It's regeneration time again for Doctor Who fans, with Peter Capaldi announcing that he's hanging up his TARDIS keys when showrunner Steven Moffat departs. The bookies, who called Capaldi right last time, are making their voices heard, with fan-favorite Ben Whishaw leading the charge. But now, it's time to give a left-field suggestion. You see, as Doctor Who and Agent Carter fans will know very well, should the BBC decide to go with a female Doctor, Hayley Atwell herself may well be interested in the role...
Wait, A Female Doctor?
The debate on female Doctors has raged since Tom Baker stepped down from the iconic role back in 1981. Ever the comedian, he decided to wind up the assembled British press as his departure was announced, declaring his support for the Next Doctor, "whoever he or she may be". He knew that the wording would kick off a furore, and for weeks tabloids heatedly debated whether or not the Time Lord could — or should — regenerate into a woman. In the end, of course, Baker was replaced by Peter Davidson, whose performance in All Creatures Great and Small had so impressed Doctor Who's producers.
Hop into the TARDIS and travel back to the present day, and the topic of female Doctors is still hotly debated. Departing showrunner Steven Moffat discussed the issue back in early 2016 at the BAFTAs. He pointed to the most common criticism: that it would be the loss of a fairly unique male role model. He found that argument unpersuasive.
"I don’t think the Doctor is the role model of Doctor Who. He isn’t. Because you can’t really base yourself on the Doctor. He’s off the spectrum, barking mad, from space and has lots of mysterious abilities that we do not. How do you base yourself on that? The role model is actually the other character, his best friend, the person who deals with this out of control, overgrown schoolboy racing around the universe being rather too imperious and too interfering for his own good."
What's more, Moffat has gone to great lengths to add a new element to Doctor Who lore — he introduced a female Master, Michelle Gomez's Missy, and in so doing has established that Time Lords can indeed change biological sex when they regenerate.
Now, it's worth noting that Moffat's won't be the deciding voice; Chris Chibnall, his replacement, is going to have a lot of say. So far, Chibnall has kept quiet, no doubt allowing the rumor mill to kick into gear.
Would Hayley Atwell Fit The Part?
A popular American-British actress, #HayleyAtwell shot to prominence in Geek culture for her iconic portrayal of Peggy Carter in the #MCU. She was introduced in Captain America: The First Avenger as the main love interest, and soon became star of her own ABC TV series, Agent Carter!
Atwell has everything you could want from a Doctor. She has charm and class, but she can also play whimsical and eccentric. She's experienced in action roles, commands a cult following on both sides of the Atlantic Pond, and — best of all — has already expressed an interest in the role.
Back in August 2015, during a fan Q&A, Atwell was asked whether she'd be interested in playing a companion on Doctor Who. Her response was simple:
"I'd like to BE Doctor Who."
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If the BBC do choose a female Doctor, I frankly can't think of a better candidate. Sure, the casting choice would be controversial, but the reality is that Hayley Atwell would easily step into the Doctor's young-old shoes. From confident speeches to eccentric, dithering confusion, she'd be able to handle the whole gamut of the renegade Time Lord's character quirks. Although there's no evidence Hayley Atwell is on the radar right now, consider this my request to the Powers That BBC: Look across the Pond for your next Doctor Who lead. Don't miss this opportunity!