The 14th Doctor is making their Doctor Who debut very soon!
Jodie Whittaker was confirmed to be leaving Doctor Who back in 2021. Almost as soon as the news broke, Whovians quickly started to try and work out who would replace her as the 14th Doctor. It was practically the only thing we had to keep us entertained in between Jodie Whittaker's final adventures in the 2022 Doctor Who specials.
In May last year, we thought we'd finally gotten our answer when the BBC revealed (after a cryptic clue from returning showrunner, Russell T. Davies) that Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa had been cast as the 14th Doctor.
Jodie's final special, "The Power of the Doctor" threw a spanner (or should that be a sonic screwdriver?) in the works. When the 13th Doctor regenerated at the end of that particular adventure, she took on a different form altogether.
Shockingly, Jodie's Doc regenerated into the familiar face of David Tennant... who seemed just as confused to be there as we were. Following the regeneration, Ncuti Gatwa was later confirmed as the 15th Doctor.
Tennant's Tenth Doctor has remained a hugely popular face among the Whoniverse. He's frequently labeled one of the very best Doctor Whos and is a prominent face in our list of Doctor Who's greatest moments.
He'll only be with us again very briefly, though. David Tennant's 14th Doctor stars in the three Doctor Who 60th-anniversary specials, coming to the BBC and Doctor Who's new US home on Disney Plus very soon. Ncuti Gatwa will then take the helm for the Doctor Who Christmas Special 2023 ahead of Doctor Who season 14.
The first special airs on November 25, just a few days after Doctor Who's actual anniversary on November 23.
Talking at the time, Russell T. Davies said: “If you thought the appearance of David Tennant was a shock, we’ve got plenty more surprises on the way! The path to Ncuti’s 15th Doctor is laden with mystery, horror, robots, puppets, danger, and fun! And how is it connected to the return of the wonderful Donna Noble? How, what, why? We’re giving you a year to speculate, and then all hell lets loose!”
Want to look back at some of the many, many casting rumors that were doing the rounds when we still didn't know who the 14th Doctor would be? You can find some of the top candidates who were thought to be in the running below.
Who could have been the 14th Doctor? The best 14th Doctor cast rumors
Prior to the reveal, rumors included the fact that Hugh Grant was reported to be 'in talks' to feature in Doctor Who, though the Love Actually star quickly denied these claims on social media, tweeting: “Nothing against DR W but I’m not. No idea where the story came from.”
Hugh Grant's rumored involvement came shortly after some fans suggested that former Doctor David Tennant would be making a big return to the show, but as a new incarnation (look how true that turned out to be!)
Grant actually has played the Doctor before, albeit briefly; he was one of many stars who played the time traveler in the 1999 Comic Relief parody, "The Curse of Fatal Death".
For the longest time, the most commonly suggested star was Olly Alexander. He was a frontrunner for a long time, and his potential involvement was arguably one of the most popular Doctor Who casting rumors throughout 2021.
Like Hugh Grant, Olly denied any involvement in the show. Whilst speaking to the Press Association in late 2021, Alexander said "I'm definitely not going to be the Doctor but it's going to be so amazing, Russell's Doctor. I mean, it was before, and it will be again, and it has been great. So I'm excited to watch the show because I'm a fan."
This Is Going to Hurt star Ben Whishaw was another popular actor who ruled himself out of the race. When he appeared on Lorraine earlier in the year, he did his best to quash any rumors, stating: "I’m definitely not Doctor Who. I haven’t auditioned for Doctor Who."
They were far from the only actors we thought could have been the 14th Doctor, though; here are just a few of the other top names who we thought could have been in the running to be the next star.
Actors who were rumored to be in the running to play the 14th Doctor...
Sex Education star Rakhee Thakrar gained some traction amongst fans and bookies as a potential Doctor just before her co-star was confirmed for the lead role.
If you don't recognize her as Moordale's Miss Sands from the Netflix comedy-drama, you probably know Rakhee for having played Shabnam Masood on EastEnders.
Like some of the other faces on this list, she's already been involved in the Whoniverse before. Rakhee plays Bliss in Big Finish's Time War Doctor Who audio drama, who is a companion to the eighth Doctor, Paul McGann.
Lydia West shone in Russell T. Davies' hit drama It's A Sin as Jill Baxter, a compassionate roommate to the other residents of the Pink Palace.
She grew to be a very popular suggestion for the Doctor's replacement in the latter part of 2021; UK bookmakers even briefly suspended bets on who the next Doctor Who would be in early October due to the number of people guessing she would be the next star.
Jodie Whittaker herself also backed West as her replacement. star after she left. During a game of "Kids Ask" on BBC Radio 1 on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, Jodie said: "I’m going to pick an actress who I think is really exciting and I think would be phenomenal, an actress called Lydia West. If I had the power!”
Omari Douglas was the third It's A Sin star thought to be up for consideration for the role. In early November 2021, The Sun reported that he was the new frontrunner for the role and that a TV insider had called Omari "the perfect candidate on so many levels". Even Omari's It's A Sin co-star, Olly Alexander, suggested he would make a good fit for the role. Sadly, though, that wasn't quite enough for him to land the part.
Outside of playing Roscoe Babatunde in It's A Sin, Douglas has appeared in Wise Children and Midas Man. He also starred in Constellations opposite Russell Tovey at London's Vaudeville Theatre earlier in 2021.
Michael Sheen was thought to be another frontrunner for the role. He came first in a RadioTimes.com poll viewers' choice poll for the 14th Doctor in 2021, and it's easy to see why so many think he'd make a good Doctor.
One potential issue here is that Michael Sheen has technically already appeared in modern Doctor Who. He was the voice behind the evil entity named House, a being that fed on TARDIS energy which appeared in Series 6 of the revived series.
Being involved in the show didn't stop Peter Capaldi from being the Doctor, though, so it could leave the door open for Michael Sheen at some point in the future.
One of the wildest Doctor Who rumors was the idea that EastEnders favorite, Danny Dyer, was once thought to be in the running to play the 14th Doctor.
His departure from the legendary soap was confirmed by the BBC in early January 2022, and his final episode aired on Christmas Day 2022, where his character Mick Carter tragically died in the English Channel trying to save Linda.
When the news of his departure broke, it was claimed Danny Dyer was leaving EastEnders to pursue new roles (according to The Daily Mail). This led some fans to suggest that the Walford legend could be taking time out to try and become the next person in charge of the TARDIS.
The potential stumbling block here is that T'Nia Miller already has a connection to the Whoniverse (stronger than Michael Sheen); she's already played a different Time Lord in the show's past.
She appeared in the series 9 episode "Hell Bent", playing the twelfth regeneration of The General after Peter Capaldi's Doctor shot her previous incarnation.
Doctor Who season 12 really shook up the show's canon. Along with the reveal that the Doctor was the Timeless Child, there was the appearance of Jo Martin as the Fugitive Doctor.
The Fugitive Doctor was a previous regeneration that the current Doctor had no memory of. As it turned out, the Doctor was once a member of the mysterious Time Lord group, The Division. They became the "Fugitive Doctor" after fleeing the Division, and the Gallifreyan, Gat, and a platoon of Judoon were dispatched to recapture her. This incarnation cropped up again at the end of the season when Jodie's Doctor learned her memories of her past had been taken away from her by Division.
Doctor Who season 13 saw Jo Martin briefly returning to the show as the Fugitive Doctor, and her character remained a big presence in Doctor Who media outside of the series. Even if she's not the next mainline Doctor, it is possible that Jo Martin could return later down the line.
Michaela Coel was thought to be one of the popular candidates for the role if the BBC wanted to have another woman at the helm as the 14th Doctor.
Alongside her theatre career, Michaela is best-known for creating and starring in the E4 series Chewing Gum as well as the BAFTA-winning BBC comedy-drama I May Destroy You, which is regarded as one of the best BBC dramas in recent years. She also starred in Hugo Blick's drama Black Earth Rising and in two episodes of Black Mirror.
Welsh actor Rhys Ifans' name entered the mix when former Doctor Matt Smith suggested he would be a great fit for the show.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter about Last Night in Soho, Matt said: "You know who I think would be a brilliant Doctor Who … Rhys Ifans. Rhys would be sort of cool. I don’t know if we’ve had a Welshman yet. I’m backing Rhys!"
Whilst he's not our next Doctor, Rhys Ifans is back on our screens in a big way, as he's part of the ensemble in HBO's House of the Dragon, the epic prequel to Game of Thrones.
Best known for his role as socially awkward nerd Maurice Moss in The IT Crowd and as the presenter for the modern revival of The Crystal Maze, Richard Ayoade is a truly unique character.
He’s known for off-beat, quirky humor and his endless wit whenever he appears on British panel shows, and this personality could have translated perfectly to the Doctor, especially as an extension of the 13th Doctor’s more eccentric side.
Unlike some of the other actors on this list, New Zealand actress Lucy Lawless actually threw her own name into the mix for Doctor Who.
In an interview with Newsweek, the Xena: Warrior Princess and Battlestar Galactica star spoke about how much she loves fantasy and sci-fi and shared that she would really love to play the Doctor. This led quite a few fans to voice their support for Lucy on social media.
Although she didn't exactly share why, Lucy added that she loves roles that have a comedic edge to them, explaining "it [humor] just helps get through the day. Comedy is always a lovely way of working."
Kate always fought to get justice for those in need and it's not hard to see how Vicky's experience with AC-12 could have helped her fight aliens as the Doctor. After all, chasing down bent coppers alongside Steve Arnott and Ted Hastings is surely perfect training for chasing down rogue Time Lords like The Master, right?
Phoebe Waller-Bridge's career has gone from strength to strength in recent years. She is best known for creating and starring in Fleabag but is also responsible for the first season of Killing Eve and the 2016 Channel 4 comedy mini-series, Crashing.
With experience in both comedy and drama, Phoebe Waller-Bridge could have been a perfect Doctor, capable of both light-hearted madness and dealing with the more serious moments in the show, too.
Given Kris was previously rumored to be in the running for the 12th Doctor but missed out to Peter Capaldi, it was definitely a possibility that he was up for consideration for the 14th, too.
Kris is best known for his role as Nick Harper in the BBC sitcom My Family and as DI Humphrey Goodman in Death in Paradise, although you might also recognize him from a series of BT ads. More recently, he played Tom Parker in ITV’s Jane Austen adaptation, Sanditon.
Vicky McClure wasn't the only Line of Duty star that some fans thought could be in the running to be the next Doctor!
Macdonald has appeared in Trainspotting and the sequel T2 as well as playing Rowena Ravenclaw in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and voicing Princess Merida in Brave. She also appeared in Operation Mincemeat, I Came By, The Victim, and Goodbye Christopher Robin, among others.
Matt Berry has appeared in a range of British comedy series like The IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh, and Toast of London. More recently, he's played a lead role in the FX series comedy-horror series What We Do In the Shadows.
Many of Matt's big roles have seen him playing blustering, larger-than-life characters, and the Doctor would have been quite a different role compared to some of his work. Having brought Steven Toast back to our screens in Toast of Tinseltown, we thought it possible that Berry could have been interested in playing the Doctor.
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Martin is a Staff Writer with WhatToWatch.com, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows.
Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.