Green Wing star Julian Rhind-Tutt has been shortlisted as a candidate to take over the role of Doctor Who from Matt Smith.

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Rhind-Tutt lost out on the part of the eleventh Doctor to Smith, but he is in the running once again, reckons The Sun, once Smith leaves after this year’s Christmas special.

Other names in the frame for the iconic part include Rory Kinnear and Dominic Cooper, while actor Burn Gorman – who played Owen Harper in Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood – is also said to have been shortlisted.

As well as sit-com Green Wing, in which he played Doctor Dr ‘Mac’ Macartney, Rhind-Tutt has appeared in numerous TV shows including The Hour, and several films such as Stardust, Notting Hill and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

BBC bosses need to make a decision in the next few months as shooting on Series Eight is due to start this autumn, with the series set to return to screens next Easter.

Despite the intense speculation surrounding the identity of the Twelfth Doctor, the BBC insist the casting process has only just begun and everyone involved is prepared to take their time to find the right actor.

A BBC spokesperson said: “The Doctor is one of the biggest roles in TV and speculation around the identity of who will be next to step in to the TARDIS is rife, but the search has only just begun so only believe what you hear from us, and that won’t be for a while!”

While Kinnear was recently said to be favourite for the role, just less than a quarter (23 per cent) of Whovians have taken to social media to reveal they want Harry Potter star Rupert Grint to take control of the TARDIS, according to social media analytics provider Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight platform.

What’s more, 13 per cent of social networking posts suggest the next Doctor should be a woman and 21 per cent are backing former Merlin star Colin Morgan.