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Doctor Who: Why Paul Bettany should play The Doctor


The one, the only...Geof..frey...Chaucer!

Should Paul Bettany be the new Doctor Who?

The new Doctor will reportedly revealed on Sunday 4 August 2013, at 7pm; news which would send any right-minded person crazy with anticipation. (You'd probably have to be as crazy as John Simm's Master to *not* be excited about Doctor Who...)

There's been much speculation as to who the 12th Doctor could be, ranging from Rory Kinnear to Burn Gorman to Patterson Joseph (apparently the favourite to play the 11th Doctor before Matt Smith got the role). While many of these possibilities are intriguing, there's one name that hasn't been spoken of enough in connection of the role of The Doctor:

Paul Bettany.

And here's why he'd be perfect to play The Doctor, one of the best, most complex, and most entertaining roles of all time:

He's Geoffrey Chaucer.

Regardless of how well or otherwise the character may be as a representation of the historical writer, Chaucer is awesome as a character in A Knight's Tale. While the film features plenty of great characters, Chaucer arguably steals the show with his quick wit and rousing speeches; two things that are key for the role of The Doctor, especially since Russell T. Davies rebooted the show. Though a lot of credit has to go to writer-director-producer Brian Helgeland's brilliant script, Paul Bettany brings the role to life, mesmerising audiences both onscreen and off with his eloquent yet rabble-rousing speeches.

bettany chaucerAnother quality that Paul Bettany has in spades, again best displayed in A Knight's Tale as Geoffrey Chaucer, is the ability to jump from one tone to another seemingly seamlessly. Throughout the film he goes from intensity to comedy and back again, and even goes from a whisper to rabble-rousing bellowing in a single speech, and it's nonetheless a consistently vivid portrayal of the character.

Not only does the role show that he's got the necessary acting chops, but it would also be awesome on an inter-textual level. It would be Geoffrey Chaucer playing The Doctor! Double geek-out!

No other actor has been cast in the role of The Doctor already established in such an iconic role. (Though Matt Smith was a virtual unknown when he was cast, and he rocked the part, so it's by no means necessary.) One could argue that it might overshadow the role, but when you're talking about overshadowing with awesomeness, one can hardly complain on a pure geekiness level. It's like Samuel L. Jackson in Star Wars.

Another possible downside of him being Geoffrey Chaucer, however, is that if Ron Moore's A Knight's Tale TV series gets going, he'd probably have to a regular (and should be, given that he's the best character), which would inevitably cause scheduling issues. (Except that The Doctor is a Timelord, so wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey, scheduley-wedulely.) That aside, the two shows would both benefit viewership-wise, and they'd no doubt be two of the most awesome programmes on TV, so it would be really cool to have the same awesome actor starring in both. Of course, it wouldn't happen in the real world, but it's a cool idea. (And if Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had Tony Stark loan J.A.R.V.I.S. to S.H.I.E.L.D., he could be on *three* of the most awesome shows on TV...)

Which brings us to our next point:

He's also the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S. in the Marvel cinematic universe (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Avengers, and Iron Man 3, so far). While it's only a small role, he nevertheless brings a refreshingly dry sense of humour to the part.

And he plays Dustfinger in Inkheart, a compelling, tragic anti-hero. This would fit well with Steven Moffat's exploration of the darker side of the character.

He's also already played a Doctor (that is, Doctor Steven Maturin in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, opposite Russell Crowe). Admittedly, it's a tenuous link, but he was great in the role; as in his other roles. Which brings us the next point:


Whichever role Paul Bettany is cast in, he seems to bring a kind of understated gravitas to it. The man is probably incapable of a bad performance. And he's more than capable of great ones.

See also:

Matt Smith to quit Doctor Who

Battlestar Galactica's Ron Moore to make A Knight's Tale TV series


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