With David Tennant on his last year as the Doctor before new producer Steven Moffat gives the Time Lord a new lease on life, there's inevitable speculation about who will take the reigns. But rather than look forward, let me look back, back to The Curse of the Fatal Death, the comedy special made for the Comic Relief charity telethon in 1999. That too was written by Steven Moffat, and despite being a parody, it may give us an insight into his Who work to come.
Most interestingly, the story ends with the Doctor regenerating not once, but four times! Might Moffat consider offering the job to any of these actors?
Rowan AtkinsonAn alternative to Christopher Eccleston, this 9th Doctor prefigured the Rose relationship by getting engaged to his assistant, Emma. More Blackadder than Mr. Bean (thankfully!), Atkinson does a good job in the role, never winking at the camera as he deadpannedly goes for the jokes. In fact, aside from the actual story material, this could be a convincing "serious" Doctor.
The other Doctors only last for less than 2 minutes each, but their respective actors make that short time memorable.
Richard E. Grant
A sexually alive Doctor whose double-entendres might go a bit far, sickeningly so, he still scores points by calling a spade a spade, or in this case, calling Jonathan Pryce's Master, "the camp one" (does he mistake him for Ainley?). He has an interesting, smart delivery that won him the role of another Doctor in the webtoon Scream of the Shalka, but he's also got the potential to be thoroughly dislikable.
The 11th Doctor makes a u-turn, away from the romantic lead of Doctors 8 through 10. This one is shy around girls. It's a funny performance, innocent and child-like, but I doubt it could be sustained for a few series. That said, Broadbent certainly has the acting chops to play a more balanced, yet still asexual, Doctor. I'm thinking of an eccentric, tragi-comic role like that Harold Zidler in Moulin Rouge, for example.
And then back to romantic lead, indeed, as romantic predator. Though played as a joke at the time, it seems rather natural in these post-Tennant days. Tone down the charm a little, through more of Grant's trademark neurotic behavior, and you have a palatable Doctor. Of course, the romantic hero thing is "been there, done that" at this point, and a change is needed.
In just about a minute, Joanna Lumley convinces me that the Doctor could (even should!) regenerate into a woman next. I'm not saying it should be Lumley herself, who's perhaps gotten a little too old since Curse of the Fatal Death, but someone with that basic look. I'm sure there are other middle-aged, but very sexy actresses that could be tapped, even if they don't have Lumley's temporal cred (Sapphire & Steele). It'd be a nice way to shake up the status quo, and maybe get some new male companions into the TARDIS. What do you think?
And to watch the Curse of the Fatal Death on veoh.com: