe firmly entrenched in the show.

  20. Sorry to keep posting here, but I've just thought of another few points I'd like to make:

    * I think people are scared that a controversial casting choice like this would end up getting the show cancelled again, like what happened with Colin Baker back in the day. And that's a valid concern. But we have something now that fans didn't have back then – the Internet. If casting a female Doctor doesn't work out, we have better access to the writers of the show and the BBC's head honchos than we've ever had, and can express our disappointment more clearly and emphatically than ever before. That, and the inherent flexibility of the show's format in having a lead actor who can be replaced easily, makes this a far less risky prospect. Additionally, the mid-80s years were already having difficulties with declining viewing figures and increasingly poor quality in both writing and production, whereas that's arguably not the same case here at all – the show's going strong at the moment.

    *The controversy over this issue could in fact draw MORE viewers, enough of a fuss about it might actually make more people take a look. Combine that with getting in more female writers and directors (and no, that doesn't mean the show has to become exclusively or even increasingly about soap-y romance stuff – girls have more interests than just boys and dating) and it might just be a recipe for success.

    *In-story, the change to a female Doctor would be a magnificent curve-ball – plenty of fans are sick of the companions being in love with the Doctor, what if Clara keeps falling for him, only for him to become a woman? That would be a really interesting way out of it, and would make her story far more interesting than it might otherwise be, it currently being something of a re-hash of Rose's.

    I seriously cannot understand why people aren't excited about the prospect of a female Doctor. And she wouldn't be 'the female Doctor', she would simply be 'the Twelfth Doctor'. And she's be amazing 🙂

  21. NO, NO, NO. A hundred times NO.

    I am all about equality and fairness and what not, but come on!

    Until NuWho came to our screens in 2005, there was nothing on screen during the 1963-1989 run that suggested that the Time Lords were gender benders when it came to regeneration.

    I find myself on shakier ground when it comes to skin tone (Melody Pond's onscreen regeneration in Let's Kill Hitler demonstrates the folly of such an argument), but I am still okay with actors of light complexion playing the complex sole Time Lord.

    What exactly is up with the rush to make the Doctor something that he wasn't before the onset of political correctness?

    The BBC has been very, very good at promoting diversity in its programming, and casting people glamorous and otherwise in all manner of roles.

    Unless the narrative of the STORY is served properly, why do it at all?

    If the audience wants or needs to have a Time Lord of feminine form, grab Jenny (The Doctor's Daughter) and give her a spinoff series along side that of Doctor Who. When required, regenerate her into one of the actresses suggested by the Blogtor himself, or from a list of any talented British actresses working within the UK.

    Heck, I would even be open to Marina Sirtis having a go as a Lady Time Lord! Make it so!!! 😉

    But for the love of Gallifrey, leave the palate for the Doctor solely reserved for British white guys. Please.

    Lest you think me as unfeeling and closed-minded bloke, for what its worth I am a black dude from the US who was born two weeks after the show premiered in 1963. Jon Pertwee was MY first Doctor, and I was good with all of actors who took the role since I began watching.

    My self-esteem does not depend on the Doctor looking like me or my daughters. Let the most capable actor assume the role within the framework and logic of the series, and all will be well.

    Just saying. My two cents. Your mileage may vary.

  22. What's funny is that of all of the comments in this thread which are vehemently against a female Doctor, not a single one provides any sort of reasoning, other than "it's just wrong". You're watching a show about an alien who flies around time and space in a blue box and occasionally changes his entire body into a completely random new configuration of cells, and your suspension of disbelief ends in him somehow coming out as the opposite sex. Unbelievable. If you'd stop watching the show if the Doctor's sex/gender changed, go right on ahead; you're not the type of fans that the show needs to begin with.

  23. Nope. Stay with a male. I'm sure they could have fun with a female Doctor, I'm sure plenty of woman could do the role justice, but no. Besides can you imagine the complaints…."Doctor can you drive the Tardis properly?" "well I have an excuse now, I'm a woman!"

  24. Giovanni makes the same point we're getting over and over again in opposition to the prospect (It's never happened before), albeit with the added detail that all of the OTHER Time Lords we've seen in multiple incarnations have stayed the same sex too, so it must be a 'rule'.

    (Well written and without any hysterics, too, so kudos on that. Also, your gay marriage post was very funny, I lol'd).

    But why (and I'm talking to all opponents of the matter here, including Brian Wicks) must the change have precedent, or be foreshadowed? It's the main objection, it seems, far more so than the objections built on sexism (although sometimes going hand in hand with those). The franchise is BUILT on surprise and change – it wouldn't be the legend it is without that crucial ingredient.

    Before the Cybermen first strolled onto our screens, there was no precedent for them, or for the Time Lords themselves, or the Silurians, Sontarans, Sea Devils, Silence, Weeping Angels, robot dogs or any other part of the mythology we've come to know and love. If the show only ever did what it's done before, it would be boring… no, scratch that, it would have ended in the sixties sometime. That's some not-very-Doctor-y thinking you're exhibiting there.

    “The universe is big, its vast and complicated, and ridiculous. And sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles.”

    And the objection that each regeneration must serve the STORY, and that the Doctor becoming a woman WOULDN'T, is just patently absurd. This story doesn't HAVE an endpoint, EVERYTHING is a tangent in it. That's the genius of the franchise – it never has to end, moments of brilliance can be enshrined forever in our collective memory, inscribed on our hearts, while colossal mistakes can fade away and become merely amusing bits of obscure trivia. The flip-side of the coin is that there's a real risk of the show repeating itself and getting boring – I'll welcome (almost) anything that stops that from happening.

    And for those arguing that the Doctor NEEDS to remain a white male, to be an unchanging icon like the TARDIS or to show the 'good side' of colonialism (yes, really, some people are saying that), all I can ask is 'Are you even watching the same show as me?' He's been a Scot and a Northerner, upheld the Establishment and outright opposed it, he's been a bohemian, a dandy and a clown. He's CHANGES. He's positively BRIMMING with contradictions – how exactly is being a woman for a while a bridge too far?

  25. I'd prefer it NOT be a women but would surely give it a chance. How come Alice Morgan is not brought up in these conversations. She was brilliant in Luther.


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