How about a Teenage Doctor?
Guest contributor Sam White ponders the idea.
Over the years – well 51 years to be precise – the Doctor has been subject to the whims of the people running the show. Some wanted an older Doctor, some wanted a younger one, some wanted a buffoon and some wanted a plain old charmer. Needless to say, he has already been all those things, but change doesn’t stop. It is the only constant. So sitting in my room, in the ambience of a suspiciously flickering lamp, I was hit by a radical thought – What if the Doctor regenerated into a teenager?
Of course, technically he misses the mark by thousands of years but I meant teenager appearance-wise. However, before I delve into the topic, I want to clarify the objective of this article. This short article is an attempt to consider a potentially risky and very unlikely possibility, and honestly I am a bit fuzzy on the implications myself. Let’s hope we can reach an unruffled perspective by the end of this discourse.
Regeneration – it’s a lottery
The first question that often strikes us is – Why? – Why do we need a teenage Doctor? Well to paraphrase the ninth Doctor, regeneration is a very erratic process in that you can never predict what you are going to get. Personally, I feel this dodgy aspect of regeneration has not been explored to its full potential. While it is quite nice to hypothesize why a certain regeneration went a certain way and look at it from a psychological perspective, for once I would like for it to be a completely random event and see how the Doctor copes, because if you’re looking for reasons as to why the Doctor would require a teenage body, well I don’t have any. Some might say that this is a cop out but I think it mirrors life quite accurately, because hardly everything that happens in life has reasons.
Who should play the Doctor?
Casting characters is not my forte and the man you should be looking up to is Andy Pryor who has been the casting director for Doctor Who ever since 2005. He is the man responsible for casting all your favorite characters and I have to say he has done a marvelous job so far. To be honest, I am quite uninformed when it comes to British teen actors, but for this article’s sake – with the help of Google and a really good face memory – I have put together a list of three actors who might be suitable for the role.
Note: I have stuck to actors who look teen, but are actually not for the sake of maintaining tradition.
I’ve only ever seen Keir in It’s Kind of a Funny Story but he was incessantly good in it. I think he can pull off the enigmatic feel of the Doctor really well, especially because of his poker face. Another thing that I liked about him was the slow yet visible progression he brought on screen – from an emotionally numb and depressed person at the start to one who was ready to be vulnerable and feel again at the end, which showcases his range as an actor. Keeping all this in mind, I think he is a solid contender for the job.
If you need a charmer then you need not look far, because Freddie has all that and then some more. Unlike Keir, I’ve seen Freddie in three cinematic ventures: as Charlie Bucket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as August Rush in… well August Rush and as Peter Llewelyn Davies in Finding Neverland. And I’ve found his performance to be extremely heart-warming and moving every time. Needless to say that he can bring both gravitas and talent to the role. His innocent and kind face coupled with burden of being a Time Lord and all that it entails can help explore new dimensions with respect to the Doctor.
I recently had the pleasure of watching Pride and for me George stood out the most of all the cast. Even though for the majority of the movie, he gave a quite subdued performance, it was in the final few moments that he really left his mark (I am not going to spoil the movie, go watch it if you haven’t). I think he has all the right elements for being the Doctor, a slightly oddball of a face, eccentric mannerisms and bucketload of talent which is why, of the three mentioned, my vote would go to George.
In the end, what we need is a talented actor, someone who can use their physical appearance as an added advantage but also reflect what we know and have known about the Doctor since his very early days, someone who can be wise and cunning and intelligent and kind, and perhaps all at the same time.
Who should be the Companion?
Well the obvious one would be a Coal Hill teacher, but since Clara has already filled those shoes I think we may have to dig a little deeper. A total teen gang won’t be a good way to go either because I think we definitely need some adults on board. I’ve always liked the idea of a damaged companion, so maybe we can have somebody who has lost their dear ones in a tragic accident, somebody who has lost their will to live and to struggle, somebody who has stopped seeing all the wonders that exist in this world, somebody the Doctor can resuscitate.
On the other hand he could also travel with the Paternoster Gang because his already existent relationship with the trio can help the audience get comfortable with his new personality by adding a touch of familiarity.
Who knows what will happen in the future, we may finally get a Doctor with ginger hair or a female one or a black one or better yet, a black teen girl with ginger hair as the Doctor…Sorry, got a bit carried away there, but the point still stands and frankly just because an idea is risky and change it entails irreversible doesn’t make it a bad one, especially for a show that is all about taking risks and welcoming change.
Admittedly, I am still as ambivalent about the idea as I was at the beginning so I leave you guys with this idea as food for thought, awaiting your response in the comment section and secretly hoping that Andy Pryor gets a wind of this article and casts Asa Butterfield as the Doctor. Ten bananas to whoever gets this jest.