As Ann Hale in “Salem”, Tamzin Merchant played a character with a wide range. (Photo: WGN America)
Tamzin Merchant would tick several boxes in terms of Doctor Who casting. A charming young actress with tons of talent, Merchant is at the perfect spot in her career to land a big, starring vehicle like Doctor Who. Her first big role was as Catherine Howard, the ill-fated fifth wife of Henry VIII on Showtime’s The Tudors. Her performance was a perfect mixture of naiveté and selfishness, and a real bright spot in the series’ fourth season.
She most recently starred as Ann Hale on WGN America’s ridiculously over the top witch drama Salem. Her character went from a goody two-shoes alderman’s daughter to the queen of all evil, and Merchant revelled in every minute of it. Ann’s discovery of the magic within herself – as well as her deep dislike for the patriarchal rules governing her society – was must-see TV. Her character was by turns crazy, compelling and completely relatable. While it’s unlikely that Merchant would be called upon to play quite as dark a character in the Thirteenth Doctor, she would certainly give the character many and varied layers.
Fun fact: Merchant was also HBO’s original choice to play Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. She even filmed the original pilot for the series in 2009. But the cable network ultimately chose to go in a different direction. As a result, Emilia Clarke was cast, and the rest is history. But clearly someone thought Merchant was leading lady material.
Plus, the Doctor would not only be a woman – she’d also finally be a ginger!