Photo: Netflix/Mark Johnson
If you don’t recognize the name Michaela Coel, the best thing you can do for your life right now is to bookmark this list, fire up Netflix and take a few hours to watch the absolutely brilliant comedy Chewing Gum. Coel plays shop assistant Tracey Gordon, a rather sheltered twentysomething who wants to have sex and learn more about the world. It is hilarious, awkward, rude and often extremely uncomfortable to watch. And Coel’s fearless performance anchors the whole thing. So, to sum up: You should watch Chewing Gum immediately. And, two: The folks at the BBC could do a lot worse by casting Coel in Doctor Who.
Why? Because she’s already proven that she’s aces at playing a kind of lovable weirdo. And And isn’t that sort of the shortest, most succinct explanation of the Doctor, ever? Kind of. On some level, the character is meant to be an awkward outsider, no matter how many times he saves the human race. It’d be kind of nice to really reconnect with the more alien and strange facets of the Doctor’s personalit. And what kind of Doctor would an actress like Coel ultimately be? It’s hard to tell, and that’s really exciting.
As a young, up-and-coming performer, she’d immediately inject the show with a level of coolness it hasn’t had in a while. And when chasing new, younger viewers, you can’t go wrong with some built “hip” cred. More importantly, Coel is a brave, gutsy performer. She just oozes charisma. And she seems willing to do almost anything in a role. You get the sense that, were she to get the part, she could take the Doctor in pretty much any direction as a character. And after five years of Steven Moffat, that’s exactly what we all need right now.