Ben Miller says he was approached to play the Doctor
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One of the BBC’s most iconic heroes has been portrayed by the likes of David Tennant and Peter Capaldi since its revival in 2005, but another major star nearly made the cut before the first female Time Lord, Jodie Whittaker, took over the TARDIS. On Tuesday’s The One Show, Death in Paradise star Ben Miller confirmed he was once in early talks to head up a series of Doctor Who.
Ben admitted he is still up for portraying the Doctor when he was reminded of an old call from the BBC by The One Show host Alex Jones.
“Am I okay to say, Ben?” Alex asked. “It’s too late now because I’m halfway down that sentence.
“Am I okay to say that you quite fancied playing the Doctor?”
“I would love to have been Doctor Who,” Ben revealed, sitting next to former companion Jenna Coleman.
He then confirmed he was, in fact, approached by producers for the role at some point before they clearly decided to go in a different direction.
“I was once approached, and asked if I would be interested in being Doctor Who,” he recalled.
“This is going back a few years. I said, ‘Yes, I would be interested.’”
Ben didn’t reveal when exactly he was asked, but his success with Death In Paradise from 2011 could suggest he was being considered as a replacement for the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith.
He may have also taken over from the 12th Doctor, Peter, before the BBC opted to break new ground by casting the show’s first female lead, Jodie.
Unfortunately, he never got the chance to inherit the keys to the TARDIS as he didn’t ever receive a second call.
“At which point I never heard anything else ever again,” he continued.
“And Doctor Who became more and more successful without me! But I’m not bitter.”
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“I did get to play the Sheriff of Nottingham in the episode Robots of Sherwood, I think it was called.”
Ben starred opposite both Jenna and Peter in the 2014 episode, which saw the Doctor take on the Sheriff and his horde of robotic knights.
However, the series has often brought back one-off guest stars for main roles, as was the case with Peter who previously made an appearance in The Fires of Pompeii.
Alex urged Ben: “There’s still time, though, Ben. This is the thing.”
“There is still time,” Ben agreed, hinting he could eventually be eyeing a second attempt at landing the iconic role.
For now, though, the Time Lord helm is currently being held by returning Doctor David Tennant, who made a surprise return at the end of Jodie’s latest adventure.
He’ll be returning with his companion Donna (Catherine Tate) in a series of specials next year, before the next incarnation, Ncuti Gatwa, makes his highly anticipated debut.
The One Show airs weekdays from 7pm on BBC One.
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