I just heard this rumour - Start date last week in Aug 2014 12 eps. New Doctor. BBC Worldwide email ACCIDENTALLY sent out today to employees
— Ian Levine (@IanLevine) May 30, 2013
This afternoon he sent out this tweet:
Oh dear.I'm told the BBC are not happy with me.Apparently my name is discussed on internal memos because I leaked the secret news I got told
— Ian Levine (@IanLevine) June 1, 2013
Which was fine. There's a lot drama around some fans twitter feeds and there's a fun element about watching which rumours gain traction and which wither. Then tonight, before watching episode four of Terror of the Autons in observance of Saturday night, then The Last Starfighter for the first time in twenty-five years (Wil Wheaton's in it!) I noticed a version of this story on Bleeding Cool.
Two hours of watching Earth being saved later, and it's all kicking off my first inkling of which was:
Dr Who fans won't have to wait till midnight. BBC Worldwide will email the press release to 557 random people in Stockport at 9.30pm.
— Gary Gillatt (@Gary_Gillatt) June 1, 2013
Followed by this story at Starburst indicating that the BBC will indeed be releasing one of the midnight press releases, which again is simply momentum for something possibly happening. Then:
My ugly face will be on @bbcbreakfast tomorrow - sometime after 6:30, I believe. I tell you this so you can make sure you don't see it.
— Tom Spilsbury (@TomSpilsbury) June 1, 2013
By then Matt Smith. It's been fun.
What will we find out at midnight (or in about half an hour given how leaky this thing has been already)? Probably the contents of Ian Levine's initial tweet. I'm actually fine with it being just the twelve it means they're all in a row, because the split seasons have sapped all momentum out of the series, and the budget can be spread better across them.
In theory we shouldn't also have an announcement for the casting of the new Doctor, but again given the hole in the BBC's information bucket at the moment, if they're already cast, it'd be strange for us not to find out now rather than in the papers on Monday. Plus without it, those same papers and everyone else will be discussing who's going to be taking over for the next however many months overshadowing Matt's own final lap, just as it somewhat did when David Tennant was leaving.
Who do I want as the new Doctor?
Apart from the usual someone good, and we've been lucky so far, I genuinely think it's time for a female Doctor. I appreciate the arguments about "well, this is a male role..." and "it's tradition" and all of that nonsense, but if you really want to give the show a kick and take it into potential narrative areas otherwise uninvestigated then, yes a female Doctor.
My first choice Romola Garai is unlikely, even if The Hour's just been cancelled. It's a big commitment and at this point she doesn't seem like she wants to be tied down to a role like this for three years with all the other merchandising business and whatnot.
Other than that. No idea. Morven Christie, maybe? Laura Fraser? Gina Bellman now that Leverage is over and she's worked with Steven Moffat before several times?
It'd be the same for male casting. No one at this point really presents themselves other the like of Lawrence Fox, Paterson Joseph and everyone who was "in the frame" (and I really hate that phrase) last time.
Unless they do offer something timey-whimey and we see the return of a past Doctor like Paul McGann. Or John Hurt's actually going to take over the role at the end of the 50th somehow though given the insurance issues and his health that doesn't seem likely either, though the return of a grandfatherly figure would be another good twist with Jenna-Louise given a much stronger narrative role.
Perhaps it'll be another Matt Smith. Someone the general populace will look at and wonder "Who?"
We'll find out in about two hours anyway. Or not.
Updated! About ten minutes after I clicked post, the BBC have put out a press release. Early. As expected. Matt's written us a letter:
Sniff. As expected, because it's the BBC, the name of his replacement hasn't been included, which is fine actually because the story's still about Matt leaving rather than Romola taking over or whoever. Apart from in the Telegraph, who've already printed (because they accidentally posted the story rather than set the thing to go off at midnight as per the time on their version) (see comments below):
"Doctor Who has been the most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke, and that largely is down to the cast, crew and fans of the show. I'm incredibly grateful to all the cast and crew who work tirelessly every day, to realise all the elements of the show and deliver Doctor Who to the audience. Many of them have become good friends and I'm incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the last four years.
"Having Steven Moffat as show runner write such varied, funny, mind-bending and brilliant scripts has been one of the greatest and most rewarding challenges of my career. It's been a privilege and a treat to work with Steven, he's a good friend and will continue to shape a brilliant world for the Doctor.
"The fans of Doctor Who around the world are unlike any other; they dress up, shout louder, know more about the history of the show (and speculate more about the future of the show) in a way that I've never seen before, your dedication is truly remarkable. Thank you so very much for supporting my incarnation of the Time Lord, number Eleven, who I might add is not done yet, I'm back for the 50th anniversary and the Christmas special!
"It's been an honour to play this part, to follow the legacy of brilliant actors, and helm the TARDIS for a spell with 'the ginger, the nose and the impossible one'. But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go and Trenzalore calls. Thank you guys. Matt."
"Rumours of Smith's departure from the series sparked speculation over who will be his replacement when the Doctor is regenerated in a new form once more. Favourites include Homeland star Damian Lewis or that Tennant may make a return."Yes, both of those seem likely.
I will be on @BBCBreakfast tomorrow morning from 6am to talk about Matt Smith leaving Doctor Who. My cab comes at 5am. "I don't want to go!"
— Tom Spilsbury (@TomSpilsbury) June 1, 2013