Doctor Who? James Bond actor Ben Whishaw is among those tipped to take over from Peter Capaldi after he confirms he will leave the series this year... but who else is in the running?
- Peter Capaldi, 58, was the 12th actor to play the coveted role following Matt Smith's departure in June 2013
- James Bond actors Ben Whishaw and Rory Kinnear are the frontrunners to take over the role of the Time Lord
- Comedian, actor and director Richard Ayoade - known for his role in The IT Crowd - also tipped to take over
- Comedian Miranda Hart, 44, could make history by becoming the first female Doctor, with odds of 8/1
Fans were left reeling when Peter Capaldi announced his decision to step down as Doctor Who after three years in the coveted role.
And now Whovians are already looking into the future to predict who may be stepping into his time-travelling shoes.
The three frontrunners tipped to pick up the Sonic Screwdriver are James Bond actors Ben Whishaw and Rory Kinnear, and comedian and star of The IT Crowd Richard Ayoade, with odds of 5/1, 7/1 and 6/1 respectively at bookmakers Ladbrokes.
However, some fans are calling for an actress to take over the hitherto male role, with Olivia Colman, Sheridan Smith and Helen Mirren all tipped to become the next Time Lord - or Lady.
But Miranda Hart is the bookies' favourite female, with odds of 8/1. If the comedian were to take the role, she would be the first female Doctor in the series.
Outgoing 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.'
Bookies at William Hill have offered former Doctors Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith at respective odds of 33/1, 20/1 and 16/1, while Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint are tipped at 33/1 and 8/1 each.
So will it be Ben Whishaw swapping MI6 for the Tardis, Richard Ayoade trading crowds of IT geeks for crowds of Daleks or Miranda Hart falling into the police box?
The bookies' top four: Ben Whishaw (odds 5/1), Richard Ayoade (odds 6/1), Rory Kinnear (odds 7/1), and Miranda Hart (8/1)
The bookies' favourite at 5/1, Ben Whishaw has an impressive CV with credits including playing tech wizard Q in Bond blockbusters Spectre and Skyfall (pictured, alongside Daniel Craig)
Richard Ayoade: 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 and is third in line to become the next Doctor, according to Ladbrokes
THE PAST, THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE: ONE OF THE WORLD'S BEST LOVED SCI-FI DRAMAS
With a history spanning more than five decades, Doctor Who has earned its place as one of the nation's best-loved series.
And as the world's longest running science fiction show, it has gained a cult following across the globe.
Generations have been gripped by battles between the Daleks and Davros, Cybermen, Zygons, new monsters like the Veil and old foes the Time Lords.
And the actors lucky enough to step into the coveted shoes of the Time Lord have gone on to become household names.
These include - among others - John Hurt (The War Doctor), Christopher Eccleston (Ninth Doctor), David Tennant (Tenth Doctor), Matt Smith (Eleventh Doctor)and Peter Capaldi (Twelfth Doctor).
Doctor Who was first broadcast on BBC One on Saturday November 23, 1963.
Created as an educational family show to fit between the football results and evening entertainment programmes, the show was the brainchild of Canadian TV producer and BBC Head of Drama, Sydney Newman.
The first ever doctor from 1963 - 1966 was played by William Hartnell.
After an initial run of 26 years, the series was rested.
It returned for a one-off TV movie featuring the Eighth Doctor in 1996.
Doctor Who was fully resurrected in 2005 and has gone from strength to strength ever since.
In its 50th anniversary year, the series is watched by an estimated 80 million viewers in 206 countries.
It has been honoured by Guinness World Records as both the longest running and most successful science-fiction series in the world.
Capaldi announced that he will leave the Tardis in the Christmas special later this year, saying his time as the 12th Doctor has been 'cosmic'.
The 58-year-old will return for the tenth series of the relaunched show, with 12 episodes starting in April, followed by the Christmas special.
His final series will also end with the departure of writer and executive producer Steven Moffat.
Capaldi told BBC Radio 2: 'One of the greatest privileges of being Doctor Who is to see the world at its best.
'From our brilliant crew and creative team working for the best broadcaster on the planet, to the viewers and fans whose endless creativity, generosity and inclusiveness points to a brighter future ahead.
'I can't thank everyone enough.
'It's been cosmic.'
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