TV News

Doctor Who’s 12th Doctor – Rory Kinnear Rumored as Matt Smith’s Replacement

Update: 6/21/2013-The 2013 Christmas Special was supposed to begin shooting next month thus meaning it was expected they would announce the new Doctor around then so as to avoid the news being spoiled by any type of photo of the new actor in costume on set.  However, the Radio Times reports that filming has been pushed back a month, and as such an announcement about who will play the new Doctor shouldn’t be expected until late August or even September (via

Update: 6/15/2013 – The BBC has now officially denied the rumor that they have offered the role of the 12th Doctor to Rory Kinnear.  Moreover, Domhnall Gleeson and Dominic Cooper have responded to the Starburst Magazine report about them by claiming they have not received a single call from the BBC about the role, your basic “I’m flattered, but I have no idea where this came from.”  

Who the hell is Rory Kinnear?  Who the hell is Mandrake? And why is Russell Tovey composing poems about Doctor Who on Twitter?

That’s right – we are a full week removed from Matt Smith’s announced departure from Doctor Who, and things got a little wibbly wobbly over the weekend.  There is not a single shred of evidence to support any of the claims which have been made, and after Matt Smith’s name never came up until literally the morning of the day he was announced it is best to ignore all of this nonsense.  However, if you can’t resist here’s what went down:

Friday (6/7): Starburst Magazine reported that a UK newspaper had discovered who the BBC has cast as the new Doctor and was going to run the story on Sunday.  As such, the BBC was going to beat the paper to press by announcing the new Doctor Saturday night.  Starburst went on to report their sources indicated a photoshoot with the new Doctor and a Tardis prop had been completed. While offering the observation “we can’t really be sure that these three are in the running at all” Starburst further reported they’d been told the three finalists for the role were ones no one had guessed: Domhnall GleesonDaniel Kaluuya, and Dominic Cooper [see my previous article, I KNEW Dmhnall Gleeson’s name was going to come up eventually].

Saturday (6/8): The BBC’s official Doctor Who Twitter feed made a brief announcement in the early AM hours.  It read: “We can confirm there is no #DoctorWho announcement planned for today.”

Sunday (6/9):  The UK Newspaper The Telegraph reported that Rory Kinnear has officially been offered the role of the 12th Doctor.  The report was attributed to the paper’s gossip column Mandrake, which is a long-standing gossip column with a known editor but a variety of sources of gossip whose reports are all identified by the code name Mandrake.  So, according to Mandrake, Rory Kinnnear “has been offered the part and we are waiting to hear if he will accept; He is the perfect choice.”

Since then, there has been no official confirmation or denial [update: see the top of the post for BBC’s official denial] on the part of the BBC, anyone at Doctor Who, or Rory Kinnear.  Sources other than The Telegraph are saying Kinnear has now accepted the role.  Rumors of a connection between Kinnear and Doctor Who have been around for at least a couple of months, going back to April when the corresponding rumors of Smith’s impending departure began.  In an interview with The Independent, when Kinnear was asked about it he claimed to have never seen Doctor Who and offered, “I think I’m being used as a decoy on that front … It’s the first I’ve heard!”

If this speculative image from The Mirror alarms you, i.e., you cannot picture this guy as the Doctor, worry not – this is all probably bullshit. Photo credit:

Kinnear is most known for playing Bill Tanner, the assistant to Judi Dench’s M character in the most recent James Bond films, Skyfall and Quantum of Solace.  So, if it helps imagine his name as James Bond-style, “Kinnear, Rory Kinnear.” He also has over a decade of British television work to his name. At first glance, he has the appearance of someone you’d more expect to play a UNIT foot soldier than the Doctor.

Now, everyone is scrambling to react to the Telegraph’s report.  Insider sources speaking anonymously to the UK paper The Daily Mirror indicate, “We’re still at the start of the search.”  However, the British bookies aren’t buying it, with Ladbrokes having now closed off all bets on who might be cast as the next Doctor. [Update: Which of course, also means next to nothing.  According to, Ladbrokes suspended all bets on David Walliams being Tennant’s replacement back in 2008.  Say it with me now: Who the hell is David Walliams?  The guy who didn’t get the part, that’s who].

Doctor Who Gala Screening - London
And you thought the many jokes the show made about Eccleston’s ears were bad, it would have been nothing compared to what they would have done with Tovey.

Kinnear’s is not the only name to have come up recently.  In April, Russell Tovey told The Independent that he did actually audition to replace David Tennant, but was relieved when Smith beat him for the role because “I don’t know what I would have done with all the attention.”  With his name again popping up in reaction to Smith leaving, Tovey offered the following observation through his Twitter account, “Doctor doctor? Who’s there? Russell Tovey? Russell Tovey, Isn’t he gonna be the new twelfth Doctor Who? No.”

Of course, it is advisable at this point to trust absolutely nothing you read, even an actor’s denial on Twitter, until the BBC has made an official announcement.  Personally, I prefer that when the time comes for the BBC to announce the new Doctor we react with a genuine, “Oh, I did not see that coming?” as opposed to “Oh, that guy everyone said it was going to be.”  This is a viewpoint somewhat echoed last week by author Neil Gaiman, who wrote the classic season six episode “The Doctor’s Wife.” Check out his post at for is rather well-articulated take on preferring that a relatively unknown actor get the role.

It is worth noting, again since I wrote about it elsewhere on the site, that prior to Matt Smith being cast everyone was positive the role was either going to Patterson Joseph or Robert Carlyle.

Rory Kinnear could very well end up being just the latest in a long line of “rumored to have been offered/considered for the role of the Doctor” actors.  Or in 2014 the Tardis could get its first Rory since Arhur Darville’s Rory Williams left halfway through season 7.  Considering how all of this is all based in unfounded rumor with one paper reporting something an unnamed source said and one paper retorting with something an unnamed source said let’s calm down and wait for the next crazy rumor.

So, have I talked you down from the crazy train?  Or are you still struggling to imagine Kinnear as the Doctor (even though that’s kind of how we’re always supposed to react to a new Doctor) and finding it upsetting?  Take to the comments section..


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