A new Doctor could be announced as early as next month, according to the Radio Times.
A BBC source told the publication that the search for Matt Smith‘s replacement is underway, and revealed that an announcement may come before filming begins on the Doctor Who Christmas specials next month (July).
The source added that show bosses feel it would be impossible to keep the identity of the new Doctor a secret – even if the entire set was under lockdown – and plan to make the announcement to avoid embarrassment.
“The search has now begun in earnest and is active now,” the insider told the BBC-funded publication, adding that the show creators had not yet ruled out the possibility of a female Doctor.
The 12th Doctor will be decided by Steven Moffat, Danny Cohen, the BBC’s new head of television, controller of drama commissioning Ben Stephenson, casting director Andy Pryor and the show’s incoming executive producer Brian Minchin. A new series, expected to be 12 episodes long, is due to begin filming in the autumn.
Matt Smith announced he was quitting the long-running sci-fi drama last weekend, saying his experience playing the iconic role for four years had been the “most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke.”
He added: “I’m incredibly grateful to all the cast and crew who work tirelessly every day, to realise all the elements of the show and deliver Doctor Who to the audience. Many of them have become good friends and I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the last four years.”
Matt Smith first appeared as the 11th Doctor in the New Year’s Day episode in 2010, replacing David Tennant in the role. He was the youngest ever Doctor and only actor to be nominated for a BAFTA playing the character. The BBC has said Smith’s “spectacular exit” is yet to be revealed but added that it would be “kept tightly under wraps”.