So, now that Matt Smith has been pulled out of the Edward Cullen Runners-up Pile and has had his eyebrows properly removed for publicity stills, the race to cast his companion is on. Lily Allen has an early mention as someone producers want to see, but if The Powers That Be are reluctant to cast two spunky pop tarts in a row, it’s not like there’s a dearth of actual actors in the world. Here are some suggestions for the Doctor’s new companion.
1. Nina Sosanya
She’s been a fixture on British TV for years, and picks up bit roles in movies like Love Actually, but Sosanya’s overdue for a breakout role. She has the confidence (and the bone structure) to hold her own against even the most chiseled Time Lord. Her acting chops and deadpan deliveries are just what this Doctor ordered. (Bonus points for getting her foot in the door with a guest spot in season two. Given how this show works, that was basically a screen test.)
Eileen Atkins would make a wonderful tag-along companion, if she could be coaxed off the stage long enough to do it. She excels at the brisk politico type with a twinkle in her eyes—just the sort of lady you want when you’re in the middle of intergalactic debates. Plus, she’s slightly older than the Doctor, which counteracts the Jonas Brothers Effect, and means she’d be able to put the Doctor in his place, and co-sign on any car rentals they might need while traveling through space and time.
Enough with the sassy sidekicks. It’s about time the Doctor went toe-to-toe with another scientist. Pull a bill and Ted and bring along an actual historical figure—someone who isn’t intimidated by a little TARDIS. Thomas Edison doesn’t even need to sleep, he is THAT good. Who has a Sonic Screwdriver now, dude?
Pros: Another British stalwart, he has plenty of experience in front of the camera, plus the uncanny comic timing that landed him a starring role in the short-lived and much-missed Keen Eddie. He knows how to rock a beautiful suit, which someone will have to do if the Doctor’s going to insist on a J. Crew sweater and sport coat all the time, and he walks the tightrope between sardonic and hapless like a master.
Cons: This show is sort of hitting 160% on its quota of white dudes.
If you’re going to court the 18-24 demographic, do it right—make the pop-tart sidekick as young as possible without violating child labor laws, and make her American. Have them pine for each other at a distance of five paces as the camera swoops around them, and rake in those merchandising dollars! Think action figures, picture books, and CDs—nothing like a musical number to lighten the mood when you’re facing off against six dozen Cybermen.
6. A Dalek
It’s about time the Doctor learned to let bygones be bygones; bringing a Dalek on board would give his first season a politically-charged dynamic that would keep viewers on the edge of their seats (think BSG), and would cut down on the costs of another actor in the role. The Dalek (suggested character name: Dali) would win over audiences at last in the time-travel episode when they end up stranded in Victorian England and the Dalek complains about the weight of his frock and how he wants to exterminate his hat.
7. Colin Salmon
The Doctor of my heart. Make good on the promise of that guest stint and give him something he can really chew on; I know he can do it. Go get ’em, tiger.
8. Lily Allen
You know what? It could work. Anyone who’s willing to wear a pink prom dress with bullet-riddled Bambis on it sort of has what it takes, you know?