From Alan Rickman to Benedict Cumberbatch, 6 actors who were on their way to becoming Doctor Who

It is a common misconception that he is the main character in the long-running BBC science fiction series Doctor Who is called “Doctor Who”. In reality, her name is “Doctor Whom,” and the real fans know it.

And over the show’s 60-year history, dozens of actors have been considered for the role of Doctor Who, ranging from the supporting character actors of the 1960s and 1970s to bona fide A-listers of recent years. Here’s a look at some of the more famous faces who came close to taking control of the TARDIS before changing their minds, passing it up or making a royal bed for it.

Benedict Cumberbatch didn’t attend his doctor’s appointment

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes
Image via BBC One

During a talk show interview in 2011, Benedict Cumberbatch revealed that he was encouraged by quickly exiting incumbent Doctor David Tennant to throw his crazy red felt fez into the ring for the role of Gallifrey’s craziest mocker. Despite an ultimately lucrative collaboration with the series’ new showrunner Stephen Moffat, Cumberbatch declined the invitation, further explaining that the role of the Doctor meant: “You’re on the bottle, you’re on the school lunchbox, sometimes you have to be Doctor Who.” ride on the school bus on promotional tours. I like to keep the work on set.”

Incidentally, Benedict Cumberbatch can be seen here, who a few years later made a promotional video in which he visits a comic shop dressed as Doctor Strange.

Brian Blessed made things Hunpleasant

If you don’t know Brian Blessed, then yes, you know him. His trumpeting baritone voice and Ghost of Christmas Present physicality have been bringing larger-than-life characters to the screen for over 60 years, including Boss Nass The Phantom Menace, Prince Vultan in Flash Gordon, And, no joke, Grampy Rabbit for 13 years Peppa Pig.

In conversation with The Telegraph in 2014, Blessed remembered being invited to the Doctor Who already folded in the 60s. He missed the opportunity, but luckily he wasn’t turned away at the door when he showed up to play King Yrcanos in the Sixth Doctor Mind warp series a few decades later.

Bernard Cribbins almost took longer Doctor Who Story

Wilfred Mott and Doctor Who
Image via BBC

When you love Doctor Who, Chances are, you love the late Bernard Cribbins, the actor who brought the objectively charming Wilfred Mott to life during David Tennant’s run on the series, along with a role in Peter Cushing Doctor Who Film from 1965 if you want to be completely unknown. What you may not know is that Cribbins met with the show’s producers when they purchased their fourth Doctor. In conversation with Digital spy In 2013, He recalled being asked what he would bring to the role and telling those in charge that he had been a paratrooper and knew how to fight. He was a little ahead of his time, and the era of the Doctor’s tormented war was still, narratively speaking, a long way off. It was a pass.

Alan Cumming had to go

Alan Cumming
Image via Peacock

It would have been fun to see Alan Cumming running from Daleks in whatever outfit The traitors The host would have picked his own – probably something with a net kilt and a cool bowler hat, but that’s just a guess. He was originally due to play the Doctor in a revival of the series in 2003, but plans were scrapped in favor of a reboot by Russell T. Davies. Cumming had the last laugh and appeared in the series almost 20 years later as one of the few notable aspects of the Chibnall era.

Dame Judi Dench could have been Doctor Judi Dench

Judi Dench as a cat in “Cats”
Image via Universal Pictures

During the blue sky phase of the development of the return of Doctor Who There were a lot of names thrown around at the turn of the century. Among them: Judi Dench, who was reportedly a favorite of series producer and BBC executive Jane Tranter. Would Dench have accepted the role? Hard to say. Your gut tells you “no,” but then you remember she said “yes.” CATS, So who knows? She’s a wild card.

Alan Rickman didn’t bat an eye, but the studio did

Alan Rickman as Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Image via Warner Bros.

Sometimes you find out that an actor was up for the role of the Doctor and you think, “Funny, that would have been different.” Other times you think, “Wait, how did that happen?” not happen?”

Alan Rickman came treacherously close to the role of the Doctor in the ’90s, when the franchise as a whole was in deep flop sweat. A feature film was to be made, directed by Leonard Nimoy, starring Rickman and Caroline Munro as his Gallifreyan companion. Doctor Who: A Story reports that the story would have been about Amelia Earhart kissing and Amelia Earhart kissing if the whole thing hadn’t exploded in a torrent of litigation and lapsed franchise rights.

Lindsay Lowe

Lindsay Lowe is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Lindsay Lowe joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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