Doctor’s alive! Brian Blessed turned down lead role in Doctor Who

The Flash Gordon actor has revealed that it could have been him as the Doctor instead of Patrick Troughton


It turns out that the Doctor could have been a lot louder… Brian Blessed has revealed to Radio Times that he was once approached to play the lead role in Doctor Who, but turned it down as he was too busy. 


“After I was in Z Cars, the head of BBC serials took me aside and said, ‘We’re thinking of having a young Doctor Who and we’d like to cast you’, but it clashed with other things.”

If he had accepted, the booming-voiced actor would have taken over the role from the first Doctor William Hartnell, who instead regenerated into Patrick Troughton in 1966.

The Flash Gordon star also gave his thoughts on what direction the modern incarnation of the show should go, suggesting that Steven Moffat casts an Asian woman as the next Doctor. 

“I think they need to re-examine his surname – ‘Who’ is very oriental. It’s about time they had an Asian actor as The Doctor. And a female one.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Blessed also confessed his love of science fiction – and how thrilled he still is to have featured in the 1980 Flash Gordon film. 

“My biggest love has always been space. I grew up in a mining village in South Yorkshire and every weekend the local picture house played Flash Gordon. Magnificent Buster Crabbe was Flash, but I always used to pretend to be flying Prince Vultan. I never dreamt that one day I’d actually play him.”


Read the full interview in the new issue of Radio Times, out now.