David Tennant, who played the time-travelling alien from 2005-2010, told Radio 4’s The World at One that Olivia Colman would be a “magnificent” Doctor, and could take Capaldi’s place when the character next “regenerates”.
Colman and Tennant know each other well, having co-starred in ITV crime drama Broadchurch. The series was created by Chris Chibnall, who is set to take over as Doctor Who’s head writer from next year. Chibnall’s appointment has prompted speculation that he might decide to bring in his Broadchurch colleague.
Tennant said: “If the two of them [Colman and Chibnall] have been having top secret discussions behind my back, I will be furious! Olivia would clearly be a magnificent choice.”
Colman would be the first female actor to play the character in the show’s 50 year history, though Joanna Lumley once took on the role for a Red Nose Day comedy special. Referring to the change of gender, Tennant said: “If the story was right, then why not? […] If you have the right people telling the right stories, then it’s absolutely a possibility.”
Bookmakers are offering odds around 20/1 on the three-time Bafta-winner landing the role, but Colman is not the only famous name in the running. Ben Whishaw, best known for playing “Q” in the Bond films, is currently the bookies’ favourite, while his Bond co-star Rory Kinnear and comedian Richard Ayoade are also considered likely contenders.
Capaldi surprised his fans when he revealed on Monday that he would be leaving after the 2017 Christmas special, to coincide with current head writer Steven Moffat’s departure.
“People who know the show and love the show get very attached to actors in the role but are also always kind of excited about the prospect of change and renewal,” Tennant said. “That’s how the show has managed to keep going for over 50 years, because it has that kind of built-in renewal system.”