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Arthur Darvill (Photo by Dave Gustav Anderson)

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When asked who should become the Twelfth Doctor, former Doctor Who companion Arthur Darvill says: “I think they should go for someone older.”

The affable Darvill was discussing Matt Smith’s successor backstage at New York’s Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, where he recently took over one of the leading roles in the award-winning Broadway production Once the Musical.

But Darvill didn’t express specific preferences for a replacement actor for the Time Lord role — and he’s undecided on gender.

“I suppose it could be a woman,” he says. “I don’t know. I think it is a male part, though I think it’s just about the person.”

It’s been reported that Dame Helen Mirren once expressed interest in playing Doctor Who. Darvill says: “I’d love to see Dame Helen do it — best of luck to whoever gets it, though.”

The actor wasn’t surprised by Matt Smith’s departure from the series: “I’ve known that Matt’s going to leave for awhile, so it wasn’t much of a shock to me, and I saw him last week or the week before.”

For Darvill, Matt Smith’s decision to leave makes sense. He says: “He’s done his time on it, I think. It’s a hard one. You know, I left a year ago, and it was very hard to leave. I think the worst that you can do on something like that is outstay your welcome. It’s better to be missed than for people to go, ‘Just get out,’ so I think it’s a good time for him to leave.”

As an actor and musician Arthur Darvill’s attention is now focused very much on the Broadway stage — not Doctor Who.

He took on the role in Once, originated by Tony award-winning American actor Steve Kazee, in April. The critically acclaimed, crowd-pleasing musical is set in Dublin and tells of a tentative romance between a street musician played by Darvill and a Czech immigrant flower-seller portrayed by Joanna Christie, another British newcomer to the cast.

Arthur Darvill really likes the story: “It’s about those people who come into your life and change it, and it’s made me think about people who I have met in my life.”

The actor is really enjoying being in New York, but he misses certain aspects of life in the U.K. — among them listening to Radio 4 — the BBC’s domestic news and current affairs network. Then there’s the question of Marmite, the yeast extract that’s spread on toast that the British adore and Americans generally abhor.

Darvill says: “I do miss my Marmite, but my girlfriend’s very good at keeping me in supply, thank goodness, otherwise my breakfast would be a disaster.”

SEE ALSO: Alex Kingston’s thoughts on Matt Smith’s departure from Doctor Who

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By Tom Brook