Rumor Has It: Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch to Play The Master for Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary?

This is just a rumor. It is clearly the Best Rumor Ever but it is still only a rumor, so take everything that follows with a mountain of salt. The Express reported this weekend that Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch is being lined up to play Doctor Who arch-villain The Master for the iconic series’ 50th anniversary next year.

[Insert pause here for everyone to get the initial freakout out of their systems. I’ll wait.] Better? Okay. Breathe, then click through for more details.

Personally, I’m almost afraid to even write anything about this story – almost as if by talking about it, we might disturb the universe and make one of my biggest television dreams evaporate before it ever sees the light of day. It’s always been a secret wish of mine to see Cumberbatch appear on Who; in fact, I’ve been saying since Sherlock started that he is an obvious and amazing choice to play the Twelfth Doctor once Matt Smith hangs up his sonic screwdriver. Nowadays, given the massive film success Cumberbatch seems to be finding himself in thanks to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Hobbit and Star Trek, that dream seems very unlikely to ever happen, so the next best thing would obviously be an amazing (and hopefully recurring?) Who guest role. 

The Express quotes an unnamed source (don’t you just love those!) as saying, “'It’s fitting that the Doctor comes face to face with his ultimate enemy, The Master, for the 50th anniversary and it’s felt Benedict is the perfect choice if schedules can work. Fans will love the idea of the man who plays Sherlock Holmes taking on the Doctor.”

The Master was last portrayed by John Simm during the finale of David Tennant’s run in the TARDIS. The character has been seen in the series in various regenerations since 1971.

Cumberbatch has been asked repeatedly about joining Who and has always downplayed the prospect (the heartbreaker!), though, granted, those questions were all usually about whether he’d be interested in playing the Doctor. It seems obvious that the show will be looking for a fairly big name to play the Master for the anniversary storyline, and given that Cumberbatch is seemingly everywhere right now, it makes a lot of sense.

No comment on these rumors as yet from Cumberbatch himself, producer Steven Moffat, or anyone directly involved with Doctor Who production that’s willing to attach their name to their comments. But, who knows, this could actually happen! We'll keep you posted, but in the meantime - what say you? Would you like to see Cumberbatch guest star on Doctor Who? Or is he better served by focusing on his film career?

Source: Radio Times