Actor bookies thought would be The Doctor explains how it didn't happen

Contributed by
Oct 18, 2013

Before actor Peter Capaldi was revealed as the Twelfth Doctor on Who, there was someone else on the short list to follow in Matt Smith's footsteps and was (at one point) THE bookies’ favorite to win the race to the TARDIS. So how did it not come to pass?

Actor Ben Daniels -- who'll star in the upcoming second season of the BBC’s The Paradise, though you may have noticed him in Jack the Giant Slayer, Merlin and Doom --- was one of those who was, at the end, on the very, very short list of potential candidates to play the beloved Time Lord.

In an interview with Digital Spy, the British thespian opened up about the whole agonizingly long and very secretive process. Daniel says:

"It was more than rumor.
"I was approached and asked if it was something I'd be interested in doing. Apparently, usually when it's announced that the [old] Doctor is leaving, the new Doctor's already firmly in place. But a BBC email had apparently been leaked, talking about Matt Smith's departure or something, so they had to announce it officially much sooner than they'd have liked.
"I don't know whether my name was also on that e-mail as was stated in lots of those rumors, but I was one of the names on one of their many lists they had as a possible replacement.
"So I was asked, and when I eventually managed to peel myself off the ceiling, I said, 'Yeah, of course it'd be something I'd be interested in doing,' and I was hugely excited by it.
"I was a huge fan of the show as a kid, like we all were really. My era was Jon Pertwee into Tom Baker and then also when it returned, penned thrillingly by the amazing Russell T Davies with Christopher Eccleston. To be thrown into that mix as a possibility was fantastic.
"But I also knew from the outset that there was a name ahead of my own on that list that they were very interested in. So after that initial conversation that I had with them, it was just a waiting game.
"I was consumed by the idea, even though I was heavily involved filming The Paradise at the time - often I'd call my agent and make them call Doctor Who and ask if it'd gone away as a possibility.
"It was just so I could stop thinking about it, but then my agent would call me back and say, 'No, you're still on the list'. This went on for a couple of months.
"So I had a good two months to really think about the ramifications of...not being able to go to the local pub and so on. I sort of live in the middle of three schools, so it was like, 'OK, maybe I'd have to move'.
"I think a lot of actors have no interest in doing that, but the Doctor is a fantastic character and...if you want to, there's a huge scope for an actor to really sink your teeth into. It'd be an absolute privilege.
"Then - I think it was about two weeks before that live reveal event - I was told that their shortlist had got much shorter! But it didn't mean I wouldn't come back into the frame.
"So I took that to mean the deal was being done with whoever was the frontrunner and if it all fell through, then those of us who were trailing behind would be in with a chance.
"After that, all communications went into lock-down infuriatingly, but I suppose they have to, so nothing leaked. I found out about that BBC live reveal program a couple of days before it [aired].
"It was a really exciting couple-and-a-half months. I was thoroughly entertained reading all those daily rumors online - first I was cast, then I'd filmed, then I had to pull out for personal reasons! All of which had no basis whatsoever in reality, but they'd obviously latched onto something and I don't know where that all initially started. You never know with all those rumors.”

Do you guys think Ben Daniels would have made a great Doctor? Or do you absolutely agree with the choice of Peter Capaldi as Twelve?

(via Digital Spy)

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