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Who's to be the next Dr Who? Sherlock beats Maurice - says you

Cumberbatch EXTERMINATES Ayoade, Atkinson, Pegg - and Tilda Swinton

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It's the question on every geek's lips. Who's going to be the next Time Lord?

Well, wonder no more, because The Register's readers have made their minds up. You've decided that Benedict Cumberbatch should be regenerated as the next Doctor Who when Matt Smith leaves at the end of the year.

We asked our readers who they thought should move into the TARDIS and a whopping 4,100 people responded.

You told us that the proudly posh Cumberbatch should cast off Sherlock Holmes' deerstalker and strap on a bow tie to play Doctor Who. The actor, whose career has soared despite having the silliest name in showbiz, has been given 6/1 odds of taking the role by betting chain Ladbrokes putting him in fourth place on their leaderboard. At the time of writing, the occupant of the top spot with Ladbrokes was named as Skyfall actor Rory Kinnear.

But our readers like to be different. Richard Ayoade, star of The IT Crowd, came in at second place with 245 votes and Hugh Laurie was in third with 187 votes.

Behind them were Mr Bean star Rowan Atkinson, with 169 votes, cross-dressing comic Eddie Izzard with 164, and Simon Pegg with 158.

Despite calls for the next Doctor Who to be a woman, the highest ranking female in our poll was Tilda Swinton, who scraped into fourteenth place with 85 votes. Sue Perkins, star of The Great British Bake Off, was the second most popular woman with 66 votes, while Billie Piper – a former assistant of the Doctor – got 64 votes and made it to third.

Other high-ranking Doctor Who locums in the poll were Evil Dead shlock-horror king Bruce Campbell, who 125 Reg readers want to see play the Time Lord, and aged rocker Noddy Holder of Slade fame managed 55 votes.

Our readers sent in a total of 77 names and then voted for their favourite. Three people tied at bottom place, gaining just two votes each. Noel Clarke, who played Billie Piper's bozo boyfriend Mickey Smith in Doctor Who, and Colin Salmon, who has taken roles in two Bond films, both managed just a couple of votes.

Ray Park also took a Darth Mauling. He played the Sith Lord Darth Maul in the execrable Star Wars Episode 1, for those of you who didn't get that rather poor pun.

(groan – El Reg's backroom gremlins)

The Beeb is currently preparing for Doctor Who's 50th anniversary, which will be screened later this year. Matt Smith will star in one special Christmas episode, before some other likely lad – or lady – fills his shoes.

Jenna-Louise Coleman, who stars along Smith, told the BBC that shooting her last scene with Smith would be "emotional".

"Everybody else in the building has asked me who the next Doctor is, and I can tell you honestly we don't know. It's going to be a long, long search. But yes, I'm being asked that question a lot," she said.

Filming on Smith's final episode will begin in the autumn.

We tried to contact Mr Cumberbatch's publicist for comment, but she did not reply. ®

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