Keeley Hawes has been hired to play Ms. Delphox in the fifth episode of DOCTOR WHO’s upcoming eighth rebooted series. Don’t worry, this isn’t actually a spoiler. Well, unless you count rampant uninformed fan speculation as spoiler material.
Ms. Delphox is described as a “powerful out-of-this-world character with a dark secret” who the Doctor and Clara meet on a “strange and puzzling” planet.
That’s right, Peter’s Capaldi’s 12th Doctor will be going up against a fierce female antagonist. Cue fevered Rani speculation/outrage in… 3… 2… 1.
Hawes herself offered no indication of her character’s dark secret:
“I am delighted to join Doctor Who and to be working with this incredible team. “Ms Delphox is a great character and someone I’ve had a lot of fun playing.”
Executive producer Steven Moffat praised Hawes, saying:
“Anyone watching Jed Mercurio‘s amazing LINE OF DUTY [TV series] will know that Keeley Hawes is having one hell of a year. And now it’s about to get even better as she achieves the greatest villainy yet attempted on DOCTOR WHO — she plays a banker.”
Ms. Delphox certainly could be the Rani in disguise, but I keep returning to Moffat’s previously stated vow to never bring back the renegade Time Lady because the character would only mean something to old-school fans, at a time when the rebooted series has expanded the audience so much in recent years. Moffat doesn’t want to alienate newer fans with references to yet another Gallifreyan who went off the rails.
Which brings us to the one still-unbroken law of the Moffat Era: Moffat Lies.
So that’s it then: Ms. Delphox is the Rani!
However, SyFy’s Blastr site goes in another direction, suggesting that Ms. Delphox could be a gender-swapped Master. Blastr notes that John Simm, the last actor to play the evil Time Lord, previously starred in LIFE ON MARS, and that Hawes succeeded him as star of the sequel series, ASHES TO ASHES.
Seems a bit of a stretch to me. I’m not sure Moffat would go that deep into Easter-Egging a character.
Well, whoever Ms. Delphox “really” is, we won’t know until well into the fall, when episode five finally airs on BBC America.