Michael Gambon’s guest turn in Doctor Who special A Christmas Carol has lingered long in many fans’ memories – but it turns out the veteran actor of stage and screen was less than impressed by the finished product.


“I wasn’t very good,” Gambon said at London Film and Comic Con yesterday, to cries of disapprobation from the crowd. “No, I wasn’t very good!”

“I tried hard, but I couldn’t quite get it,” he went on, though said the experience was still “good fun”.

Gambon guest-starred in the 2010 episode as the miserly Kazran Sardick, who refused to help a crashing spaceship land safely on an alien world. Determined to change Kazran’s mind, the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) went back in time to alter his childhood for the better as a self-styled "Ghost of Christmas past” – hence the title. The episode later came third in a RadioTimes.com poll for the best Doctor Who Christmas story.

“Oh [Matt Smith]’s a great bloke, isn’t he?” Gambon said. “I loved him. And who was that beautiful girl in it? Katherine Jenkins.”

“Ooooh, Katherine Jenkins – I tried it on with her,” the actor joked. “No, too old. No hair.”

Michael Gambon as Professor Dumbledore

Gambon went on to discuss one of his other high-profile roles as Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films, a part he took over from the late Richard Harris from 2004 onwards. But it turns out his time at Hogwarts started out with a bit of a fib – because Gambon had never seen or read any Harry Potter.

“I told them I’d seen the first two,” Gambon recounted. “They asked me what I thought of Harry Potter and JK Rowling and all that, and I said ‘Oh, it’s just breathtaking. The first two episodes I saw were just fantastic – I can’t believe I’m going to be in this.’ Liar!”

The actor also revealed that he will not be appearing in any Harry Potter spin-off projects, whether it be stage play The Cursed Child or spin-off/prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – and he was pretty sure Harry himself wouldn't be either.

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“No, none of us have been invited into the new Harry Potter,” he said. “I’d like the money!”

“But I don’t think they’d like me in it, anyway. They haven’t asked me back. Or Daniel [Radcliffe].”


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be released in 2016