How Matt Smith almost ended up on a different Steven Moffat show

Contributed by
Dec 17, 2012

At this point it's hard to imagine anyone but Matt Smith as the bowtie-rockin', Sonic Screwdriver-spinnin' Eleventh Doctor, but it almost didn't work out that way. According to Smith, he first met showrunner Steven Moffat to discuss not Who but a very different role on another show.

Smith was still a largely unknown actor when he was named the Eleventh Doctor in January 2009, and he hadn't even planned on trying to land the role. When he first met Moffat, he was auditioning not for the Doctor, but for the role of Dr. John Watson on Moffat's Sherlock, then still in development at the BBC.

"I nearly became Sherlock Holmes's sidekick instead. Before Doctor Who was even discussed I went to see Steven Moffat, the co-creator of the BBC's Sherlock, to test for the role of Doctor John Watson," Smith said. "Steven saw me more as a Sherlock Holmes than a Watson, but the main part had already gone to Benedict Cumberbatch."

Obviously, Smith didn't win the Watson role, but Moffat had other ideas for him.

"However, Steven saw something in me that made him think I could be right for the role of The Doctor."

After three weeks of auditions, Smith was cast, and then the world met its Eleventh Doctor. The Watson role went to Martin Freeman, who's now on his way to his own brand of nerd superstardom as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's Hobbit Trilogy.

But if things had worked out just a little differently, we could have seen Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt Smith running around London solving crimes together.

(Via Daily Mail)