Sheridan Smith has emerged as favourite to play the new Doctor in the BBC’s long-running science-fiction television drama series, it has been claimed.
The claim was made earlier this morning in the Scunthorpe Telegraph.
“Reports have said the 31-year-old actress is top of the BBC's wish-list to take over the role from the current Doctor, Matt Smith,” the paper says.
It follows the announcement earlier this month that Matt Smith—who has played the Eleventh Doctor since 2010—will relinquish the part at the end of the year.
Smith to Smith
If borne out, Smith would likely replace her namesake as the Doctor during this year’s as-yet-unnamed Christmas special, in the process becoming the first-ever woman in the show’s 50-year history to take on the TV role—officially, at least.
Unofficially, the Doctor has been played by a woman on two previous occasions: Joanna Lumley in Steven Moffat’s Comic Relief parody The Curse of Fatal Death (1999); and Arabella Weir in Big Finish's Doctor Who Unbound audio adventure Exile (2003) by Nicholas Briggs.
Just over a week ago, the Sunday Telegraph claimed that Rory Kinnear had been offered the role, despite the actor himself denying he had been approached.
However, since the announcement was made that the BBC were actively looking for a new actor to play the Doctor, many have voiced the view that it is time for a woman to be cast. A number of female actors have been mentioned, including Dame Helen Mirren (The Queen), Miranda Hart (Call the Midwife) and Zawe Ashton (Case Histories).
Last week, Mirren ruled out the likelihood of her becoming the first female Doctor, but went on to say, “I’m so sick of that man with his girl sidekick [and] could name at least ten wonderful British actresses who would absolutely kill in that role.”
If chosen, this will be Smith's second major foray into the Doctor Who universe. Between 2006 and 2011, she travelled in the TARDIS with Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor, as his assistant, Lucie Miller, in a number of Big Finish audio adventures.
Doctor Who firsts
Smith made her television debut in 1999, in Wives and Daughters, playing a housemaid For the best part of a decade she plaid Janet in BBC3's popular sitcom Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, and has built up an impressive Tv, film and theatre CV. She also starred in David Renwick's Love Soup, which was produced by Doctor Who's first-ever producer, Verity lambert – at the time, the BBC's youngest producer and only female drama producer.
In 2009, Smith was also cast as Alan Davies's sidekick, Joey Ross, in three episodes of Renwick's Jonathan Creek, a part she recently quit in order to meet her West End theatre commitments. In 2012, Smith took on the title role of Charmian Biggs in the ITV drama Mrs Biggs.
On Monday, the Scunthorpe Telegraphreported that the 31-year-old actor had been cast in a new ITV drama, The Widower, which tells the story Malcolm Webster, the British man convicted by Glasgow High Court in 2011 of murder and attempted murder.
Written by Neil McKay—who also wrote the BAFTA-winning drama Appropriate Adult, about the serial killer Fred West—The Widower also stars John Hannah, Alex Ferns and Reece Shearsmith, himself soon to be seen recreating the role of the Second Doctor, as originally played by the late Patrick Troughton, in Mark Gatiss’s Doctor Whobiopic, An Adventure in Space and Time.