The Next Doctor Who: Hugh Laurie, Rupert Grint, a First Female and 17 Other TVLine Reader Ideas

The Whovians have spoken, and Doctor Whos twelfth Time Lord — aka the exiting Matt Smith‘s successor — should be a onetime genius diagnostician, filmdom’s erstwhile Ron Weasley, one of TV’s Sherlock Holmeses or a feisty female.

Or, any of the TVLine readership’s other 20 most suggested regenerations.

RELATED | BBC Renews Doctor Who for Season 8

We sifted through more than 400 comments and culled the casting ideas mentioned most frequently, including the aforementioned Hugh Laurie, Rupert Grint (who’s six years younger than Smith), Star Trek‘s Scotty, Idris Elba and, yes, a handful of actors currently busy with other TV gigs — but hey, anything is possible, especially when your days are likely numbered as one of most wanted terrorist Nicholas Brody!

RELATED | Doctor Who: The Real Reason John Barrowman Won’t Appear in 50th Anniversary Special

Flip through this slideshow of your Top 20 Doctor Who recast ideas, then tell us who from this thinned herd you’d most like to see take over the TARDIS.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Becca Porter says:

    Colin Morgan!

    • Lizzie says:

      NO! No offense but we need the ginger it’s about time. Rupert would be so amazing but he’s to big.

      • Delirious says:

        I say “ginger + female”. Like, a Gillian Anderson, a Karen Gillian… A Shirley Manson…

        • Erin says:

          We had a ginger female, and her name was Donna Noble (aka The Doctor Donna). We’re all entitled to our opinions, but personally, I don’t want a female Doctor.

          • Callie says:

            I agree with you, but possibly for a different reason. I am devastated that Matt is leaving for many reasons, one of them being his undeniable heartbreaking chemistry with Jenna-Louise Coleman/Clara. They are almost to a place where they might be able to be together romantically (please, no hate for this anyone. You have your ships, I have mine.) and I think continuity is really important there. A young guy who can maintain the chemistry is exactly what Doctor Who needs.

          • Mags says:

            Callie, I think that Damien Molony from Being Human would fit your criteria. He’s young, very talented, and he and Jenna-Louise Coleman would look great together,

        • imjustme says:

          Bringing Karen Gillian in as the Doctor would be so amazing! That would be such an amazing spin off and addition to the show!

      • Cesar Moreno says:

        Ginger Doctor Who FTW!!!

        It would be awesome to see Hugh Laurie as Doctor Who though…Cumberbatch would also fit the Doctor a bit well…I’m open to the idea of a female doctor, Amy and Jaime being the best choices.

    • Larc says:

      I agree Colin Morgan would be perfect.

      • abc says:

        he already appeared on a David Tennant episode so not really an option

        • asniech says:

          It was a while ago, and he looked a bit different then, and other actors have shown up for different parts. I think he could do it and he’d be fantastic!

        • jericho says:

          Since when is “appearing on a previous episode” prevent someone from being cast later on as a primary character? Karen Gillan and Freema Agyeman both appeared in small roles on previous seasons before they were cast as companions.

          Although I would love to see someone besides Colin Morgan be the doctor. Richard Coyle would be a good choice imo. But if we are going to go big why not Chiwetel Ejiofor? Personally, I would love to see someone who is 1) British and 2) Not internationally famous. So please no to Freeman, Davenport, Pegg, or Elba. And a hell no to Laurie, Cumberbatch and, Grint.

          My question for whoever wrote this though is, “How in the hell did Amy Acker get on this list?” The quickest way to kill the franchise is to cast a non-brit.

          • abc says:

            appearing in different episodes can be an option for supporting characters or maybe even companions, but it often becomes part of the storyline like Gwen in Torchwood, for the Doctor it is different, that would mean he crossed his own timeline, which is a big no-no.

        • Grant says:

          sure it is, Colin Baker appeared in Doctor Who in a small part before he became the Doctor

        • Kelly says:

          Romana established that TIme Lords could choose to look like someone they had met when they regenerate. Merlin, Amy, Rory, they’re all options. Well, maybe not Rory…..

    • Missy says:

      Yes, yes Colin Morgan

    • mhord says:

      Yes! Colin Morgan. The guy has undeniable talent and would be able to convey the complexities of the Doctor in a compelling way.

    • Brendan says:

      I would love to see Colin Morgan or Amy Acker – and I would be okay with Nicholas Hoult too (just because I like him though, not really because he’s the perfect fit). I personally would love for the new Doctor’s companion to be the same sex and a potential love interest. They have had romanic feelings between male/female Doctor and Companions but this would be a first I think.

    • Anon says:


  2. Newo says:

    Simon Pegg tweeted this morning “After a barrage of tweets on the matter, allow me to clarify, I am not in the running for, nor do I have any desire to be the next Doctor.” so i guess count him out

  3. João Amaral says:

    please not another skinny white dude.

    • Eli says:

      Isn’t that all the British are? (kidding people!)

    • redrumrunnerxx says:

      It HAS to be a white “dude” – White people are the indigenous people of Britain, and Britain rightfully belongs to the white race. Since Doctor Who is a British show, the role should only be given to a white actor.

      • T FERRIS says:

        That comment is just an inappropriate comment for this forum. Yes it is a British show, meaning the role should be given to a British actor. But the premise of the show is the Doctor is from another planet and can regenerate so he can change sex, and color. Although, I do believe that the doctor should remain male becuse he was originally a male and this is a role for a male. Color should not make a difference based on the premise of the show,.

        • Aaron W says:

          So is it okay for an American character, like Jamie Summers (the Bionic Woman) to be played by a Brit, but an American can’t play on a British show? What about the Superman movie…nothing more iconic and American than Superman and he is being played by a British actor. Still mad about Robert Downy Jr playing Sherlock Holmes? Okay, I will concede that one. How about an Aussie? An Indian (non-Native American)? Canadian? Irish person (male or female)? Welsh? Where is the line, and more importantly why? Dr Who saves the world, (and many worlds) not just the British Islands.

  4. I would SO watch if Richard Coyle was Dr Who!

  5. Opal says:

    Eddie Murphy

  6. Andy says:

    Hugh Laurie would be the perfect choice.

    • Roughrider says:

      Georgia Moffett would be an excellent choice to start the next 50 years with a new idea of a female doctor and a nod to the past with a second generation actor in the role.
      She could certainly play a new character, not the ‘doctor’s daughter’ and lend some mystery as to if she is or isn’t the same character.

  7. TV Gord says:

    Hugh Laurie can do anything, and I think he’d be a great Doctor!

  8. Erin says:

    RICHARD AYOADE!!!!!!!!!! (Or Richard Coyle)

  9. Annie-Claude says:

    Hugh Laurie would be great! Benedict Cumberbatch and Anthony Head too, but Benedict already has trouble filming Sherlock between movies and Anthony already appeared on Doctor Who as another character so it would be a bit weird. I like Rupert Grint but I would really prefer Hugh Laurie.

  10. KD says:

    You can’t be the doctor if you have already appeared on the show, so Simon Pegg, Russell Tovey, and Anthony Head are out of the running.

  11. Sam says:

    I like that you basically just named all famous British actors, regardless of relevance or actually being able to do it…That being said I’d like to see a doctor of colour, but a ginger one would be fun as well ;)

  12. RobMF says:

    I still say if we’re picking people who are already on TV Andrew Lincoln would be pretty great.

  13. A Woman Doctor would be really great. If the spoilers are true, a woman perfectly fits the role. It a fresh new take and since this is a children’s programme in UK, it teaches kids and families that a woman can also do things a man can do.

    Or a POC would be great too. Richard Ayoade or Idris Elba anyone?

  14. AM says:

    Alonso can’t be the Doctor…

  15. Joan says:

    Hugh Laurie!

  16. Michelle says:

    Colin Morgan would be awesome

  17. Sami T says:

    BEN WHISHAW is my fave.

  18. Roughrider says:

    Damian Lewis,has just the right mixture of comic and dramatic chops.

  19. Shaun says:

    Whoever it is,they have to have alot of energy.

  20. Scott says:

    I’d much rather it be someone I’ve never heard of before, but as long as it’s anyone apart from Damien Lewis I won’t complain.

  21. Timmy Bauer says:

    Richard Ayoade would be perfect!

  22. D says:

    Hugh Laurie isn’t going to do it in a million years, and it’s probably out of his comfort zone. They can’t afford him anyway. Would love Ben Whishaw, but I reckon they’ll go for someone fairly unknown, who’ll actually want to stick around for more than one series.

    • Why Can a Brother Be the Doctor? says:

      Agreed. Hugh Laurie’s name was thrown in there as a red herring, I’m certain. I’m all for Idris.

    • Neil says:


      “out of his comfort zone”

      Do you even know who Hugh Laurie is? Don’t even talk to me. Go watch Jeeves and Wooster and then come back and apologize. Out of his comfort zone! PFT! the nerve. Hugh Laurie doesn’t even have a comfort zone, because that would imply that there is something he isn’t comfortable with.

      Also, the longest running scifi show in history can’t afford him? BS.

      By all accounts, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  23. Bender says:

    Why not have David Tennant return he can give the the current doctor some of his DNA when he regenerates he can turn back into 10

    • Ugh says:

      Why are some people so obsessed with David Tennant? Yes he was a great doctor but he CHOSE to leave. So please get over it and move on. Many Tennant fangirls are so annoying and most have never watched a single episode of classic Doctor Who. Anyways this is a horrible idea. I’m really hoping this was a joke to point out how ridiculous some Tennant fangirls can be.

  24. Lee says:

    Primarily a point of clarification: someone who has appeared in Dr. Who could also return to play the Doctor. This has already happened: Colin Baker appeared in the show long before taking on the role.
    On a separate note: I think Hugh Laurie would be a good choice.

  25. Cecily says:

    Most of the people they mention are too famous to step into such a grueling filming schedule. But we can dream. (Simon Pegg, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ben Winshaw (don’t I wish), Damian Lewis (don’t I wish again), etc.) I think new Doctors are usually folks who don’t already have a booming film/TV/stage career. But we’ll see….

  26. Truly Roxie says:

    It has to be someone younger. I wouldn’t mind Russell Tovey.

    • knd says:

      He’s already been on the show twice!

    • Ben33 says:

      It does not. Any younger and he’d be a foetus. Men cast as the Doctor have been 55, 46, 49, 40, 30, 41, 44, 37, 41, 34 and 27 – give or take a year either side.

      I don’t see why we have to be entertaining the idea of even younger (hello, Rupert Grint, who I otherwise enjoy!) just because Yanks have hopped on the fan bandwagon and have conniptions at the idea of putting anyone with wrinkles on tv.

      Yes, yes, prejudice and overreaction and assumption I know. But get off my damn lawn! Time to cast someone older again. Latest buzz in the UK bookies is Ben Daniels, who’s 49. I’m supporting him just because he’s old. (er).

      • CarbonDate says:

        I’m a Yank, and I agree. However, I’m a 35 year-old Yank. I do not like the idea of a “Benjamin Button” Doctor who keeps getting younger with each regeneration. What you’re seeing are the youngsters hopping on the bandwagon and trying to turn Doctor Who into Harry Potter. I’ve seriously seen the actor who played Harry Potter (I was never a fan) tossed around as a suggestion. Seriously, we don’t need a 23 year-old Doctor. I’d like to see the series return to its roots a bit and have the Doctor be an older man.

        Please, in all of our youth-obsessed culture, I’d like to see one show which values age and wisdom.

  27. Dan says:

    A lot of great ideas, but for some stupid reason the show takes 10 months to film so I would be very surprised that a known face would be cast. That being said, Hiddleston would be a lot of fun to watch

  28. Lo says:

    Why is Amy Acker on this list, isn’t she American? That sort of automatically disqualifies her, doesn’t it?

    • Lois says:

      As much as a love Amy Acker, I can’t see her as The Doctor. I also don’t think they will ever cast an American.

  29. JJ says:

    Ugh Please no young, pretty boys. That is just not what Dr. Who is all about.

    • znachki says:

      Thank you! My wish list is, 35-50 and male. It goes without saying, but I will anyway, UK citizen. No Americans, or pretty boys.

    • Nicola says:

      I agree. Not to young and pretty. He should be older and have some deapth. Rupert Grint would not make a good doctor. Benedict Cumberbatch is my fav from this list. I also don’t want a female doctor. It just wouldn’t work. We’d all look back and say “remember that season the doctor was a woman? Weird.” Just my opinion.

    • Ben says:

      I would actually love to see John Hurt, because I think not having a young, pretty boy, with an obvious bent of romance between Doctor and companion, would force the show to go in a different direction and potentially would be compelling in a completely different way.

      I think people are railroaded into a particular way of thinking about what the Doctor should be based on Moffatt’s doctors, but Hurt would in some ways harken back to earlier doctors. Plus he is a fantastic actor.

  30. RG says:

    Helena Bonham Carter or Joanna Lumley or Helen Mirren for a female doctor would be great.

  31. Ashley says:

    Hugh Laurie or Colin Morgan would be my top choices. Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch would be awesome, of course, but I don’t want either of them to have anything else on their plates that could take away from shooting “Sherlock”!

  32. csr says:

    Idiris Elba! Awesome idea!!

  33. Viv says:

    They should just bring back Doctor Donna.

  34. Dillon says:

    I’m not saying the new Dr. needs to be a woman, but it is kind of lame to lump all the female possibilities into the same slide.

    • Marion says:

      As it says in the slide, no individual woman got enough votes to rank in the top 20 but “generic woman” did, and the three in the slide are some of the women named as possibilities. Yeah, lumping the women together sucks, but would you prefer that they left all the women off the list because no individual woman got enough votes?

      • Dillon says:

        No, I wouldn’t prefer it. Either I missed the asterisk on that slide, or it wasn’t originally there. My bad.

      • Ben33 says:

        I saw quite a few people in t’other thread voting for Helen Mirren. She certainly got more votes than any other women suggested, including those up there. Not that we’d ever be that lucky, but as long as we’re dreaming…

  35. Kate Garner says:

    Hugh Laurie, Simon Pegg, Benedict Cumberbatch and Rupert Grint – in that order. Although I know the first three may be impossible.

  36. AnaB says:

    How about Billy Boyd? Or James D’Arcy? Or Charlie Cox?
    They’re never gonna pick someone who’s hugely well known, like Laurie or Grint, you know that…

    • AnaB says:

      My pick would actually be Paul Bettany… the guys is a superb actor, who can do both serious and funny/dorky incredibly well. He just hasn’t been in that many great things lately and he’s in some serious need of a break again…

      Not to mention, he could totally pull off being ginger! =p

      • Kate'shomesick says:

        Paul Bettany indeed is a superb actor BUT I frankly think his talents would be wasted on the show. Don’t get me wrong. I like Doctor Who but it doesn’t require THAT much range acting-wise and I’m not sure he would be up for something as limiting (to other work…and his time…he has kids…and freedom to move around-he’s been traveling with his wife and the kids wherever one or the other partner in the marriage has been working)…

    • Snsetblaze says:

      Billy Boyd. Interesting idea.

    • AL says:

      James D’Arcy … Hmmm.

    • Neil says:

      Why not pick someone who’s “hugely well known” as you said? I think it would be a smart move. Doctor Who is huge right now, but it’s at a precipice and an actor like Hugh Laurie could be the the catapult to take Doctor Who to the next level.

  37. Mark says:

    Richard Madden’s calendar just opened up. He’s a little young for the part, but he would be great with Clara.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      She was one of my first thoughts when they said female but she’s now on Defiance.

    • yup says:


      I hadn’t thought about it until I saw this post but Amy Acker would be pretty amazing too.

  38. Jessica says:

    david hewlett!

  39. Miriam says:

    Thanks for treating all of the female actresses as one possibility! Women, they’re all basically the same, amirite?

    • mia says:

      Lol well said. They could have at least given two women their own slides.

    • MiaRose says:

      But, but, but … It can’t be a women. That would be sooooo WEIRD. Imagine women doing the same stuff men do, it’s unheard of.

  40. carol says:

    Why must The Doctor be British?

  41. Bob says:

    It’s not going to be anyone well known, so you can throw out Laurie, Cumberbatch and Grint. Moffat will pick someone who will most likely go against common wisdom. We may finally get a female Doctor, but she won’t be a ginger (too soon after Amy Pond).

  42. Shanzi says:

    Jaime Murray would be pretty awesome but hightly doubtful since Defiance got picked up for a second season. I would also love to see Colin Morgan, but I think I’ll always see him as Merlin.

  43. dude says:

    I’m not opposed to any of those suggestions but my favourites are Rupert Grint, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba and Benedict Cumberbatch. Although I’m very invested in Idris Elba being the next James Bond.

  44. adlib19 says:

    Oh boy, six more months of this.

    • Mags says:

      No, they should be announcing the new Doctor in a month or so. The show will be filming the Christmas episode and then go into filming the next series shortly, so they will have to cast the new Doctor soon.

  45. dmac says:

    Sorry, I just don’t think a women should play the Doctor and I am one. LOL It would throw off the dynamic and there are some things that should be left alone: no Americans, and no women. Just my opinion but it has worked for 50 years why not stick to it.

    • Becca Porter says:

      Agreed. (Also a woman.)

    • Tony says:

      Throw off what dynamic? A male doctor to the female companion?

      To this day, no one against a female Doctor has given a good reason as to why a woman shouldn’t or couldn’t tackle this role other than “Its been a certain way for x amount of years.” That’s a weak excuse that can be applied to anything to stop change. Sure, don’t shoehorn an actor into the role just for the sake of being different. But if a woman comes in and blows Moffatt away with her take on the Doctor, why shouldn’t they go for it?

    • Betsy says:

      yes, let’s never progress. let’s always stick ourselves back in 1963 because that’s a winner’s view.

      • canadian ninja says:

        So that’s the problem right there. You associate casting a woman in the role of the Doctor as progress. Never mind that the Doctor has regen’d ten times and he always regens as a male. So if the next Doc comes out female it will really be a social-politics move and it will take people out of the show’s continuity no matter what explanation they come up with.

        Now I’m all for a woman Time Lord being a major character – like a REAL one not like River or Donna – or if there where a reboot of the franchise go ahead and have the Doctor be female. I’d watch that.

    • There’s a spoilers going around that the John Hurt guy is a “missing” Doctor that the Doctor himself forgot he regenerated to therefore having the 11th Doctor as 12th Doctor and since he can only regenerate up until 12, its a perfect time to break out the norm and try something different. A woman Doctor can be a possibility and what dynamic exactly? People are always afraid to try different things that can possibly work out.

      This is Lucy Liu casts as Watson all over again (which was really great and it worked out perfectly and look at the show now, some critics and fans say she portrays a more realistic and central character for Watson)

    • amturner says:

      Also a woman and agree. IMO a time lord/lady is a certain gender and they can only regenerate into that gender.

      • Plague Rat Nicki says:

        Actually, the doctor mentioned another time lord, the Corsair, in the episode The Doctors Wife who he refered to as male and mentioned the one time when he was a girl and how she was ‘a bad girl’.

  46. Kelsie says:

    I vote for Jennifer Ehle. As soon as I saw her in Contagion, I thought she’s be a perfect Dr. Who. Sort of passionate and eccentric all wrapped up in one. And she’s British and American, for the purists.

    If it HAS to be a man, Idris Elba.

  47. Mike R. says:

    I have such a hard time taking these lists seriously, when so many of them are not even an option: Hoult is in X-Men as well as other movies, Cumberbatch and Martin are in Sherlock and other films, and countless others schedules just don’t even give the option for them to be the next doctor. It should be a unknown or relatively up and coming actor(or actress).

  48. Ana Lucia says:

    I vote for someone who’s not on the list: Ollie Barbieri. I loved his work as JJ in Skins 3 and 4.