With the news that Matt Smith is leaving the series there is once again speculation of who will play the Doctor next. For anyone running a Doctor Who campaign having the players take the role of a future incarnation of the Doctor is a great way to give you the freedom to craft the character to your own liking while retaining the character’s past.
Creating an interesting version of the Doctor with a new dynamic with his companions is a monumental task. It can be handy to transpose on-screen relationships from other television shows.
What follows are some television shows that could easily be translate to the format of Doctor Who. They can serve as inspiration for a campaign featuring a new Doctor.
David Mitchell & Robert Webb
Both actors have already been involved in Doctor Who, when they voiced the robots in ‘Dinosaurs On A Spaceship’ so it isn’t impossible that they could return. Either could take the role of Doctor, with the relationship portrayed in ‘Peep Show’ retained where they played Mark and Jeremy respectively.
David Mitchell would make a great Doctor, who has good intentions undone by his pomposity, paralysing fear of breaking social etiquette and his own base desires. A man whose every selfless act is punished with indignity and his few selfish acts result in swift karmic comeuppance.
Robert Webb’s Doctor would be more rebellious mixing aspects of the 9th & 11th Doctor. Acting first before thinking through the consequences. His own desire to do the right thing hindered by his own lack of self-discipline and self denial.
Mitchell’s Doctor would be ably aided and hindered by Webb’s companion. This companion would be better at dealing with people and encouraging the Doctor to relax. Their relationship would not be unlike that between the 8th Doctor and Fitz.
While Webb’s companion would likely cause trouble and look to the Doctor to solve it he would have his back (as long as he wasn’t like to get hurt himself).
Mitchell’s companion would despair of Webb’s Doctor, wondering why he wasn’t the one blessed with a time machine and regenerations. He would have to keep the Doctor focused on the task at hand and prevent him from fleeing his responsibilities.
This combination of actors could only be improved by the inclusion of Issy Suttie, playing a geeky companion whose knowledge of technology and easy going nature gets the guys out of trouble.
Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey & Tamsin Greig
With only Dylan Moran not appearing in Doctor Who this is another natural fit. ‘Black Books’ provides an excellent template for how these three could interact within the TARDIS (which now looks like a bookshop).
Modelled on Bernard Black Dylan Moran’s Doctor could be a recluse. He just wants to stay in his TARDIS, only venturing out to restock his supplies of food and drink. Either trouble would come to him or Billy Bailey & Tamsin Greig’s characters try to get him involved.
Bill Bailey’s Doctor could be eternally upbeat and wild. He takes his companions on adventures that they never seem to really appreciate. Dylan Moran’s companion would only get involved so they could get things over with and go back to the comfort of the TARDIS while Tamsin Greig’s companion would appreciate the intention but despair at the execution.
Tasmin Greig’s Doctor would try to stop her two companions bickering and embarrassing her in public. Despite her desire to be called a Time Lady she’d soon find that since she can’t beat them it was easier to join them.
Simon Pegg & Jessica Hynes
Another pair of actors who have both appeared in Doctor Who. Their Doctor and companion could have the same relationship displayed in ‘Spaced’. Two similar people with different interests. While there is some attraction they have a far greater friendship.
Simon Pegg’s Doctor would be incredibly enthusiastic, whirling through space and time like a kid in a sweet shop. That is when he isn’t spending several decades slumped in front of a video console. Incredibly passionate about the things he values in life he likely to launch into an angry rant to a small child as he is an power mad dictator.
Jessica Hynes’ Doctor would have good intentions and ambitions but be hampered by her own slothful nature and disappointment in how her life has turned out. Much of her travels would be to find herself and work out what she wants to do with her current regeneration.
Both actors’ companions would need to provide moral support for the Doctor and give them purpose. Their friendship would remind the Doctor that he/she isn’t alone and that their actions are important.
Nick Frost and Mark Heap would make quirky companions, giving the feel of a group of oddball friends exploring the universe. Throw in a dog in a backpack and its perfect.
‘Jonathan Creek’ as a character is so close to the Doctor that it virtually writes itself. He lives in a windmill (another obvious TARDIS with a broken chameleon circuit) and has had several companions, including two who have been in Doctor Who itself.
Alan Davis’ Doctor would be the most intelligent man in the room. He stands back, observes and then waits for his companion to reach the same conclusion giving them hints to point the way.
While all around him are prescribing supernatural or impossible theories to the current mystery the Doctor would be looking for the plausible explanation. This being the Doctor Who universe that still leaves a lot of fantastical possibilities.
Caroline Quentin, Julia Sawalha and Sheridan Smith could all recapture their on-screen relationship with Alan Davis as the Doctor’s companion. They do much of the heavy lifting in the story, searching for clues and interacting with the suspects.
They are companions in a very real sense, ensuring that the Doctor isn’t lonely. If not for his prodding would this Doctor articulate his suspicions at all? Would he even leave his windmill?