As Russell T Davies’ It’s a Sin launches on Channel 4 (UK TV), he had the brilliant notion of LOTS of mini shared universe spin offs as the way to save Doctor Who…
..Sadly, elsewhere..nobody got that memo. Coz the bookies are placing good odds on MICHAEL SHEEN to be the new Doc. Fine. I get it. He’s a great actor.
He is big, bold, brash, beardy and Welsh. A friend of DAVID TENNANT. Comes with his own mini brand. Except that is exactly why you do NOT cast Sheen or make the next iteration of the show rest on him alone.
Here’s also, why:
- I do not like him. Sorry. Blame the recent Twitter episode where he explained to me why he was engaging with /against/baiting Trump supporters via oh so clever 1984 quotes. Yawn.
- He’s too big a name and would not come cheap. They need that extra cash for decent writers and special effects.
- Chances are, he would play it like Tennant, his chum. Which is precisely the mistake they made with poor old Jodie. This is the kind of myopia that afflicted the brand in the 80s and 90s wilderness when people assumed Dr Who = Tom Baker = scarf. Either move on from Tennant or just rehire Tennant and park big money truck outside his house.
- Yes, Dr Who = eccentric. Outsider. Etc. Except that today, the outsider is yesterday’s normal. Odd and weird today is not sporting a rainbow banner and declaring your 17 shades of gender. You can be cool and kind without doing all that and the Doctor, this time, would be MORE alien, ironically, by being a fairly ‘normal’ boy or girl, of any race. Sporty, sexy, clever, youthful yet distinguished and/or vice versa. Casting that way need not isolate the ‘whacky’ brigade so much as just integrate their more reserved counterparts, without compromising sex appeal or charisma.
So by all means use the guy. And his beard and jumper. But as a baddie. Or a rival timelord /mentor or one off parallel dimension Doctor. Or cast him as a real life historical character (Sheen is awesome at that). He IS a GREAT actor: as in sublime! Just all too easy, rushed, predictable and potentially, damaging imho, to a Doctor Who brand in need of urgent rest and then reinvention.
Meantime: IT’S A SIN starts tonight: now THAT is great television (This Life meets Queer as Folk via Torch Song Trilogy..thank you, Russell T!).