Joe Crilly, a spokesman for betting company William Hill, said:
Peter Capaldi was not even in our list a few days ago but he has been the subject of a lot of betting interest recently and this gamble would suggest that if he does not have the part already, he is almost certainly on the shortlist.
Capaldi is best known as the acerbic Malcolm Tucker from The Thick Of It, though he has appeared in Doctor Who before as Roman merchant Lucius Caecilius in The Fires of Pompeii, and more prominently as the Home Office Permanent Secretary John Frobisher in Torchwood: Children of Earth.
The actor revealed he was a fan of the show back in 2008 when he spoke to SFX about his forthcoming appearance in Pompeii:
When I was a kid, being a huge fan, I wrote numerous letters to the Doctor Who office largely inquiring about how the show was made. I was thrilled to have delivered to me a large package from the BBC containing two full studio scripts for the Jon Pertwee serial The Mutants, which they were making at the time. The package also contained set designs and studio floor plans for these episodes and a delightful letter from Barry Letts giving me an idea what all this stuff was. It was a fantastic exciting insight into both Doctor Who and television production generally. I had never seen a script in any form whatsoever before then and was immediately fascinated by the documents. And of course Barry’s kindness was a trigger to my ambition to work somehow (I didn’t know how) in TV. The scripts are still sitting on my bookshelf downstairs.In light of his sudden association with the role, the Radio Times has also found an archive letter from a 15-year old Peter Capaldi congratulating them on the 10th Anniversary Special!
Odds had been temporarily suspended on 9th June, with betting company Coral informing Doctor Who News that "We've suspended betting on the next Doctor Who, following a rush of bets on Rory Kinnear in the last 24 hours.". This came about after Sunday newspapers such as the Telegraph had reported that the actor had been offered the role. Kinnear strongly denied this, saying:
I don’t know where it came from and how these things evolve - I haven’t been, and I am totally certain that I will not, be asked to be the next Doctor Who. If I was an actor who was really longing to play Doctor Who, then this would be torturous, but it’s a programme I’ve never watched, so I don’t even really know what it is.Any likelihood of his casting seems to have been quashed this morning after the announcement of his lead role in ITV's Lucan, which films next month.
June also saw another favourite emerge with Capaldi's co-star in The Thick of It, Chris Addison, causing William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams to observe:
We have seen a good old fashioned gamble on Chris Addison today, with a number of three figure bets placed. Gambles such as these normally have some substance and I would think he is on the shortlist.It is believed that the flurry of interest in the actor came about after singer Paloma Faith tweeted "A friend who works on Doctor Who says that Chris Addison is replacing Matt Smith - WOW". Acknowledging the interest in his potential as the Doctor, the comic actor appeared during the recording of the comedy news panel show Mock The Week in suitable attire (however this was not shown on its transmission on 13th June).
Luther star Idris Elba ruled himself out of the running, with the Radio Times reporting that when asked at the preview (20 June) he joked: "I’d look silly in a bow tie!". Meanwhile, on television David Harewood told Loose Women (ITV, 18 June): "It would be really difficult to turn down, it would be very exciting if the phone rang - but I doubt it!"
Former companion Bonnie Langford was asked on The Wright Stuff (C5, 28 June), if she thought the show would work with a female lead:
The thing about Doctor Who, the reason it's been successful is that it has no limits, and basically it's a story about good overcoming evil - and to be honest you could probably do anything with it. As long as it's written well - they've proved in this new series it is the writing and the production and the casting that makes it good - so to be honest as long as you write it with a certain sense of integrity and fun, I think it could survive anything.John Barrowman commented at the recent San Diego Comic Con:
I think it's about time that we have a female Doctor, because the majority of the fans are girls, let's have a girl and see what happens - because if it doesn't work, the beauty of Doctor Who is that (they can use) regeneration and out you go!However, Helen Mirren flatly denied that she would be the first female Doctor when asked on Daybreak (ITV, 3 July):
I'm not going to be the first female Doctor, absolutely not. I wouldn't contemplate that. But, I do think it's time to have a female Doctor - I think a gay, black, female Doctor Who would be the best of all!