When a new actor is cast as the Doctor, sooner or later the conversation turns to what their predecessors think of the new kid. It makes sense. After all, there are few people who can claim to know the Doctor better than those who have been the Doctor, and there are less than two dozen of them on the planet. This is especially the case when the incoming actor is in some way controversial, as Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker has been (at least in some segments of fandom).

Speaking to GQ, Tom Baker – who played the fan favorite Fourth Doctor from 1974 – 1981 – shared his thoughts on the new Doctor, saying that he was “thrilled” at Whittaker’s casting and adding that “So long as the girl comes over as an alien, a benevolent alien, she’ll be marvellous.”

But as eager as Baker is to see Whittaker take control of the TARDIS, it seems that she wasn’t his first choice. Though supportive of casting a woman in the role, Baker had someone else in mind. As the actor explains:

dawn french“I would have thought Dawn French would have been a good Doctor Who, because she’s got such a wry sense of humour and also has a way with her that faintly [suggests] she’s got secrets.”

‘Doctor Who’ will return this Christmas for the broadcast of ‘Twice Upon A Time’. The special will culminate in the regeneration of Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor and is also set to feature the departure of producer Steven Moffat. The outgoing star and showrunner will be succeeded by Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall, respectively.

Baker, meanwhile, regularly reprises the role of the Fourth Doctor for a range of audio dramas produced by Big Finish. He can also be seen in the upcoming restoration of ‘Shada’, which blends live action and animation to present a complete version of the legendarily unfinished serial. ‘Shada’ is available now (for our UK readers, at least) on blu ray, DVD and digital formats. An American release is set to follow in 2018.

What do you think of Baker’s casting suggestion? Would you like to see Dawn French as the first female Doctor or are you happy with Jodie Whittaker? As always, let us know in the comments!

Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more news on both ‘Twice Upon a Time’ and the upcoming eleventh season of ‘Doctor Who’ as it becomes available!