Doctor Who: Five Actors Who Could Replace Jodie Whittaker

Emily Swan
5 min readJun 20, 2021

Who should play the Doctor after Jodie Whittaker leaves?

While not yet confirmed by the BBC, rumor has it Jodie Whittaker plans to leave Doctor Who after the specials following series 13. I’d be thrilled if Whittaker stayed through the 60th anniversary. I’ve loved her Doctor and feel we’ve barely scratched the surface, but British actors tend to move on to new projects faster than Americans and I’ve resigned myself to facing a regeneration scene by Easter 2022.

Playing the Doctor requires the utmost acting skill because the Doctor embodies several achetypes, depending on the story: hero, trickster, creator, magician, warrior, sage, mad scientist, lover, rebel, peacemaker, etc. Finding actors who are not only proficient, but excellent, across the board is no easy task. Given that, you’ll find my top five choices for Whittaker’s replacement below. (Caveat: Jo Martin would be my first choice, but I’m convinced her Doctor is a pre-Hartnell Doctor.)

photo from Wikipedia: Thandiwe Newton

1. Thandiwe Newton

Aside from the numerous roles she’s received accolades for over the years (Beloved, Crash, The Pursuit of Happyness), I am obsessed with Thandiwe Newton’s character Maeve on the show Westworld. While the show contains far too much horror for me, I keep watching because of performances like hers. She’s empathetic, she’s fierce, she’s funny, she’s formidable, she’s graceful. The way she moves her body — and changes the way it moves as the seasons progress— while portraying a very life-like robot makes me think she would infuse the Doctor with quirks akin to Smith’s and Whittaker’s. Every time I watch Westworld all I can think is, “What I wouldn’t give to see Newton play the Doctor.” She’s probably too big a name, but why not reach high? Make it happen, BBC.

photo from IMDB: Lydia West

2. Lydia West

In Years and Years, Lydia West played the quirkiest character I’ve seen on TV in a long time — a teenager seeking to become a transhuman hybrid, ultimately capable of being held in a data cloud forever. Her character is weird — like really weird — and she pulls it off in a way few actors…

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Emily Swan

Co-Author with Ken Wilson of Solus Jesus: A Theology of Resistance, and co-pastor of Blue Ocean Faith Ann Arbor, a progressive, fully-inclusive church. Queer.