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Top 10 Doctor Who Guest Stars

December 22, 2010

Do you know who is guest starring in the Doctor Who Christmas Special? Michael Gambon! Dumbledore!! Whoot! He might just be one of the most awesome guest stars ever!!

The list of awesome guest stars is impressive. We’re playing a little fast and loose with what defines a guest star. We’re going to limit appearances to three or so, leaving out the always awesome John Barrowman as Captain Jack, John Simm as the Master, and Alex Kingston as River Song. You’re regulars in our minds, guys.

No, we want to look at those who appeared for a brief few shining moments and left a lasting impression. Check out our top ten guest stars of the modern Doctor Who.

#10: Richard Dawkins

I’ll admit it, I’m a Dawkins fan. He was in the episode The Stolen Earth for all of  ten seconds, and it technically was more of a cameo than a guest star. But he’s Richard Dawkins! Playing himself! Plus, this appearance gets a nod in The Pandorica Opens.

#9. Mark Gatiss

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen alum Mark Gatiss has been a huge contributor to the Whoniverse for 20 years. He’s written episodes for television, audio plays, documentaries, and a number of spoofs. He finally got the chance to appear in the series as an actor in the Lazarus Experiment.

#8. Ian McNeice

If you’re as big an Anglophile as me, you’ll also recognize Ian McNeice as Bert from the BBC show Doc Martin. But there is no denying that this man was born to play Winston Churchill, as he did in Victory of the Daleks. He had an earlier appearance in the Whoniverse as Zeus in Immortal Beloved, and is playing Illyrio Mopatis in the upcoming Game of Thrones.

#7. Bill Nighy

Another technical cameo. Don’t care. It’s Bill Nighy. He played museum tour guide Dr. Black for about a minute in what was easily the best episode of series five, Vincent and the Doctor. Nighy is another Harry Potter actor (which British star isn’t??), and has had appearances in Pirates of the Caribbean, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Like I needed to tell you that.

#6. Penelope Wilton

I nearly didn’t include Penelope Wilton on this list, with Harriet Jones appearing in the series four times. But she was absolutely one of the best side characters on the show. Shaun of the Dead star #2, Wilton in the memorable role of Harriet Jones has one of the most surprising character arcs. She goes from quirky tiny town constituent to Prime Minister.

#5. Toby Jones

He appears only as a voice over in the clip, I’m afraid. Best I could find. Character actor Toby Jones turns in an enjoyable guest appearance as the mysterious Dream Lord in Amy’s Choice. He steals every scene he’s in and gets all the best lines. He’s also yet another Harry Potter cast member. If you don’t recognize him, that’s because he was the voice of Dobby.

#4. Tony Curran

Even watching this music video clip I got a little misty. Tony Curran is largely unknown to American audiences, but in the UK he’s best known for the show This Life, where he plays a gay plumber. In Vincent and the Doctor, he gives one of the most amazing performances in television history as Vincent van Vogh, displaying heartbreaking pathos that makes this my favorite episode of all time.

#3. Simon Pegg

The problem with Simon Pegg’s appearance on Doctor Who is that we didn’t get nearly enough of him. He plays the villainous Editor who controls all media, a role Pegg clearly relished. The third and final Shaun of the Dead cast member to appear in Doctor Who. Hopefully it’s only a matter of time before Edgar Wright turns up to direct!

#2. Timothy Dalton

For many new Who fans, Timothy Dalton was the introduction to the society of the Time Lords. He played Rassilon in the End of Time, David Tennant’s swan song as the Doctor. Rassilon is one of the most important figures in Gallifrean history, founder of the Time Lord civilization, and is hailed as both a hero and villain, depending on who you ask. Dalton is best known for his role of James Bond, but we fondly remember his appearance in Hot Fuzz the most.

#1. Kylie Minogue

Poor Astrid Perth. She was destined to become a companion, and she would have been a marvelous one. Pop superstar Kylie Minogue guest stars in the Christmas special the Voyage of the Damned. She played against what everyone thought the sexy actress/singer would do; Astrid Perth was a lowly waitress, sweet and pure and dreaming big dreams. Her death was a tragedy for the recently solo Doctor, and would haunt him in Journey’s End.

Who’d we forget? Let us know below!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Christine permalink
    December 22, 2010 6:04 pm

    I *love* the inclusion of Penelope Wilton. Harriet Jones was absolutely one of my very favorite guest characters revolving in The Doctor’s orbit. Don’t worry Ms. Jones – we know who you are.

    • December 23, 2010 11:48 am

      How could I not include Harriet Jones!

  2. December 23, 2010 4:36 pm

    I love reading Doctor Who related posts! It was a great list, though my favorite of the lot was Tony Curran. That whole episode I think was my favorite of the season, and I have developed a fascination for Van Gogh since watching it. At the time I had no idea it was Bill Nighy as the Art Museum tour guide!! Sad on my part. My geekiness is lacking it seems. lol (doesn’t help that when I hear people say Bill Nighy I think “the science guy” haha) Thanks for the great posts!! I love your blog.

    • December 24, 2010 12:32 am

      Thank you, thank you. And I agree in part on Curran. Easily the best performance out of them all, but I also had to take star power into account in making the top 10. Were it just the best side characters, I’d have to include Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and the Doctor’s Daughter, all of whom I am too lazy to look up the actor’s names. Doctor’s Daughter would have been #11 for me.


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