Why it’s a shame we’re not getting a surprise regeneration in Doctor Who

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It wouldn’t be entirely unlike Jenna Coleman’s early introduction in Asylum of the Daleks, four months before she was expected to appear as the new companion – surely the most successful and memorable twist of the Moffat era?

It’s an exciting prospect to consider, and one that would really heighten the drama of the regeneration – in a real sense, it’d be exactly as unpredictable as it’s meant to be.

I am, of course, utterly over the moon about the 13th Doctor casting. This is something I wrote before we knew who it was – not bemoaning, but lightly lamenting, the fact we were finding out at all.

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In anticipation of the Thirteenth Doctor

doctor who thirteenth doctor reveal key trailer jodie whittaker chris chibnall

So!

It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for. Or is about to be prepared for.

When Peter Capaldi announced he was leaving, I wrote this article for Metro suggesting some possible replacements. Eventually, a new frontrunner became apparent – Kris Marshall. I have to admit, I wouldn’t be a fan, and I’m hoping he doesn’t take the role. My preference, broadly speaking, would be a female Doctor – I’ve collected together everything I’ve written about it here.

As to who I’d like specifically? Well, there’s always something to be said for unknowns (they pretty much all have been so far, to me at least). But outside of that? Well, I’ve been an advocate of Natalie Dormer for years now – it was thinking about her in the role that made me realise how much I’d like to see a female Doctor – but in recent months I’ve been coming around to Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

I do, admittedly, take a little bit of hipster pride in that – I first watched Fleabag in December, before Capaldi announced he was leaving, and immediately knew that Phoebe Waller-Bridge would be perfect for the role. I reckon, actually, with that Metro article above I was probably the first to publically suggest her for the role, so I feel vindicated that everyone else agreed with me so wholeheartedly. I’m still clinging to the vain hope she might still take on the role, though in my heart of hearts I know that’s still a little unlikely. Just a little.

The new last-minute favourite is Jodie Whittaker, who I’d also love – and have been wondering about for the past few months, suspecting that everyone had overlooked her when suggesting the other star of Broadchurch for the role. Whittaker, again, would be a great choice; I’ve always thought she was the real star of Boradchurch, really.

I don’t want it to be a man, particularly. Obviously! If it was, I think my preference would be Sacha Dhawan. If it is going to be another white man – and, unfortunately, I do rather suspect it is – then I’d hope it’s someone that I haven’t heard of. (And then it’s a fakeout! He’s the new companion! They’re preserving the surprise, for when Capaldi regenerates into Phoebe at Christmas!) There’s always something exciting about an unknown.

Indeed, there’s something exciting about this all, really. A whole new era. Once more unto the breach. Here we go again. Sontarans perverting the course of human history. I really, genuinely can’t wait, even where I have little worries and misgivings.

But of course, a necessary word on Capaldi. When he was first cast, for days and weeks afterwards I’d occasionally just say “Peter Capaldi” and grin, I was so excited. He lived up to the promise and more; he’s my favourite Doctor. The Doctor. And he deserves a lot of thanks for that.

I’m watching the tennis now. Any moment, we’ll know.

See you on the other side!

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