50 Actors Who Could Play the Next Doctor on Doctor Who

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Lara Pulver as Irene Adler in “Sherlock”. (Photo: BBC)

Lara Pulver

Many fans would love to see a woman (finally) cast as the Doctor. And actress Lara Pulver feels like a pretty obvious possibility to help the show finally cross this gender barrier. Pulver is, of course, best known for her star-making turn as the infamous Irene Adler in BBC series Sherlock. While your mileage may vary when it comes to your thoughts on the episode “A Scandal in Belgravia”, Pulver’s performance as “The Woman” was almost universally lauded. And anyone who can hold their own opposite Benedict Cumberbatch deserves serious praise.

The actress is also a big BBC favorite ever since she scored that big breakthrough moment on Sherlock. She possesses a ton of range, having played major roles on True Blood, Da Vinci’s Demons and Robin Hood. And she recently won an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the West End revival of Gypsy. That she could play the role of the Doctor is not in question. Her ability to portray a deep-whip smart intelligence combined with her a sort of ageless quality seems perfect for a Time Lord. She’s already proven that she can take an iconic role and put her own stamp on the material.

On some level, though, the impending Who showrunner switch might make Pulver’s casting less likely. Not only did she have an existing working relationship with outgoing showrunner Steven Moffat, Pulver tends to embody the sort of actress you’d think Moffat would cast, if he’d ever picked a woman for to play the Doctor. Her Irene was basically a test run for what I’d see as Moffat’s vision for a female version of the character: Commanding, sly, flirtatious and without question the smartest person in the room. Pulver doesn’t have the same connection with incoming head Chris Chibnall, so it’s possible that her chance may have passed with the end of the Moffat era.