Love Actually star Bill Nighy said he turned down an opportunity to play the lead in Doctor Who.
“I will say that I was approached,” Nighy said. “But I didn’t want to be the Doctor. No disrespect to Doctor Who or anything, I just think that it comes with too much baggage.”
Nighy actually made an uncredited cameo appearance as Dr. Black in the episode “Vincent and the Doctor” in 2010.
The role of the Twelfth Doctor was given to Peter Capaldi, who takes over for Matt Smith. Smith played the Eleventh Doctor from 2010 until this year. He called Capaldi’s casting “a canny choice.”
Before the role went to Capaldi, however, there was a lot of talk about the race and gender of the next Doctor. Helen Mirren said it was time for a female Doctor, but said she wouldn’t be the first.
“I’m not going to be the first female Doctor Who, no, no, no, absolutely not, I absolutely wouldn’t contemplate that… but I do think it’s well over-time to have a female Doctor Who… I think a gay, black female Doctor Who would be best of all,” the Oscar winner said.
Author Neil Gaiman also said that a black actor had been offered the role, but turned it down.
“And yes, I have no doubt there will be [a black Doctor]. (I know one black actor who was already offered the part of the Doctor, and who turned it down.) Just as there will be a female Doctor,” he wrote on his Tumblr.
Gaiman wouldn’t go into any further detail though, writing, “You can ask, but seeing that it was something I was told in confidence by the actor in question, you won’t get an answer.”
Bill Nighy said of Capaldi’s casting, “He’ll be very good as the Doctor. He’ll bring a lot of wit and dry humor. He’s elegant and he looks great.”
Do you think Bill Nighy would have made a good Doctor?