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Actors who nearly played the Doctor: Chiwetel Ejiofor

In 2013, fantasy author Neil Gaiman wrote that he knew of a black actor who’d turned the role down. While he refused to be drawn on the name of said thesp, it’s commonly assumed he was talking about the 12 Years A Slave actor, who it’s thought was approached to be the Eleventh Doctor eventually played by Matt Smith. Gaiman’s fact was backed up by outgoing showrunner Steven Moffat, with a source at the BBC subsequently telling the Radio Times Ejiofor wasn’t able to strike a deal with the Beeb. (Reuters)

Doctor Who: 11 actors who nearly played The Doctor

Ben Falk

The lead role in Doctor Who is arguably the biggest part in British television and whoever is chosen to play the character always causes a storm of debate over their suitability. The show’s producers gave the show its key to eternal life in 1966 when they replaced William Hartnell with Patrick Troughton, through a Time Lord practice called “regeneration”.  Jodie Whittaker is the 13th (official) incarnation of the beloved Time Lord, but many actors have narrowly missed landing the role in the past.

Here are eleven performers who came close to holding the sonic screwdriver without actually getting to walk into the TARDIS as an official Doctor. How good do you think they’d have been?

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