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WHO Watch 2013: Neil Gaiman on Why Unknown Doctors Are Best

Acclaimed sci-fi novelist and writer of Doctor Who episodes Neil Gaiman thinks the new Doctor should be another no-name, according to a recent post on Tumblr. When asked what he thought about Sir Ian McKellen taking the role he replied:

I actually like it when The Doctor is a relatively unknown actor, or one without one huge role that made them famous. A star, like Sir Ian, brings all the other roles they’ve ever played to the table when they act.

He went on further outlining the level of expectation that comes with giving well known talent a job such as this:

Seeing John Hurt as the (Spoiler) at the end of the Name of the Doctor, meant that this was a certain type of part with a certain amount of gravitas, and you understood that John Hurt was bringing everything with it (including being John Hurt), just as Derek Jacobi did as the Master. 

Gaiman then closed with his ideal scenario for the dream actor he'd like to see in the role:

I want to see The Doctor. I want to be taken by surprise. I want to squint at a photo of the person online and go “but how can that be The Doctor?”

So unknowns are cool and all. It would certainly be nice to follow tradition. But what about when talent does take part in great sci-fi?! Take...well, Gaiman, for example. His episode when the TARDIS becomes a living breathing individual is in my top five of episodes for sure, and his ushering in of a new age of Cybermen was a much needed revamp to a stale and laughable lot of villains. So as much as I agree with Gaiman, I have to say that he himself held a certain kind of "gravitas" when he jumped on board, and we all loved it. What say you to that Mr. Gaiman? 

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