Who Should Be the Next ‘Doctor Who’? Michaela Coel, Matt Berry and Rahul Kohli Top Our List

Matt Berry, Michaela Coel, Rahul Kohli
Berry & Coel: AP; Kohli: Derek Storm/Everett Collection

With the BBC confirming that “Doctor Who” actor Jodie Whittaker is leaving the show next year, Whovians have already begun debating who should step into the Doctor’s wacky shoes for the next chapter of the iconic show. Variety has delved into the top candidates for the role, and all the actors that fans are gunning for.  It’s still unknown when the BBC will confirm its decision — last time around, Peter Capaldi announced he was leaving in January 2017 and the Beeb revealed Whittaker as his replacement in July — but there’s already speculation swirling about a number of faces on our list.

Michaela Coel

The creator and star of critically acclaimed, BAFTA-winning drama “I May Destroy You” is reportedly the bookies’ favorite to score the role, with online gambler PaddyPower offering odds of 7/1. She’s already got a great relationship in place with the Beeb, with drama boss Piers Wenger noting earlier this year that the broadcaster is in the works on a new project with the British wunderkind. The question is, however, whether Coel — who was recently cast in the next “Black Panther” instalment, as revealed by Variety — has time in her busy schedule for the demands of “Doctor Who.”

Lazy loaded image
Michaela Coel Sophy Holland for Variety

Matt Berry

The hilarious “Toast of London” host and “What We Do in the Shadows” star is another enduring BBC favorite, having appeared across a number of BBC channels and radio stations over the years. Berry’s star has been on the rise recently with star turns in movies like “Christopher Robin” and “The SpongeBob Movie,” and the English comedian will soon set his sights squarely on Hollywood with “The Toast of Tinseltown” for BBC One. Berry’s also no stranger to the Doctor Who franchise, having featured the show’s classic theme song in his popular 2018 “Television Themes” album of retro tunes.

Lazy loaded image
Courtesy of Everett Collection

Richard Ayoade

The multi-talented Richard Ayoade’s portrayal of the nerdy Moss in “The IT Crowd” has made him a fan favorite and his name has come up repeatedly online as a suitable replacement for Whittaker. Ayoade’s deadpan delivery as host of the BAFTA TV Awards earlier this year had its share of fans, while his directing chops on films like indie hit “Submarine” and Jesse Eisenberg-starring “The Double” has also delivered some serious street cred.

Still, the BBC haven’t got the memo yet it seems. “There has been no approach as far as I know,” Ayoade’s agent tells Variety.

Lazy loaded image
Richard Ayoade AP

Michael Sheen

Michael Sheen (“Masters of Sex”) could follow in Peter Capaldi’s footsteps as a more wizened Doctor. Incidentally, Sheen has made a brief appearance in the show previously — during Matt Smith’s tenure — as the voice of House. Sheen’s one of the rare actors who’s become a Hollywood darling, starring in the likes of Fox’s “Prodigal Son” and Amazon’s “Good Omens,” while headlining BBC efforts like “Staged” opposite former Doctor Who David Tennant.

Lazy loaded image
Michael Sheen Courtesy of Johan Persson

Jessica Raine

“Call the Midwife” and “Patrick Melrose” star Jessica Raine has not only appeared as a guest star on “Doctor Who” already but even played a producer of the original series in “An Adventure in Space and Time,” a drama charting the conception of the show back in the 1960s. If selected as the next Doctor, she could easily get some tips off Capaldi, given the pair will be starring together in Amazon U.K. thriller “The Devil’s Hour.” While fans have Raine in the mix, her agent gave a cheeky response to Variety‘s query about her potential involvement: “She’s not been approached for the new Dr Who [sic] but has been approached to play Bond [nerdy face emoji]…or has she?”

Lazy loaded image
Jessica Raine AP

Rahul Kohli

Kohli is a Comic Con regular thanks to his role in “Supergirl” and also as medical examiner Ravi in “iZombie.” He’s been linked to the Doctor Who role so often that he posted to social media in January: “Oh and stop tweeting me about ‘Doctor Who.’ I already played the best TV doctor. Put some respect on Ravi’s name.” You might also recognize Kohli from Netflix’s “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” in which he played bespectacled driver Owen.


Lazy loaded image
Rahul Kohli Courtesy of Everett Collection


Chance Perdomo

Perdomo currently stars opposite “Doctor Who” regular Michelle Gomez (she plays “Missy” in the BBC series) in “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” and would bring a more youthful stature to the Doctor. Selected in 2020 as one of Variety’s 10 Brits to Watch, Perdomo was born in the U.S. before moving to the U.K. as a kid. He was raised in Southampton, trained at London’s National Youth Theatre and has a BAFTA TV nomination for starring in the BBC Three bio-drama “Killed by My Debt.”

Lazy loaded image

T’Nia Miller

T’Nia Miller, whose turn as the mysterious Mrs. Grose in “The Haunting of Bly Manor” was downright creepy and excellent, has already been the subject of numerous rumors about taking on the role (and she’s even appeared in one episode of “Doctor Who” as a General). She has said if she did ever get the part, she’d want her dog to be her companion “because I adore him and it means I could bring him on set with me.” Considering most of England got a dog during lockdown, we have a feeling most Brits would support this iconic duo.

Lazy loaded image


David Harewood

“Supergirl” star David Harewood previously appeared in “Doctor Who” as part of double bill “The End of Time.” There have been rumors about a greater involvement in the franchise for years, but Harewood has been busy landing major roles, like David Estes in “Homeland,” in the U.S., where he was based. However, the actor moved back to the U.K. over the winter, and is getting way more involved in the local drama landscape. What better way to get stuck into British television than a turn as the Doctor?

Lazy loaded image
Courtesy of Riker Bros

Sacha Dhawan

Like Harewood, Sacha Dhawan also appeared in “Doctor Who” as the Spy Master in season 12, but that’s not to say he couldn’t still come back, right? Dhawan recently starred in Starz series “The Great” opposite Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult, as well as acclaimed BBC limited series “The Boy With the Topknot.”

Lazy loaded image
Courtesy of Everett Collection

Lydia West

“It’s a Sin” star Lydia West has been heavily rumored as a favorite to play Doctor Who for some time. West is due to appear opposite former Doctor Who David Tennant  in upcoming BBC drama “Inside Man.”

Lazy loaded image
Lydia West AP

Olly Alexander

West’s “It’s a Sin” co-star Alexander grabbed international headlines in late June when speculation ramped up around his casting as the next Doctor. However, his Alexander’s agent rebuffed the gossip, telling Variety: “I’m afraid I have to exterminate this speculation.” They did say, however, that “as Ood as it might sound, Olly is focusing on his music, for the time being.” For the time being!

Lazy loaded image
Olly Alexander AP