Ever since Peter Capaldi announced he’d be handing over the key to the TARDIS after Doctor Who season 10, the rumor mills have been cranking out all manner of speculation on who would replace him as The Doctor. Various reports have indicated that Love Actually’s Kris Marshall was in the running, as well as Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s Anthony Stewart Head. And, in a somewhat less expected move, The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade was also reportedly under consideration to play the Time Lord. But Nerdist claimed to have reason to think the casting of the 13th Doctor will break even more boundaries.
According to Nerdist’s unnamed sources, Chewing Gum creator Michaela Coel is the frontrunner to take on the role after Capaldi departs at the end of the current season. The comedy is one of Netflix’s few black-led shows, and Coel commands the screen in every episode, which she also wrote. She’s a charming, energetic performer who also shows plenty of depth as a virgin with a Beyoncé obsession, so playing a 2,000-year-old being from another planet should be a snap. But the publication also hedged its bets, noting that when asked directly for comment, BBC America said no casting decisions have been made.
Word of her supposed casting has made it to Coel, who piped up on Twitter today to tell fans that sadly, she won’t be stepping into the TARDIS after all:
This isn’t the first time that reports have surfaced of a woman taking over as the Doctor, but they’ve really taken off in recent weeks, with Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Natalie Dormer’s names being thrown into the mix. But apparently, the idea of a woman playing the Doctor—who is part of an alien race that has been known to change genders during regeneration—can still throw some fans into a tizzy. The London Sun reached out to BBC America after one narrow-minded viewer wrote to the network to complain about having to explain the concept of the “gender switch” to his children, who apparently have no trouble dealing with the death and destruction that follows the Doctor everywhere. A complaint officer for the network replied to reassure the man that “there are currently no plans to have a female Doctor Who.”