- Kris Marshall rose to fame thanks to his role as Nick Harper in the BBC sitcom My Family. He then appeared in the film Love Actually and almost made commercial breaks appealing by starring in numerous television advertisements for BT. Marshall's most recent lead role was in BBC One's Death in Paradise, but he has recently left the show.
- Tilda Swinton is a fiercely talented actress with a wealth of acting experience. The 56-year-old may not be a household name, but she has been appearing on the silver screen since the mid-1980s and will be familiar to fans of The Chronicles of Narnia series for her portrayal of the White Witch. Also a model and fashion muse, Swinton has been tipped by the bookmakers and could be one to watch.
- Olivia Colman played Sophie Chapman in Peep Show for more than a decade, and has also been a regular cast member in Green Wing, Rev, Twenty Twelve and Broadchurch, to name just some of her television projects. On the big screen, she has appeared in a variety of movies, including Hot Fuzz, and she won the Golden Globe Award for her supporting actress role in The Night Manager.
- Maxine Peake first made a name for herself by appearing alongside Victoria Wood in the BBC sitcom Dinnerladies, before heading for over to Channel 4 for a stint on Shameless. The 42-year-old also has experience of appearing on the silver screen following her role in the 2014 smash hit The Theory of Everything.
- Richard Ayoade is most famous for his role of Maurice Moss in the Channel 4 sitcom The IT Crowd, but he has appeared in many other shows, including Garth Marenghi's Darkplace (which he co-created, co-wrote and directed), The Mighty Boosh and Gadget Man.
- Other contenders for the role of The Doctor (according to the bookies, and at longer odds), include Danny Dyer (20/1), who currently plays Mick Carter in Eastenders, Robert Carlyle (20/1), who has most recently reprised his role as Francis ‘Franco’ Begbie in T2 Trainspotting, and Benedict Cumberbatch (33/1), who has the starring role in the BBC drama Sherlock and also played the title role in the 2016 movie Doctor Strange.
Betting in markets such as this is always fraught with difficulties, as actors may be deemed right for a role by producers, and may even want to play it, but could easily be constrained by contractual obligations elsewhere. Others may not be interested in the role even if the show’s producers and members of the general public agree that they would be perfect for it.
Those caveats aside, we feel that the fairly serious tone which Capaldi has brought to the latest incarnation of The Doctor may now be followed up with one that is richer in comedic elements. That makes Kris Marshall, Olivia Colman and Richard Ayoade strong contenders.
If the producers are looking to introduce the world to the first female incarnation of The Doctor, then Tilda Swinton would be our selection, but we aren’t convinced that they will do that, so Marshall and Ayoade are the more likely options. We can’t quite imagine Ayoade as The Doctor without thinking of Moss, but Marshall will be free after leaving Death in Paradise and could be one to watch.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Kris Marshall to be the next Doctor – 6/5
*Please note that odds may fluctuate in the run-up to regeneration.