The following actors have either played the part of the television Time Travelling alien who has always had a massive soft spot for earth or were considered for his various roles.
The First Doctor: William Hartnell 1963 -1966
Hugh David was the first choice in 1963 until the Producer of the series, Verity Lambert, decided that she had an older man in mind.
Lambert then considered the Irish theatre legend and film actor Cyril Cusack.
Leslie French was also counted and not chosen but like the first choice of David he left his mark on Doctor Who history by appearing in the ‘Doctor Who’ 25th anniversary adventure ‘Silver Nemesis’ as an ill-fated astrologer.
The Second Doctor: Patrick Troughton 1966 – 1969
When William Hartnell’s time as the Doctor came to an end the producers had Patrick Troughton in mind but they also approached Michael Hordern in case Troughton had turned down the role.
The Third Doctor: John Pertwee 1970 – 1974
Like his predecessors who turned down the role, Ron Moody would have made a great Doctor. Unfortunately (and fortunately) he declined and we were treated to the magic and energy that Jon Pertwee brought to the role.
Scottish actor Fulton Mackay might have replaced Jon Pertwee as the Doctor. But instead he had appeared in a pilot for the comedy TV pilot “Porridge” which was commissioned as a series. This ruled him out the possibility of a more military minded Doctor.
Graham Crowden was also lined up to take the controls of the TARDIS after Jon Pertwee but he spurned the role on the grounds that he didn’t want to take on a leading role. Again, he left his footprints on the series playing a villain in ‘The Horns of Nimon’ I 1979.
Another actor who might have taken the helm from Jon Pertwee was Michael Bentine. The zany actor could have brought out the madness and playfulness that is very much part of the Doctors’s character. When he was approached by producer, Barry Letts, Bentine showed an interested in taking more control of script than Lett’s was prepared to allow.
Replacing Jon Pertwee was becoming a hard task. They next turned to Richard Hearne who was at the time familiar as an accident prone character called Mr Pastry. When the actor revealed that he thought they wanted to play the Doctor as Mr. Pastry they decided on one of the Doctor’s most iconic actors.
The Fourth Doctor: Tom Baker 1974 -1981
The Fifth Doctor: Peter Davidson 1981 – 16 March 1984
The first choice to fill Tom Baker’s shoes was Peter Davison. But as a fall back new producer John Nathan-Turner also had Iain Cuthbertson (he had appeared in a previous episode).
Richard Griffiths was another candidate who might have rifled through the Doctor’s wardrobe. His name came up for both the fifth and seventh Doctors. No doubt he would have brought fruitiness to the role.
The Sixth Doctor: Colin Baker 1984 – 1986
The Seventh Doctor: Sylvester McCoy 1987 -1989
When it was time for CoIin Baker to take his last trip through time and space the producers approached Ken Campbell. Ironically Campbell had discovered another actor in the 1970s called Sylvester McCoy who eventually got the role.
Another Irish actor, Dermot Crowley auditioned for Doctor Who before Sylvester McCoy took control.
Producer John Nathan-Turner had went as far as screen testing Chris Jury.
The Eighth Doctor: Paul McGann 1996
Both Paul McGann and Irish actor Liam Cunningham were lined up to be the new face of the Doctor in 1996. Cunningham gave two auditions. One in a U.S. accent and the other with his own Dublin accent.
The producers also looked at McGann’s brother Mark for the role.
The Ninth Doctor: Christopher Eccleston 2005
The reboot of Doctor Who saw a host of suspects. Bill Nighy, Richard E. Grant, Anthony Head, Eddie Izzard, Hugh Grant and Alan Davies were all possible contenders. A few actors in this list appeared in a comic relief spoof (link below).
The Tenth Doctor: David Tennant 2005 – 2010
The Eleventh Doctor: Matt Smith 2010 – 2013
There were many speculations about who would next haunt the corridors of the TARDIS. Some of the names on that list were Catherine Tate, Robert Carlyle, Jason Statham, David Morrissey, James Nesbitt, Paterson Joseph, Sean Pertwee (son of Third Doctor actor Jon Pertwee), Russell Tovey, and James McAvoy.
The Twelfth Doctor: Peter Capaldi 2013 – Present
Ben Daniels was considered before Peter Capaldi was decided upon.
And one more…
The War Doctor: John Hurt 2013
Hurt appeared as the War Doctor in the 50th Anniversary Special and is an incarnation that falls between Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston in the Doctor Who chronology (Eccleston was originally earmarked for the role in the special).
Here is spoof from comic relief where five well-known actors play the doctor (it is a bit cheesy as you would expect but the regenerations begin after 12 mins.)
Spin offs and more.
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