It's that time again, folks! With the sad news that Peter Capaldi is leaving Doctor Who after the next season, people are already debating who should take over the TARDIS, next.
Regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of Doctor Who and so, gutted as I am at the loss of P-Caps (whose portrayal I have loved), I figured: why not compile a wish list of my own? So, seeing as it's wet and cold out and I have nothing better to be getting on with right now, that's exactly what I'm going to do.
I make no apologies for how incredibly unlikely most of these candidates may be...
1. Joe Gilgun
The rest of this blog could honestly just be me furiously typing "JOE GILGUN, JOE GILGUN, JOE GILGUN" over and over until my fingers hurt. Every time the current Doctor leaves, I say this guy's name as my number one choice of successor. If you don't know who Joe is, go and check out Misfits, or This Is England.
Joe is a phenomenally talented actor and why shouldn't we have a Doctor who has a load of tattoos and a broad Northern accent?! After all, "every planet has a North."
Seriously, there is nobody - literally not a single soul on this planet - that I would love to see play the role more than Joe. I believe his Doctor would be a little brash, perhaps sometimes cocky, but with hidden depths. Think 9 and 12 combined, with 10's sensitivity up his sleeve.
Who do I have to beg to make this happen?!
2. Julie Walters
There's a lot of talk going on about the Doctor eventually being played by a woman, particularly as we've now seen a Time Lord regenerate into a Time Lady in the show. So, we know it can happen, it's just a question of will it ever happen and when?!
If you only know of Julie for her comedy roles, then you might think this is a slightly strange choice. After all, it's hard to imagine Mrs Overall tackling a Dalek. But, if you've seen some of Julie's dramatic appearances, such as in My Beautiful Son, the heartrending A Short Stay In Switzerland, or playing the late Mo Mowlam in Mo, you'll know that not only does she have comic timing in spades, but she has depth, warmth and heart with it. She'd follow Capaldi in terms of being an older Doctor, weathered and wise, but with that quick wit the character has always been loved for.
It will almost certainly never happen - for a start, I can't see Julie wanting to take on the role, never mind anything else preventing it - but what I wouldn't give to see it...
3. Olivia Colman
She's been in the show before, but then again, we've had actors play roles in the show and then go on to appear as either the Doctor or a major recurring character in the past, so there's a precedent.
Olivia is second only to Julie in terms of actresses I utterly adore. She has such a fantastic ability to convey real, deep, human emotions and, despite the Doctor being an alien, the character has always been able to empathise and connect with humans arguably beyond any other race. That humanity is necessary to play this particular hero, despite the Doctor not being human him/herself.
Olivia would not only manage to play the serious parts beautifully, but like Julie and Joe, she has the quick wit that is necessary to keep the show from becoming too dark and serious.
4. James Norton
If the show wanted to return to a younger Doctor again (not to mention a return to Matt Smith/David Tennant style amazing hair), they could do a lot worse than to cast James Norton.
His ability to portray rage and destructive tendencies has been seen in Happy Valley, and, let's face it, sometimes the Doctor needs to be angry. That said, James has shown a softer side in several roles and he's familiar with the show, having appeared in it, previously. He's a brilliant actor and, if we're going to be shallow for a moment, he's not exactly hard on the eye, which may bring in a whole new raft of viewers...
5. Adrian Lester
You may know Adrian from Hustle, in which he was brilliant, but he is also an accomplished stage actor. In fact, in 2013, Adrian appeared in Othello with Rory Kinnear (a press favourite to take over from Peter Capaldi, now we come to mention it...) and the Evening Standard gave the pair joint Best Actor awards for their portrayals of Othello and Iago, respectively, as they were unable to choose between the two. This makes me very keen to see him take on the role of the Doctor, as Othello is my favourite Shakespeare play and anyone who wins plaudits for their performance of the title role in that (a role requiring an actor to portray wild human rage, deep love, despair and defiance - all of which could easily be said to come in handy playing the Doctor) is worth considering for this.
6. Sacha Dhawan
Okay, originally, I was going to put Sacha on this list because I fancy him. THERE, I ADMITTED TO MY SHALLOW THOUGHTS, OKAY?!
But then, I started to think about how emotive Sacha has been in everything I've ever seen him in. How nuanced his performances are. How bloody good he was as Waris Hussein in the 50th anniversary special: An Adventure In Space And Time. And you know what? Suddenly, he sounds like a bloody incredible choice for such an important role as that of the Doctor.
He'd be a return to a younger Doctor and I can imagine him capturing the Doctor's wide-eyed enthusiasm in a way that would be almost contagious for viewers watching at home. A definite plus.
7. Sophie Okonedo
Yes, she's been in the show before. But she's the bloody Queen, mate. Basically, she rules.
Seriously, there is no way that Sophie - an exceptional actress with wicked comic timing - could be anything but brilliant in the role. I want to see her and Bill (Pearl Mackie) kicking some serious ass together.
8. Iwan Rheon
We saw in Misfits that Iwan can convincingly play a superhero who is as sensitive as he is brave. If Chris Chibnall wants a return to a younger Doctor, he could easily give the role to Iwan and let this exceptionally talented actor take the character in a whole new direction. I, for one, would love to see what he'd do with the part.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens. All I can say is that I hope that we don't get a repeat of Peter Capaldi's "surprise" announcement, which had been leaked all over the press and the Internet weeks ahead of time, rendering it not in the least bit surprising. If anything, the news came as a slight disappointment, which is no comment at all on Capaldi's acting ability or subsequent portrayal of the character, but a comment on the lack of shock to the announcement. If you're going to surprise us, surprise us.
Just make it someone awesome and let's see what happens...