After the initial furore over Jodie Whittaker’s casting as the Thirteenth Doctor back in July subsided, most seemed to be on board – or, at least, have come to terms – with the decision to make the Time Lord a woman. That said, one former Doctor Who star – in fact, arguably the most iconic Doctor Who star of them all – has revealed that he would have preferred a different actress to take the part.
The Fourth Doctor himself, Tom Baker, was speaking with GQ when the topic of the new Doctor inevitably came up. First, let’s clarify that Baker is totally on board with Whittaker’s casting, as he mentioned that he was “thrilled” with the decision and is sure she’ll be “marvellous.”
“I was thrilled! So long as the girl comes over as an alien, a benevolent alien, she’ll be marvellous. I wish the girl the very greatest of luck. And I’m sure she’ll be fine because they’re very clever down there [Cardiff, where production takes place]. She’ll cotton on to the alien thing.”
However, he did then go on to say that his pick for the first female Doctor would have been Dawn French, the popular British comedic actress (you might also know her from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban).
“I would have thought Dawn French would have been a good Doctor Who, because she’s got such a wry sense of humour and also has a way with her that faintly [suggests] she’s got secrets.”
What’s more, Baker hasn’t given up hope that he’ll be invited back to work on the sci-fi series at some point. He’s even got an idea for how multiple past Doctors can show up again.
“Maybe they’ll invite me back as her assistant in one scene or another? It would be very nice, wouldn’t it? In a sequence where she found me somewhere in some old people’s home, where actually perhaps there were several old Doctors… Everywhere you turn, it’ll be David Tennant in one thing, Matt Smith behind the bar and me in a corner looking up at someone passing saying, ‘Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?’”
Sadly, we’re not sure incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall will take Baker’s Time Lord Retirement Home idea on board. On the plus side, Baker has just made a return to the world of Doctor Who, all the same. The 83-year-old actor donned his legendary multi-coloured scarf to play the Fourth Doctor again on a new DVD release.
Jodie Whittaker, meanwhile, makes her Doctor Who debut in this month’s Christmas special, “Twice Upon a Time.”