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Latest Doctor Who Rumor For Jodie Whittaker's Replacement Is Wild, But Actually Makes Sense

13th Doctor, Yasmin and Dan in Doctor Who Season 13
(Image credit: BBC America)

The way that Doctor Who fans, insiders and the stars themselves have been speculating about Jodie Whittaker's replacement for so long, a non-viewer might be convinced that her and showrunner Chris Chibnall's final installments had already come and gone. But their final two specials are still on the way in 2022, with that second one serving as the regeneration special introducing the 14th Doctor. With all the predictions currently floating around, it’s currently impossible to tell who will take over the role for Russell T. Davies’ exciting return as showrunner for Season 14, but one rather left-of-center rumor points to a big-screen star more commonly known for romantic comedy roles: Hugh Grant. 

While nothing has officially been confirmed behind the scenes regarding the next Doctor Who lead, the Mirror reported there are “conversations” taking place regarding the possibility of Four Weddings and a Funeral star Hugh Grant becoming the next Time Lord in 2023 and beyond. With the idea that Grant would bring a “fresh feel” to the role, the outlet’s insider claimed:

He offers many attributes – great actor, British, award-winning, Hollywood A-lister and excellent at comedy. Conversations are in progress.

By all means, Hugh Grant is familiar to film and TV viewers around the world in ways that past Doctor Who leads haven’t been. And that’s just one reason why this seemingly oddball choice actually makes sense.

Hugh Grant Could Bring Both New And Former Viewers To The Franchise

 

Considering the recent seasons from Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker saw new lows for series viewerships and ratings stats, it would make a lot of sense for the BBC to at least entertain the idea of bringing in a globally renowned star to take over as Fourteen. Especially for an era that will presumably bring more familiar elements back into the series following Chibnall’s intentional efforts to change things up for his run. Of course, producers could go this route with hundreds of other stars beyond Hugh Grant, especially if diversity is still a driving factor, but familiarity isn’t the only reason why Grant is a sensible choice.

Hugh Grant Technically Already Played The Doctor Over 20 Years Ago 

Back in 1999, the year Hugh Grant released both Mickey Blue Eyes and Notting Hill, he also took part in that year’s highly celebrated Red Nose Day special Doctor Who: The Curse of Fatal Death, which also starred Rowan Atkinson, Richard E. Grant, Joanna Lumley and Jim Broadbent. 

Hugh Grant as Doctor Who in Comic Relief 1999

(Image credit: BBC)

The era-connecting special featured the Undoing star as “The Handsome Doctor” whose survival was not so long-lasting. But I don’t think anyone would look at that moment as such hard-nosed canon that the actor couldn’t return as a different, albeit still handsome, Doctor for Season 14.

Russell T. Davies Wanted Hugh Grant As The Reboot’s First Doctor 

Back in 2005, when Doctor Who was first set to return to television after a 16-year hiatus, Hugh Grant (and the aforementioned Rowan Atkinson) was one of the first actors that reboot spearheader Russell T. Davies reached out to regarding the starring role, which eventually went to Christopher Eccleston. Grant later expressed some regrets about not taking the role, saying this, according to Digital Spy

I was offered the role of the Doctor a few years back and was highly flattered. The danger with those things is that it's only when you see it on screen that you think, 'Damn, that was good, why did I say no?' But then, knowing me, I'd probably make a mess of it.

So while none of these factors serve as proper proof that Hugh Grant will indeed agree to take on a Doctor Who role for Season 14 and possibly more, it all helps to make the rumor less ridiculous and more legitimate. And it’s entirely possible that Russell T. Davies will find a way to bring Hugh Grant into Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary special without actually casting him as the future Time Lord. After all, it’s also rumored that David Tennant will be involved with that special, so the sky is the limit until actual details start to jump from the grapevine to real life.

While another fan-friendly hopeful in Michael Sheen has already denied any future involvement with Doctor Who, we’ll have to wait and see if Hugh Grant responds to these latest rumors. In the meantime, stay tuned for more news about the upcoming Easter-centric special and the regeneration special, and head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what else is on the way soon.

Nick Venable
Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.