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No One Knows Who the Next Doctor Is, But We Do Have Polling Data

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trade News | June 10, 2013 | Comments ()


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There were a bunch of reports fueled more by the herd mentality of hope than by proper journalistic things like leaks or sources, that the new Doctor would be announced over the weekend. This led to a second wave of completely unsubstantiated articles insisting that one actor or another had in fact been offered the role. I deny any part in this process, and argue that there are many people who might find it humorous to forge email headers and mask their IP addresses whilst sending false press announcements to editors rabid for news late on a Saturday night. DANCE MY PUPPETS!

Ahem. I mean, such people might yell something like that while doing the Buffalo Bill dance in circles around their cat. Hypothetically.

The Telegraph is insisting that the BBC has offered the job to Rory Kinnear. Or rather a single writer who likes to talk in the third person about his own column ("The Mandrake can report...") despite the fact that nowhere on the page is that column title actually used, so you can only figure out that he's talking about his own column through induction. I'm totally going to start doing that on these pages. Oh, and go peruse the comment section over there if you have any faith in humanity left. The Mandrake assures you, that can be fixed.

A few other places have made similar different announcements. I'm not recounting them here, because they're all lies, and we have statistics to look at, which are the best kind of lie. Here are the tabulated results of a poll done in Great Britain last week, specifically about "Doctor Who".

First off, you'll see that 68% of respondents were either "not very interested" or "not at all interested" in "Doctor Who". At first glance that makes me very sad, but on second thought, how terribly excited would you be if you heard that 1 in 3 Americans cared about "Doctor Who"? The Mandrake can confirm the niftiness of that.

But the really neat part of the poll is on the second page, where it asks what attributes of the actor playing the next Doctor are really important, and then breaks up the responses along political affiliation, age, region, and something called social grade, which I can only assume is how the British decide who to feed to the aliens first.

The leading attributes that the British voting public cares about are that the Doctor be British (but that 54% is a surprisingly low proportion here), and that he be male (52%). Being white only comes in at being important to 23% of interested viewers, while only 19% care that he's under 40 years of age.

Wonderfully, as a complete aside, in the section where they polled who the favorite Doctors were, Eccleston actually underperformed in the North relative to other regions. We'll let you know if the BBC actually makes an announcement, or if Nate Silver steps in and just tells us the future.

And the Mandrake can neither confirm nor deny at this time whether Nate Silver will in fact be the next Doctor.




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • The Kilted Yaksman

    Tilda Swinton, or I'm going to start stabbing faces.

  • MarTeaNi

    I'm still pulling for Helen Mirren. It'll never happen but damn it'd be great.

  • TheAggroCraig

    If it's not Mr T I'm still not interested.

  • BLZ Bubb

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt

  • DataAngel

    Paterson Joseph! Dammit!

  • I don't know Rory Kinnear outside of Bond, where he was fine but the role wasn't really a stand out. Does he have the spark to be The Doctor?

    I am still holding out for Domhnall Gleeson, but I would be SO on board with Chiwetel Ejiofor.

  • Artemis

    I don't watch Doctor Who, but I know the basics of the plot. Can someone explain to me why an entity that regenerates as different people has only ever been a white man? Like, is there some plot-based reason that always happens, or is the show just refusing to cast women or people of color as the Doctor?

    I've heard a lot of good things about Doctor Who, but I haven't tried it out yet in part because of how much I've also heard about it being kind of sexist and racist -- and the fact that the Doctor is always a white dude (frequently a kind of weird-looking one) with a hot young woman as his companion hasn't done a whole lot to reassure me that the criticisms are wrong.

  • PaddyDog

    Note: all of these comments are serious, not flippant and not intended to poke fun at your comment above.

    1. He doesn't always have a hot young woman: Donna Noble was neither.

    2. While I can see that in 2013 you might have a problem with all the Doctors being white men (see Long Pig's perfectly reasonable explanation for earlier iterations below), why would it be an issue for you that the actors would be "Kind of weird looking"? Is there a looks standard you feel casting directors should adhere to?

    3. If you decide not to watch a show because of the predominance of white men in leading roles (which I readily admit is a real issue), what do you watch?

  • Artemis

    1. As I said, I don't watch the show. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I don't think I'm wrong in thinking that the companions skew young and hot.

    2. "Weird-looking" is only relevant to me because of point 1. I'm happy to see people on my TV/in movies that don't look like cookie cutter versions of Hollywood's current hot look, but it's not exactly rare to see that standard only being subverted for male characters while their female counterparts are all still expected to be gorgeous.

    3. Obviously I watch shows that have white men in leading roles. As you point out, there'd be very limited options if I didn't. But it feels particularly egregious when a show has a conceit that lets it change the lead character's human form on the regular and decides to cycle through white men.

  • It's a sinister conspiracy by The Man to keep his foot on the throat of pop culture and keep the minorities from getting uppity.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    River Song, the Doctor's wife, regenerated into a black girl once, so a change in skin color should be possible. However, they are not of the same species.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    He was probably only ever a white dude in the original run because I figure Britain was kind of like America in the 60s and 70s and just wouldn't have ever even considered the idea of putting some melanin in that lead. In the new run... Inertia? He was a white dude seven times originally, so he just kind of keeps on being a white dude?

    I think they've mentioned Time Lords switching sexes, too, so while there could be a legitimate reason he's never been a woman (it'd likely be hard for us, for example, due to our sex chromosomes), the show has pretty much already lost it as an excuse.

    And I just want to remind everyone-- Chiwetel Ejiofor. Make it happen.

  • kelleyisadork

    oh, i love him! especially in 'dirty pretty things'

  • LB

    I nominate Hugh Laurie. He's already played a cranky doctor. He's be brilliant.

  • dorquemada

    Richard Ayoade, or there will be blood.

  • ExUSA

    AGREED 100x. I think he would NAIL it, and really make the Doctor seem alien, while grounding him in empathy. Would love to see him as the Doctor, but I think it's a long shot.

  • I love Ayoade in IT Crowd, but I really would only be able to see Moss. He's talented, but I am not sold on whether he could break my heart like the previous three.

  • dorquemada

    I hear ya, but he really sold me as the cigar chomping, shotgun toting hospital adminstrator on Darkplace. Besides, Moss would be an easy choice, he probably has his own working sonic screwdriver.
    Condensed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  • Ohh, I haven't seen Darkplace. I will have to add it to my list.

  • Pants-are-a-must

    The next Doctor is Dakota Fanning, duh.

  • JenVegas

    Idris Elba? I'd take him as a Doctor any day.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    This source mentioned three other names: Domhnall Gleeson, Dominic Cooper and Daniel Kaluuya. I don't know the first two, but Kaluuya would be great.

    Still, it's probably fake, anyway.

  • nini

    Kaluuya has been in Doctor Who so is that even possible? Cooper might be too famous but Gleeson could be perfection! I didn't even know I wanted this but oh god yes! And then papa-Gleeson could also appear in the show and and and..

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Having appeared on the show before hasn't stopped a couple of companions from happening, so I doubt it would be a huge barrier for playing the Doctor. My main objection to Kaluuya is that it'd be yet another regeneration to a younger age. I'd prefer someone sort of in that Tennant-y 30s range where you're not really young or old.

  • nini

    True, Karen Gillan came to my mind just as I sent my message. I also agree on the age issue, someone older would be nice change. I know Gleeson is a bit younger than Smith so now I'm contradicting myself but I just really really like him.. Maybe he could be a new companion?

    And Tennant-y range in general is always good..

  • PaddyDog

    It should be noted that the poll was carried out by YouGov, a company founded and owned by Tories. It should also be noted that when one looks at how the questions were asked, the poll was intentionally skewed toward a finding of British and Male. The options "female" or "gender-neutral" for instance were never offered and while one might think the option of "male" offers "female" as the alternative by implication, that can't be inferred because people are only answering to the given option. Similarly the fact that it offered not only British but also English without any other options was a blatant attempt at skewing the findings. In short, as one might expect from a poll touted by The Telegraph, it's a load of Tory bollocks.

  • WestCoastPat

    Come on, you're talking about YouGov like they have no credibility other than as a Tory mouthpiece. They're not ComRes.

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