Nov 23 2010 5:44pm

Richard Griffiths For the Next Doctor

Richard GriffithsCan’t imagine Harry Potter’s Mr. Dursley as the Doctor? It almost happened. Twice.

The BBC Archives has released a photo slideshow detailing all of the actors in consideration for the role of the Doctor, from the very first to the eighth. The slideshow is a great trip through the what-if. The aforementioned Tony Award and Laurence Olivier Award-winning Richard Griffiths was first considered for the role during the hunt for Tom Baker’s successor and again for a pre-cancellation Eighth Doctor.

The site also has a gallery of the previous roles for all of the actors who have gone on to play the Doctor. Patrick Troughton’s first photo in the gallery brings to mind the Ninth Doctor, in particular.

Jamie (Mithril Wisdom)
1. Jamie (Mithril Wisdom)
The 'Before they were Time Lords' page is really interesting; I'd assumed for many of them that Doctor Who was their initial claim to fame. I'll have to take a look at a few of these :)
Iain Coleman
2. Iain_Coleman
Richard Griffiths is an interesting almost-Doctor, if only because it means all three main actors from Withnail and I have been associated with the role: Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, obviously, and Richard E Grant as a future Doctor in Steven Moffat's spoof The Curse of Fatal Death, and as an alternate Ninth Doctor in the web animation Scream of the Shalka.

But for me the most intriguing one that got away was Fulton Mackay. He was a dead cert for the Fourth Doctor until the pilot episode of Porridge was picked up as a series, and would doubtless have been very good in the role. But the fates intervened, he was pulled away, and out-of-work actor Tom Baker was whisked off a building site into the role of his life.

None of the Doctors were unknowns before they were cast, but few were known as lead actors prior to Doctor Who. It's an unusual role, and seems to require the sort of good, interesting but unconventional actor who tends to play supporting roles or villains - or, as with Jon Pertwee and Sylvester McCoy, comic performers with a streak of eccentricity.
Ryan Britt
3. ryancbritt
Ha! This is awesome. I just wish it turned out Roger Moore was supposed to be The Doctor...or Jermey Brett...:-)

How about Emma Watson as the next companion if Amy and Rory ditch the Tardis?
Jamie (Mithril Wisdom)
4. narmitaj
The 1996 pic of Eccleston and fellow cast from the gritty BBC politics-and-corruption drama series Our Friends In The North is interesting: not just a future Doctor Who, but a future James Bond in Daniel Craig. I can't imagine either of them foresaw that while making it.

And Mark Strong would have made a pretty good Sherlock Holmes too, to round out some iconic British male fictional characters - but he played the baddy in the recent Holmes movie instead. (Gina McKee hasn't had such an iconic role yet - but there aren't so many for women, of course - but she's a regular presence on our screens).
Mike Conley
5. NomadUK
ryancbritt@3: Oh, wow, Jeremy Brett as the Doctor. Now that would have definitely been something to see!

narmitaj@4: So now I have these images of Doctor Who tied naked to a chair and being repeatedly whacked with a knotted rope....

Or smiling over his quarry, who's been shot through the leg, and intoning, 'Who. Doctor Who.'

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