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Doctor Who: Who Is Houdini?

Now the BBC have confirmed the announcement of the 12th
Doctor is little more than forty eight hours away, it’s high time to take a
look at the contenders for the role. The new Doctor has been codenamed ‘Houdini’
by those select few in the know, and they have given away scant little to the
fans attempting to identify the mysterious man or woman. Though the BBC’s
statement seems to suggest they are already working with the BBC in some
capacity, they revealed next to nothing else. Here’s what you need to know
about the favourites.
Peter Capaldi
(current odds 13/8 at Ladbrokes)
Capaldi has plenty of history with the show, having played
John Frobisher in Torchwood: Children of Earth, and Caecilius in The Fires of
Pompeii. He has made no secret of the fact he is an avid Doctor Who Fan, and at
the age of 55 his casting would see a return to the older Doctors favoured in
the classic series. A sudden surge of bets in the past three days have seen him
quickly become the bookies’ favourite to take the role, but fans will no doubt
remember a similar amount of support for Paterson Joseph before Matt Smith was
Daniel Rigby
(current odds 5/2 at Ladbrokes)
Rigby is another actor whose odds have taken a tumble in
recent days. Perhaps best known for playing the geeky student in the BT
adverts, Ladbrokes have reported an influx of bets on him that have seen his
odds fall from 20/1 as former favourites began to drift. His casting at the age
of 31 would certainly fit the recent pattern of a younger Doctor, but Steven
Moffat has spoken on numerous occasions of the fact he would be willing to cast
an older Doctor this time around. Rigby’s acting pedigree is stronger than many
realise – he edged out a certain Matt Smith and Benedict Cumberbatch to win a
BAFTA for Best Actor in 2011 for his role in Eric and Ernie, so it’s no wonder
the smart money is going on him.
Ben Daniels
(current odds 4/1 at Ladbrokes)
Daniels was a favourite with both the fans and the tabloids
since Matt Smith was first confirmed to be leaving the show, and at one point
bookmakers even stopped taking bets on him as they were convinced he would be
imminently announced as the 12th Doctor. However, a protracted
silence and rumours that he had turned down the role have seen his odds drift
of late, but it’s worth noting that his IMDB page shows he isn’t yet attached
to any projects beyond 2013.
Rory Kinnear
(current odds 6/1 at Ladbrokes)
Kinnear was another actor strongly backed until recently,
but his strong denials and admittance he has never watched an episode of the
show have meant that fans and bookmakers have begun to look elsewhere for the
next Doctor. However, the Olivier Award winning actor, best known for his work
in the James Bond films, may well simply be putting up a smokescreen to hide
his involvement with the casting process. Any and all denials will have to be
taken with a pinch of salt until the announcement is made.
There are many others still being hotly rumoured for the
role, of course, including David Harewood, Dame Helen Mirren, Idris Elba and
Ben Whishaw, but another name thrown into the pot by fans today is Emun
Elliott, echoing Matt Smith’s appointment in 2008.
It’s worth remembering that Smith was nowhere in the betting
until the day before the announcement came, and he was very much an unknown in
comparison to those who were heavily backed to play the 11th Doctor,
so perhaps the Doctor Who team will be seeking a similarly unrecognisable actor
or actress this time to take on the most iconic role in television.
Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor will be simulcast
on BBC1 and BBC America at 7pm BST, Sunday August 4th.