Peter Capaldi's final series as #DoctorWho has begun; fans are going to miss him when the character regenerates at the end of this season. Capaldi has given the role a good go and earned his place among the better Doctors.
Of course this means speculation about who gets the role next. Despite the clamor for a female Doctor, or the first Doctor of color, one name is now all but confirmed as the inheritor of the role: Kris Marshall.
Marshall is best known for his long-time roles on BBC sitcom My Family, the crime show Death In Paradise, and in movies such as Love Actually, in which he played as Colin, the gawky romeo headed to Wisconsin to find love.
Is Marshall the right guy for the role? Here are 5 reasons why he is perfect as the Doctor... but there is a kicker that could blow things wide open!
One criticism of recent choices for the #Timelord is that they have been "niche" actors before the role. Tennant had only really just come to prominence when he began to star, and Matt Smith had only one success at that point, The Ruby In The Smoke. While Capalidi had been around for years, he was not a "known" name. You might recognize his face, but would probably have to look up his name. The only actors to have taken the role with any prior stardom were Christopher Eccleston and John Hurt, both of whom had strong Hollywood careers.
Marshall is one of the most recognizable faces on British television, not just at the BBC. For many years he was the face of phone company BT's adverts in a popular set of ads.
In these his character met the girl of his dreams... and her kids. The UK is unique in being able to make drama out of commercials, and allowed the public to vote on whether "Adam and Jane" should split or marry. This not only helped put Marshall on the map, but firmly fixed him in the public consciousness as an all round "good bloke."
He's been a fixture on our TV screens for the last 17 years and has become one of the most reliable and bankable stars for showrunners in the UK.
It's arguable however that his comic leanings have removed him from the running from shows such as Game Of Thrones. In a world where nearly everyone gets a big role, Marshall's hasn't seemingly come. Until now!
For the American public and the rest of the world, he's a newer face that will make the show interesting again. For us in the UK, it's a chance to see Marshall finally reach the big time.
A New Kind Of Doctor
Much has been made of producers wanting "a Tennant" type, yet Marshall has not traditionally been cast as the handsome leading man. He's always been more the geek. There is, however, definite room for #TheDoctor to be both heartthrob and weird.
Marshall's recent image change, may give a clue to where he's going with the Doctor. He's bearded, with longer hair and more of a rugged look. While he's the same height as Tennant and Davidson, his appearance is more like Tom Baker's. With some work, Marshall's Doctor would be a physical force as well as a genius.
There is scope as well for more of a darker iteration, perhaps the darkest we've yet seen from the show. While people are expecting an affable, slightly dopey Kris Marshall, he could stun everyone and deliver a much more measured and controlled demeanor. He might even go truly sinister, especially if the kicker I mention occurs. More of that in a moment.
He Allows A Range Of Companions
At 44, Marshall is older than he appears. During his career he's shown great chemistry working with actors like Robert Lindsay and Zoe Wanamaker, along with people his own age and younger.
Kris Marshall allows a "reset" on the ideas of companions away from the traditional "sexy girl," although I am sure that there will be another sooner or later. I can easily see a young teen companion, or even a much older one accompanying this Doctor.
While Pearl Mackie was OK in her debut, it seems almost inevitable that she's a short term fix. Kris Marshal and Chris Chibnall both offer a clean slate for the show.
Personally, I'd like to see a return to the multi-companion days of Tom Baker and Peter Davidson, where up to three or four people were travelling with the Doctor at a time. Marshall is a top drawer ensemble actor and surrounding him with a capable group might be the best approach to unlock his skills.
His Car Accident
As lovable as he can be onscreen, Marshall has had his fair share of off-screen dramas. He was most notably hit by a car in 2008 during a stag party in Bristol. While his head injury wasn't severe, the discombobulation is something he can call upon for his performance as a newly regenerated Doctor.
Likewise for a man his size, his hip injury will no doubt help inform his physical performance. He could easily incorporate these aspects to make his Doctor stand out in terms of gait, in how he moves or behaves.
He Can Sustain The Show
While fans may not realize or be happy, Doctor Who is under threat at the BBC. Ratings remain strong, but the BBC are under unprecedented financial pressure, mainly thanks to the UK government, which will no longer allow free spending of public money on expensive shows.
The BBC has already lost The Voice, Top Gear, Formula One Racing and The Great British Bake-Off. All big ratings grabbers for them, but too "cash rich" to purchase. It's very possible that Doctor Who is next on the list, if not to be chopped then to be scaled back in terms of budget. It's near impossible to believe that's not part of Chris Chibnall's brief as showrunner!
The Beeb have also been stung badly by their stars deserting for Hollywood. The likes of Idris Elba, Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch have all seemingly now left the fold, making shooting Luther and Sherlock nigh on impossible as those actors work on many films.
Marshall is very much a "safe pair of hands" for the show while they work out how to make it sustainable. Some fans won't like him in the role, but the majority will accept it as a necessary evil. Indeed, you could argue he is now in the Tom Baker position, where the show has to change. He has the chance Baker got - to make Doctor Who a show that works for the changing times. That alone is likely enough for him to not pursue bigger ambitions overseas.
Now for that kicker that I talked about and I think it has a lot to do with John Simm being brought back.
I have to be honest here, part of me wants to see John Simm as the Doctor. The idea of giving our hero a face reviled by the people of Earth, to the point he is hunted would be a great way to sustain the show. Sadly, I don't see it playing out that way.
One way that Marshall works is if #TheMaster has to save the Doctor using the regeneration he never used, injecting a bit of himself into the character going forward. This would allow Marshall to be a much darker version of the character and even start the road to becoming The Valeyard - the evil future regeneration in the Doctor.
Sadly I don't think that will happen either. I do, however, think this will...
The New Doctor Won't Be Around For Long
There's already talk of the Mondasian #Cybermen killing Peter Capaldi's Doctor. They are his favorite villains and it would be his "dream death."
But I can see either in the Christmas Special, or very soon into the new series Kris Marshall's Doctor also being killed off in favour of another new long term star. New showrunner Chris Chibnall has built his reputation on dramatic twists and this would be the mother of all twists for Doctor Who. Some of the best movies in history have given you the protagonist only to kill them off quickly
Would this be a good or a bad thing? Who knows? In truth, I just can't see past this twist now... I'd almost be disappointed if they don't kill Marshall off quickly!