As long as there’s a universe, there’ll always be a Doctor to save it. It’s no secret here that at The Movies, we have mad love for Doctor Who. Fifty years of history starring the madman in a blue box has made fans of us all. And throughout the history of that show, each actor that has played a different incarnation of the Doctor has added someting to that franchise.
Some of them weren’t the first, or even second choice to play the Doctor, as several other actors almost got the role in the past. Here’s five of them that almost got to get their wibbly wobbly groove on.
If there’s one thing that Eddie Izzard could have easily brought to the table as the Doctor, it’s a sense of alien attitude. The comedian is known for being off-kilter with his performances, something that could have worked if he had taken over the role when the show relaunched.
In fact, fourth Doctor Tom Baker was keen to see him on the show, remarking back then that “Eddie would bring an alien quality to the part. He is so mysterious and strange and seems like he has a lot of secrets.”
I’ve got a lot of respect for actors who realise that like everyone else in life, they’re just doing a job. A much better paying and privacy-invading job, but a a job nonetheless. Hugh Grant is one such actor, and was approached when the show was getting ready to relaunch for the lead part.
Having played the handsome regeneration of the Doctor for the Comedy Relief special that also starred Rowan Atkinson, Grant turned down the role saying that “I was offered the role of the Doctor a few years back and was highly flattered. The danger with those things is that it’s only when you see it on screen that you think, ‘Damn, that was good, why did I say no?’ But then, knowing me, I’d probably make a mess of it”.
I don’t think that there’s an actor alive today who is more well respected than Bill Nighy. He’s appeared in every kind of movie imaginable, from supernatural action, Hollywood blockbuster and beyond. Having had a long career in film and on the stage, Nighy has kept mum about when exactly he was offered a role as the Doctor, as a sign of respect to the actor that portrayed him in that incarnation.
But hell, at least he made an appearance in the modern season, confirming once again that yes, bow ties are cool.
Before he was the portly uncle of Harry Potter, Rochard Griffiths was a lean and mean thespian of note. The deceased actor could perform with the best of them, and back in 1990 when talks were being held to bring the show back from cancellation, Griffiths was at the top of the list of actors that were being considered to take over from Sylvestor McCoy.
Griffiths had also been considered back before then, as a successor to Tom Baker, before Peter Davidson won the role.
Now here’s an actor that I’m genuinely sad didn’t get the lead role. Plenty of big names were thrown around when casting began for the Doctor Who television movie in the 1990s, with the role eventually going to the superb Paul McGann. Billy Connolly was one such name on that list, and I would have loved to have seen his version of the Doctor.
Connolly is one of the best performers in comedy today, with stand up shows that are essentially just him babbling on about his life, but there’s no denying that the man oozes warmth and charm, and could have brought a touch more humanity to the role that would be mixed up with his rebellious side. We’ll never know what his Doctor was like, but I can only imagine that it would have been charming gentlemen who truly knew how to use his words to win the day.
Last Updated: February 13, 2014