HE may have only just turned 18, but Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is the bookies’ favourite to be the new Doctor Who.
Ladbrokes are offering odds of 3/1 that Radcliffe will take over as the Time Lord if David Tennant steps down after the next series, which is produced by BBC Wales.
If Radcliffe lands the role, he will be the youngest ever Doctor Who. Peter Davison currently holds that accolade – he was just 31 when he took over in 1982.
Tennant, 36, is currently filming the fourth series of Doctor Who to be made since Swansea writer Russell T Davies resurrected the programme in 2004. The new episodes will be aired in spring 2008.
The programme will take a break in 2009 as Tennant is to play Hamlet with the Royal Shakespeare Company, but there are doubts as to whether he will return to the role.
There is now strong speculation as to who will take over in 2010 and among the other favourites are Jekyll actor James Nesbitt, who has odds of 5/1, Band Of Brothers star Damian Lewis at 6/1 and Welsh actor Rhys Ifans at 8/1.
Bets are also being placed on a female becoming the new doctor and Welsh actress Ruth Jones, who co-wrote the BBC hit comedy Gavin and Stacey, is at 25/1.
A spokesman for Ladbrokes said, “Television betting continues to go from strength and we anticipate that the search for Doctor Who will really capture punters’ imaginations.
“Daniel Radcliffe’s got the Doctor Who look and we think he’s the man to beat.”
But TV critic and Doctor Who fan Elaine Penn believes that Ifans would make a far more suitable Doctor Who.
“Rhys Ifans would be great as he is quite quirky,” said Penn, who is features editor of TV Choice.
“He showed a serious side to him when he played Peter Cook in a TV drama but we’ve also seen his fun side in Notting Hill.
“I think they should definitely look in Wales for the next Doctor Who.”
Penn says she won’t be putting any money on Radcliffe, even though he’s bookies’ favourite.
“I think Daniel Radcliffe is too young. He’s a good actor and will have teen appeal but you have to be a certain age to pull off that role.”
Penn admits she’s a huge fan of Tennant and says it is difficult to imagine anyone else stepping into his shoes now.
“You do get used to someone playing Doctor Who and when David came along people did wonder how he would be able to take over from Christopher Eccleston but look at him now.”
Swansea actress Helen Griffin, who appeared in two episodes of Doctor Who last year alongside Tennant, is also flying the flag for Ifans.
“Rhys Ifans is always fantastic – he’s a brilliant actor,” said Griffin, who was in the episodes which saw the return of the Cybermen. “He would bring some anarchy to Doctor Who. He also has good solid socialist principles and that would be good to play the Doctor.”
But she would also like to see renowned stage actor Simon Russell Beale step into the Time Lord’s shoes.
“He has done masses of work with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre but he has yet to break into television and film,” she said.
“He is just a revelation to watch on stage. I think he’s the best actor in Britain.”
Director Ashley Way, who has directed episodes of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood, is also backing Ifans.
“I think he has the right attitude – and he’s Welsh,” said Way.
Want to bet?
Best known for: Playing schoolboy wizard Harry Potter and stripping on stage in Equus.
Best known for: His role as laid-back Adam in the hit ITV comedy drama Cold Feet. Most recently seen in the new TV series Jekyll.
Best known for: Appearing in hit TV dramas, The Forsyte Saga and Band Of Brothers.
Best known for: Playing Hugh Grant’s slummy flatmate Spike in Notting Hill and winning a Bafta for his portrayal of Peter Cook in the TV drama Not Only But Always.
Best known for: Co-creating the hit BBC sketch show Little Britain with his comedy partner Matt Lucas.
Best known for: His leading roles in British rom-coms, including Four Weddings And A Funeral and Notting Hill. He was also a hit as “bad boy” Daniel Cleaver in Bridget Jones’s Diary.
Best known for: Cult Channel 4 comedy Phoenix Nights. He also had a cameo role in Coronation Street.
Best known for: Presenting the Big Brother spin-off, Big Brother’s Big Mouth, and wearing skinny jeans and waistcoats. He is now carving out a career as an actor and appears in the film St Trinian’s.
Best known for: Appearing in TV series Fat Friends, Gavin And Stacey, which she co-wrote, and playing barmaid Myfanwy in Little Britain.
John Barrowman + kissing skills
The Out-backed Popnography has leaked a few steamy details excised from the published John Barrowman interview. Here’s a taste:
"Alexis Denisof is a very good kisser. Also a very good kisser at the moment is James Marsters. But — I shouldn’t have revealed that to you. Can I give you another? [Out Ed. note: The loose-lipped Marsters, who will appear on the second season of Torchwood, recently told fans that Barrowman was a better kisser than Sarah Michelle Gellar.] I did A Few Good Men [in London theater] with Rob Lowe. I didn’t kiss him but I would have liked to. He knows I’d like to kiss him."
Barrowman also wants to screw Wentworth Miller (who wouldn’t?) and thinks British boys are better kissers than Americans.