Saturday, November 1, 2008

What are the Odds (or should I say Oods)?

Big news in the Dr. Who universe, which I learned, as I do many things, via Alan Sepinwall. David Tennant has formally announced he is leaving the role, and now we have the delicious suspense of waiting to learn who will be the eleventh doctor.

Thank goodness the Irish bookmakers are on the case. They are dutifully tracking the shifting odds between all the names be bandied about. The top 3 as of this writing are David Morrisey, Paterson Joseph, and James Nesbitt.

I love the tradition of the novelty Irish books. (Vegas does some too, in a more limited way.)

The Irish will lay odds on and about everything. While the national spirit of their Anglo-Saxon neighbors insures everything a la Lloyds of London—-Betty Grable and Tina Turner’s legs, Keith Richards’s fingers, Celine Dion’s vocal chords-—the Irish national spirit is much more playful.

I don’t have a gambling gene in me, and I know that it can be an addiction that brings misery like any other addiction. But in it’s entertainment mode, it takes a fun spirit to bet on whether Birmingham will have a white Christmas, where Russell Brand will find his next job, and the granddaddy of them all, who will be the next pope.

Paddy Power
is one of the big online betting sites; it offers the usual horse and sporting events, but also a section devoted to novelty bets, which is where we find the Doctor Who odds. It offers 60 actors, which now begs some questions:

Is this the time to break the color barrier for the Doctor? Or the gender barrier-—Alex Kingston is given 50 to 1 odds, but at least she’s listed. As a smart commenter said over at Alan’s, the writers definitely set up Doctor/Donna this season, perhaps laying the groundwork for a female Doctor.

The list continues as a who's who (no pun intended) of British actors--John Simm, Adrian Lester, Anthony Head, Bill Nighy, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie--all the way to the long shots of Ricky Gervais (80 to 1), Hugh Grant (100 to 1), and Robbie Williams (150 to 1).

One idea I haven’t seen anywhere is an American actor taking on the role. I know, there is nothing more “British to the core” than Dr. Who. And it’s nice that it’s been spread around the whole isles, with the Scottish Tennant, which would be continued further if the Northern Irish Nesbitt takes over.

But an LA detective is prototypically American, and yet the esteemed Damian Lewis is playing him beautifully; an East Coast doctor who is the son of a US Marine is Amurican, but it’s no less than Bertie Wooster who brings him to life. If these Brits weren't on our own tv shores, the thought would not have crossed my mine.

Still, if the Irish bookmakers aren’t giving odds for any American actors, then, it’s not a possibility. This is something they know.


Tim Footman said...

The actor could be American, but the character would have to be British (dunno why, but it just would). The problem is that while Hugh Laurie, Damian Lewis, Idris Elba, Ian McShane, Anna Friel, Eddie Izzard, etc can talk American, very few male American actors can do a convincing Brit accent (unlike Gwyneth, Renee, Meryl, etc).

Got some DW talk over at mine, btw. Had cocktails with some Daleks last night.

M.A.Peel said...

Tim, yeah, I did mean that the American actor would play British, keeping Dr. Who British. Not that the character would change DNA nationality.

As for the accent, I think you're right, but I can't even think of an example of American actor playing a Brit--

Tim Footman said...

Keanu Reeves in Dracula?

Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean?

Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins?

(The word verification is "gronf", which was the noise Obelix made when he ate roast boar in the Asterix comics.)

Christopher Campbell-Howes said...

In a different scheme of things, with no Salic Law to bar females from the succession, the post of Dr Who might be made hereditary. The prime imperative of Dr Whos would then be to ensure the succession.

I'm going away to think about this. Central to my cogitations will be Tim, social Dalekry (how do they ingest liquid, by the way? and bedroom bubblewrap.