The science fiction series Doctor Who reaches its 50th birthday this year and there was speculation this week that producers of the programme may be toying with a radical departure in considering who will be next up to play the part of Doctor Who.
Doctor Who producers are believed to be currently considering who may succeed Matt Smith to play what would be the 12th Doctor in the lead role of Doctor Who. Conscious that a number of leading actors fear being typecast playing the part of the time-travelling hero and faced with BBC budget cuts, producers of the series are rumoured to be mulling over the possibility that the role of the next Doctor may be a played by a Dalek.
The semi-robotic race of Daleks have been Doctor Who’s sworn enemies for 50 years but in recent series, Doctor Who scriptwriters have from time to time portrayed a few Daleks as somewhat more humane. On one occasion, in the closing credits, a Dalek almost brought a tear to the eye as it pleaded, “Help me!”
In recent Doctor Who series, Daleks have sometimes been shown in a more humorous vein. On one occasion, a Dalek was seen gliding through the forests of Germany, giving orders in the familiar clipped tones that have come to be associated with a Dalek, except that these were in German.
On another occasion, a 'patriotic' British Army Dalek was also portrayed (pictured above) complete with camouflage livery and Union Jack insignia.
All this has pointed towards Doctor Who programme producers taking a more enlightened view of the Daleks. Casting a Dalek in the lead role would also have the advantage of reduced programme expenditure since casting directors would be able to rely on voice-overs from leading actors rather than scheduling significantly more expensive physical roles.
Originally, it was thought that Doctor Who producers might be looking around for a Doctor Who replacement towards the end of 2013 when present incumbent Matt Smith’s contract is believed to be up for renewal but in a recent interview carried on Breakingnews.ie the current Doctor Who stressed how much he loved playing ‘The Doctor’. Asked how long he’d like to continue in the part Smith said, “Forever! I came back and put the costume on for the photoshoot today. At risk of sounding self-indulgent and cheesy, it really does make you want to go back and start shooting. I'm attached to the show for the next year and I take it year by year. I think that's the only way you can take it."
So, while 2013 might not see a Dalek playing Doctor Who after all, with continuing advances in computer generated imagery there would seem no good reason why the Daleks might not finally shrug off their reputation as being the Doctor Who ‘bad guys’ and have one of their number play the leading role of Doctor Who, perhaps in the next series.