Speculation has ramped up about who will replace Peter Capaldi as The Doctor, following his resignation from Doctor Who

Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi has decided to quit his role as the Time Lord, sparking speculation about who will take on one of British TV’s most iconic roles.

Could this mean that the show finally gets a female lead? The bookies favourites are James Bond star Ben Whishaw (pictured) and former IT Crowd actor Richard Ayoade.

Doctor Who
Who will be moving in to the Tardis? (BBC)

 

Executive producer Steven Moffat has suggested a future regeneration of the Doctor could also be a woman, previously saying: “I think the next time might be a female Doctor. I don’t see why not.”

Michelle Gomez was the first female incarnation of the Doctor’s nemesis Missy (formerly the Master).

Here are some of the actors and actresses who could be in line for the top sci-fi role.

Ben Whishaw

The actor, who played tech wizard Q in Bond blockbusters Spectre and Skyfall, has previously been mentioned as a leading contender for the role and is one of the bookies’ favourite.

 

Olivia Colman

Olivia Colman
Will Olivia Colman be the first female Doctor? (Ian West/PA)

New Doctor Who boss Chris Chibnall has been working with Colman on his other show, Broadchurch. MP Yvette Cooper is among her fans, once saying that seeing the award-winning actress playing the Doctor would be ‘ace’.

 

Richard Ayoade

Richard Ayoade
Richard Ayoade could bring a comic edge (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The comedian, actor and director earned legions of fans and a TV Bafta for his portrayal of lovable geek Maurice Moss in hit Channel 4 sitcom The IT Crowd. He has humorous, quirky edge to his on-screen persona.

 

Hayley Atwell

Hayley Atwell
Hayley Atwell has said she is interested (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The Agent Carter and Captain America actress has previously said she would love the role. Asked by a fan whether she would like to appear in the BBC sci-fi series, she tweeted in 2015: “I’d like to be Doctor Who”.

 

Rory Kinnear

Rory Kinnear
Rory Kinnear doesn’t claim to be a fan (Ian West/PA)

The 38-year-old, who has appeared in several Bond films, said in 2013 he had never watched Doctor Who and had no idea what it was all about, but was once tipped to take over from Matt Smith as the Doctor.

 

Billie Piper

Billie Piper
Could Billie Piper be in line for a Doctor Who promotion? (Yui Mok/PA)

Could the actress, who previously played companion Rose Tyler, return as the Time Lord?

 

Ben Daniels

Ben Daniels
Ben Daniels has been in the frame once before (Matthew Fearn/PA)

The Cutting It actor once said he had been approached, adding: “I was asked, and when I eventually managed to peel myself off the ceiling, I said, ‘Yeah, of course it’d be something I’d be interested in doing’, and I was hugely excited by it.”

 

David Harewood

David Harewood
David Harewood says the role would be exciting (Hannah McKay/PA)

The ex-Homeland star would be the first non-white lead in the hit drama. “It would be very exciting if the phone rang. I doubt it somehow,” he has previously said.

Rupert Grint

Rupert Grint
Could we see Rupert Grint as the Doctor? (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The ex-Harry Potter star, 28, was tipped as a possible replacement for Matt Smith in 2013.