(*Above: Uh-oh, here comes trouble… The Operative arrives to kidnap Inara)
If UK gossip merchent Holy Moly is to be believed and Chiwetel Ejiofor had already turned down the role of the next Doctor Who (now gone to Matt Smith, of whom the producers/writers said “we knew we’d found our doctor” when he showed up as their third audtionee) then it’s possibly a very great shame indeed, and could rate as one of those “the greatest … who never…” missed opportunities.
Holy Moly describes Chiwetel Ejiofor as a Shakesperian actor – something which whilst true, actually ignores a superb film role of his which could give clues as to how intense and profound a performance he could have brought to the show.
I’m talking of his part as “The Operative”, a sociopathic assassin tracking down River Tam on behalf of the Alliance in the Joss Whedon’s superb “Serenity” – the big screen outing of the much-missed Firefly mob.
The Operative was clearly unhinged and completely principled *and* unprincipled – a truly dangerous and fascinating character who brought down seven tons of shit on Mal, his crew and anybody they knew, throughout the course of the movie.
That kind of intensity played with utter cold conviction and calmness and purpose would have been an excellent marker for possibilities with the Doctor, and given the current incumbent’s penchant for SHOUTING A LOT and getting quite emotionally messy and pulling staggering faces, becoming overwrought and then GETTING A BIT SHOUTY AGAIN, Ejiofor might well have also been a genuinely interesting departure.
Ah well – guess we’ll never know.
(*Above – the new Doctor: like the current one… only more so…)
In what cynics might regard as a marketing rather than a genuinely creative decision, the 11th Doctor appears to be a younger and probably more fey version of the current one.
Matt Smith, who will take over from David Tennant in 2010, does seem to tick a lot of “demographic” boxes and will probably lead to a lot of grumbling over the youngness, whiteness and maleness of the choice until he hits the screens and we can all make a proper judgement. Let’s be honest, about the only surprise in the choice is not the aesthetics of it all, but the fact that the guy is largely unknown.
Got to admit that I’m very fond of Tennant (although I’m aware he winds some people up something chronic…) and I’m also one of the very very few people I know who actually rated Eccleston too.
The only shame is that they’re clealry fixated on the young and the pretty and have forgotten that John Pertwee – the spooky, be-cuffed & collared powder-wigged incarnation – was surely the “best” Doctor (whatever I may actually mean by that…)
I’d have to admit I’d rather have seen a braver, more imaginative choice – my friend and companion in red wine Madame Arcati has always championed the idea of Sandi Toksvig, which I must admit would be brill. But I can’t help but feel I detect a certain cowardice / play-safery in the Smith decision.
Only time – and timelord – will tell.
In the meantime, the Beeb can probably go ahead and renew their product-placement contract with Converse for another few years.