Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Doctor Whom?

For your consideration.
With the announcement that current Doctor, Matt Smith, will departing the popular British series Doctor Who after the next Christmas special, the internet has been all a-buzz and a-Twitter regarding speculation about who will step into the role next.
Naturally, I have a couple of thoughts on the matter.
My first choice for the new Doctor is the same choice I made when the previous Doctor, David Tennant, announced that he would be leaving the role. Raza Jaffrey is a singer, dancer, choreographer,
actor, and action star probably best-known to American audiences as either Dev Sandarum on the NBC TV show Smash or Zafar Younis on the BBC import MI-5 (known as Spooks in the UK).
Jaffrey came to my notice in the British series Mistresses, and I remember thinking, “Tennant just said he’s leaving Doctor Who: they should call this guy.”
A great actor with outstanding charisma, I think that Jaffrey’s dance background would bring an interesting physicality to the role that would both complement and contrast Smith’s footballer athleticism in his incarnation of the role.
My alternate choices for the Doctor are – in no particular order:

If nothing else, it'll piss of Lenny Henry.
Chiwetel Ejiofor of SerenityLove Actually, and American Gangster fame: a popular choice around the internet.
"Please, don't hold Hancock against me."
Eddie Marsan. Most of you probably know him as LeStrade from the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes films, but, if you check his IMDb credits, I’ll bet you’ll say, “Oh, he was that guy?” in some other films you’ve seen. A very versatile performer, I recommend seeing him in Happy Go Lucky and the 2008 Little Dorrit mini-series.
Dean Lennox Kelly. Yes, he was William Shakespeare in the 2007 Doctor Who episode, “The Shakespeare Code,” but it would not be the first time that an actor took over the role of the Doctor after having appeared previously in the series in a different role. (Colin Baker did.) Check out the all-too-short BBC series The Invisibles for Kelly in a very different role.


Paul Bettany. Bettany would be a slam-dunk as the Doctor, but perhaps a slam-dunk isn’t what the series needs so much as a three-pointer from beyond half-court. (I just used a sports analogy in a blog entry about a cult sci-fi series. I probably should have stretched first.)

Now, there has been some call from the internet that it is time for a female Doctor, and my initial reaction to that was: “No, I don’t like that. I don’t know why, but I don’t.” Having given it some thought, I realized that I still don’t like it, but I do, in fact, have a reason for that.
I do not think that the Doctor has to be a white male just because he has always been a white male. Physically, biologically, there are only negligible differences between races: skin color, a moderate predisposition toward size, etc. Most of the perceived differences between races are cultural and social – phenomena that are particular to our human experience that might not exist for a Gallifreyan native. (This does not, however, mean that casting Jaffrey or Ejiofor in the role might not bring about some interesting plotlines as the Doctor lands in different eras of Earth’s history.)
The differences between male and female are more significant, however. Women can become pregnant
Currently fending off multiple attacks by DT fangirls.
and give birth. Men cannot. This is a fundamental difference in the human experience. This does not make one gender more important than the other, but it does make them different. Even if you buy the (frankly, inconsistent) assertion that Time Lords reproduce asexually and emerge fully-grown from genetic looms, having the Doctor suddenly just become female – in my opinion – diminishes what it is to be female. I would rather have a spin-off with a female Time Lord (or Time Lady, as Romana was called.) Remember, Jenny from “The Doctor’s Daughter” is still adventuring her way somewhere out there in the universe.
"I don't look much like my dad."

As of this writing, it sounds like the role of the Doctor has been offered to Skyfall’s Rory Kinnear, though no word on whether he has accepted or not. Apart from his portrayal as the latest incarnation of MI-6’s chief of staff, Bill Tanner, I’m afraid I’m not very familiar with Kinnear’s work. I will reserve judgment, but I will say that I think that his late father, Roy Kinnear, certainly would have made for an interesting Doctor.
"Yes, you do."
In case Kinnear passes on the role, let me just - for your consideration - show you this clip of Raza Jaffrey performing in Bombay Dreams:

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