Monday, March 17, 2008


Recently I've been watching 'Coupling'. Not going out of my way to catch it, or DVR it, or queue it up for Netflix. Just if I happen to notice while looking at the BBC-A sked that it's coming up, I'll record it. It started out because I wanted to see other productions written by Stephen Moffat, who has scripted some of the very best of 'Doctor Who' these last three years. But now I'm just enjoying the company of the six regulars. (I'm assuming the prevalent high concept description for the show is a "British 'Friends'".)
I'm especially enjoying the work by Richard Coyle as Jeff Murdoch, the resident goofball. A lot of his obsessions can match my own O'Bsessions. (Although I've never tried to shag the TV, much as I love it).

It was during his rant about celebrity nudity and the beauty of the word "naked", that it suddenly occurred to me that Richard Coyle might make for a very interesting variation as a future regeneration of the Doctor in 'Doctor Who'. (I know, I'm always coming up with actors to play the Doctor. I've probably got a tally of 20 actors by now if I listed them all!)

So that was originally going to be the thrust of this blog-post: a Wish-craft advocating Richard Coyle to be a candidate for the next Doctor.

I went looking about the web for pictures to support my contention for Coyle's candidacy and found some really good ones. There was an excellent one with Indira Varma from 'Whistleblowers' that really helped the suggestion. After all, it was Varma's portrayal of Suzie Costello that helped kick off the launch of 'Torchwood'. I believe the audience came because of Captain Jack Harkness (pun intended), but it was the story of Suzie Costello that convinced them to come back; that this would be something out of the ordinary each week.

So now I had 'Torchwood' on my mind, and the next picture led to a new Wish-craft suggestion.....
I found a picture that featured Richard Coyle, Samantha Janus and Ian Richardson for a TV series called 'Strange' from 2003. Here's a description of it from Ryan K. Johnson's excellent site of British TV shows, specials, and movies (from an American point of view):

Strange (3/03)
Samantha Janus and Ian Richardson star in this BBC pilot for a horror/fantasy series about a defrocked priest (Richard Coyle, 'Coupling') who hunts demons in this 'X-Files'-like series. Janus plays a former physicist now working as a nurse who encounters Coyleand his team of psychic investigators and comes to suspect her son may be hosting an unholy threat. Richardson is Coyle's nemesis, a church elder who opposes his actions and there are hints of diabolical association.

Take a look at this picture:
If that was to be his costume as the newly regenerated Doctor, it suggests Eccleston's garb as the Ninth Incarnation of the Doctor - simple and a bit street-wise. At least for the sake of my argument, Ms. Janus could be a new Companion, as would be Andrew Lee Potts - who could be seen as an upgrade for Adric without being so annoying. (In 'Strange', Potts played Toby, so I'm O'Bviously partial to him!)

And then there is Ian Richardson in that cowled cape.... What better villain to revive for this new regeneration than a new incarnation of that Time Meddler, the Monk? (Yes, I know Richardson is dead. I'm just saying this picture could be used to make the argument in favor of Coyle as the Doctor, and to bring back the Monk as an adversary - with another actor.)

I went looking for descriptions of this show 'Strange', for I never heard of it before. And after reading just two sites dedicated to it (one at the BBC), coupled with that picture of Coyle with Varda, a new idea came to me.....

Coyle's character of John Strange should be revived and brought on board 'Torchwood'.

In the last week or so, I've read a rumor, - and it's just that so far, a nebulous rumor - that John Barrowman was going to leave 'Torchwood'. The loss of Captain Jack Harkness could very well cripple the series, unless something audacious was done to replace him. (At least we know they can't kill off Jack to get him off the show, even if it would be a ratings-grabbing one-shot. My guess? He'll eventually leave with Grey via the Cardiff Rift.)
I think bringing in this former defrocked priest whose specialty is battling demons would at the very least give the show a publicity boost from the press that would be generated about his previous Toobworld tenure, his revival, and the subsequent crossover.

That same rumor about Barrowman leaving also suggested that Burn Gorman as Owen Harper and Naoki Mori as Toshiko Sato might also be shown the door out of the 'Torchwood' hub. So even if John Strange wasn't being brought in to be the new leader of the Cardiff branch, this expert demon-hunter could at least be a valuable member of the team because of his specialized expertise. After that nearly disasterous battle with Abaddon in the first season finale, Team Torchwood could use somebody who knows his way around demons.

(That rumor about the revamp of 'Torchwood' claims that Freema Agyeman would be brought back as Dr. Martha Jones to be in charge. You can read the full thing here.)

I've tossed around that 'Bewitched'-coined word of "Wish-Craft" in this essay, meaning that this is just a stunt casting dream on my part. But who knows? If I don't get the suggestion out there, some Auntie suit won't be able to learn of it and claim it as its own. If I bring it up, there's always the slim chance it might get fanned into becoming reality!
Toby OB

I wrote to BBC-America about getting 'Strange' onto their schedule here in the States, but of course I got a basic form letter in response. ("Dear Toby, Thank you for taking the time to contact us. BBC America takes the opinions of viewers such as yourself very seriously. Rest assured we will forward your remarks on to the appropriate department(s). We thank you again for your comments." Yada yada yada.....)

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