Johnny Depp is being lined up to play Doctor Who in a movie version of The Cult sci-fi drama.

The 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' star tops a list of actors handpicked to play the Time Lord in a big screen spin-off of the long-running BBC hit.

A source said: "Casting Doctor Who is never easy as whoever plays him needs a cool air of mystery but also a slightly bonkers attitude.

"Johnny Depp is the perfect choice - exactly the kind of actor who could get inside the Time Lord's brain and do him justice."

Writer Russell T. Davies - who revamped the TV show when it returned in 2005 - is said to be working on a script for the movie, which is expected to be made in 2012 and bosses are keen to cast the 47-year-old actor in order to boost its global appeal.

The insider added to Britain's The Sun newspaper: "Obviously for a Hollywood treatment you need a big box-office star to put bums on seats.

"'Doctor Who' is massive in America and has a decent worldwide fan base. But having someone like Johnny would really lift it."

Actor Matt Smith recently finished his first TV series as the eleventh incantation of the time-travelling alien and is committed to continuing with the role.