Doctor Who: who is Michael Sheen and will he replace Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor?

As Jodie Whittaker announced that she will be stepping down as the beloved British sci-fi hero, rumours are flying as to whether Welsh actor Michael Sheen could replace her as the Doctor.

By Liv McMahon
Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 1:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 1:04 pm
Doctor Who: who is Michael Sheen and will he replace Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor? (Image: Getty Images, Ian West/PA Wire, Alan Clarke/BBC Studios)
Doctor Who: who is Michael Sheen and will he replace Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor? (Image: Getty Images, Ian West/PA Wire, Alan Clarke/BBC Studios)

With Jodie Whittaker recently confirming rumours about her departure from Doctor Who after four years in the leading role, fans are eagerly awaiting the announcement of who the next Doctor could be.

Whittaker confirmed that she would be leaving the show after the next series in 2021, with several big names including Olly Alexander, Michaela Coel, Richard Ayoade and Ben Whishaw tipped for the leading role in the much-loved BBC sci-fi series.

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But Welsh actor Michael Sheen has now emerged as another name in the running for the role – here’s what you need to know.

Who is Michael Sheen?

Michael Sheen is a 52-year-old actor born in Newport, Wales who trained to be an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) in London before appearing in a number of classical West End theatre roles.

Since making his theatre debut in the early 1990s, Sheen has starred in a number of leading roles across British TV and film, most famously portraying former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair in The Deal (2003) and The Queen (2006).

Sheen earned a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of Tony Blair alongside Helen Mirren’s performance of Queen Elizabeth II.

While Sheen was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year’s Honour List in 2009, he revealed last year that he had ‘handed back’ the accolade.

He told journalist Owen Jones: “I didn't mean any disrespect but I just realised I'd be a hypocrite if I said the things I was going to say in the lecture about the nature of the relationship between Wales and the British state."

Most recently starring alongside David Tennant in Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens and as Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? host Chris Tarrant in ITV’s Quiz.

Could Michael Sheen become the new Doctor?

According to a poll of more than 10,000 people, Michael Sheen was the most popular choice of Whittaker’s replacement as the Doctor.

Sheen took first place in the poll with 20% of the votes, beating out Richard Ayoade, Holby City’s Jo Martin, Andrew Scott and Colin Morgan.

While It’s a Sin’s Olly Alexander had previously been considered a fan favourite to replace Whittaker as the eponymous Doctor Who star, Alexander received just 4% of the votes in the magazine’s poll. editorial director Tim Glanfield said: "Doctor Who's lead role is one of the most iconic and coveted in British television and therefore any vacancy creates a huge amount of speculation amongst fans and across the TV industry.

"Clearly Michael Sheen is a popular choice, and no one can fault his brilliant acting prowess - but with a long history of secrecy and surprises at Doctor Who HQ when it comes to casting, we might have a bit of a wait until we find out who will be flying the Tardis next."

When is the next Doctor Who series coming out?

The 13th series of Doctor Who is expected to arrive this autumn, with the trailer for the next series having dropped in July.

Comedian John Bishop is set to join Jodie Whittaker in her final series since she took over from Scottish actor Peter Capaldi as the first female Doctor in 2017.

Bishop is set to star as a loveable character who gets mixed up in the Doctor’s adventures alongside Yaz, played by Mandip Gill.

Additional reporting by PA Reporter Tom Horton

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