Guess Who’s biggest game in the world is over and with Ncuti Gatwa he has confirmed himself as the next Doctor Who we can sigh with relief that James Cordon has not come close to the legendary blue box.
Returning show runner Russell T. Davis he meant another actor (opens in a new tab) but Gatwa’s audition turned out to be so spectacular that Davis’s previous choice came out of the Tardis window. “I thought someone else was guaranteed a hit and then came in [Ncuti] he came and this man will never understand, “he explained.
But with a total of 14 doctors, including Gatva, there were more than a few actors who were almost the doctor. Hugh Grant and Joanna Lumley played them in the parody of Comic Relief, The Curse of Fatal Death, but they were both in the running for the job.
In fact, you may be surprised to learn exactly who was close to taking the Doctor’s place. Here are five actors who, whether overlooked or simply turned down the role, could give us some very different doctors.
1. Bernard Cribbins
Viewers of the revived Doctor Who series may know him as Wilfred Mott, the grandfather of the companion in the fourth series, Donna Noble, but the much younger Cribbins was considered for the role of the Fourth Doctor. He previously played companion Tom Campbell with Dr. Peter Cushing in the film Invasion Earth 2150 AD by the Daleks.
So when the third Dr. John Pertuy left, Cribbins met with the show’s producer (opens in a new tab). He, in turn, asked Cribbins what he could contribute to the role, to which he replied: “Well, I was a paratrooper, so I can fight.” The producer was not happy with the hint that the Doctor would resort to violence, and that was all for Cribbins.
Tom Baker got the role and, as Cribbins notes with a hint of bitterness, he really got into a screen shot or two. And, as indicatedThe doctor has repeatedly resorted to violence and murder. However, Cribbins took revenge when he was responsible for the “death” of the Tenth Doctor.
2. Brian Bless
Speaking of violence, although we can honestly imagine Dr. Bernard Cribbins putting on his boot, Brian Blaise is a whole other matter. This does not mean that the actor and climber is by nature a boisterous individual, but he has such a powerful personality that he enters the room before him.
Blessed is probably best known for playing King Vultan in Flash Gordon from the 1980s. However, years earlier he had been in the role of Second Doctor. So why not get it? The answer, as it turns out, is multiple choice.
In August 2020, Blessed told the Radio Times (opens in a new tab) he was rejected because he wanted to play the Doctor as if he were Chinese, a dated and outright racist practice called the “yellow man” that terrified the BBC. However, in an interview from 2014 (opens in a new tab)he said it was due to conflicts in the schedule, given that how strange some of his tales are (opens in a new tab)seems a more likely explanation.
He continued to play King Irkanos in the Mindwarp series The Sixth Doctor, although we can’t help but wonder what it could have been. We will be glad to see him roar at the Far Ones before he kills Davros from the top of Everest.
3. Russell Tovi
Russell Tovey has had many acting roles, including the role of midshipman Alonso Frame in Doctor Who’s Christmas special film, Voyage of the Damned. But for us, he will always be George, the charmingly clumsy werewolf from Being Human. We would like to see him carry the same energy of Doctor Who as the Lord of Time, who was soothingly insecure.
He was also the first openly gay actor to play the character, and after his name was highlighted by Russell T. Davis, he did screen tests for the Eleventh Doctor. The role eventually went to Matt Smith, and Tovi made that decision with some relief.
“It simply came to my notice then. I don’t know what I would do with all the attention, “he said The Independent (opens in a new tab). Given how controversial Matt Smith’s casting was (opens in a new tab) at that time his caution may have been justified.
4. Boris Karlov
Dr. Who and the Daleks, as well as Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 AD, published in 1965 and 1966, respectively, present Peter Cushing as an alternative, clearly human version of the time traveler. However, this was not the only time Dr. Who crossed with an icon of horror.
Shortly after the release of these films, Boris Karloff was asked to play the Doctor in a series of radio plays developed by Stanmark Productions. Karloff was best known for playing Frankenstein’s monster in several Universal Pictures films, although it is true that he acted for 20 years before wearing the neck bolts.
Karloff undoubtedly had the acting skills to revive the Lord of Time, but he was “inaccessible” at the time, which could also be a polite way to turn down the role. Stanmark then returned to Cushing, who, playing the film’s version of the character, recorded a pilot episode of Time Travel. Unfortunately, the BBC did not pick up the series and the recording has since been lost.
5. Judy Dench
Lady Judy Dench, of course, will always be best known for her iconic role in Cats, the CGI abomination of 2019. However, before being an animal with human hands, she was considered the Ninth Doctor.
Doctor Who producer Sidney Newman, although no longer working for the BBC, proposed back in the 1980s it’s time for a female doctor (opens in a new tab) although Joanna Lumley was overlooked in favor of Sylvester McCoy. But when the series revived in 2005, Dench’s name emerged.
TV CEO Jane Tranter, who commissioned the new series from Doctor Who, proposed her, although Dench never confirmed that she had been interviewed for the role. Christopher Ecclestone eventually got the role, and the rest is history. However, Russell T. Davis regretted that he don’t at least make her a cameo (opens in a new tab) as the Doctor.