In a parallel universe where Matt Smith had turned left, Russell Tovey is the eleventh Doctor that could have been. The former Being Human star, seen last night in new ITV sitcom The Job Lot, has revealed that he auditioned for the role before Smith was cast.
Tovey, who previously featured as sailor Alonso Frame (pictured above) in Doctor Who Christmas special Voyage of the Damned, said he screen-tested for the part of the Time Lord after Russell T Davies suggested him as a replacement for David Tennant’s tenth Doctor.
He said: “Russell texted me to say, ‘Look, I’ve said this quote about how you should be the next Doctor Who, so if it goes a bit crazy …’ And I was, ‘Oh, that’s fine …’, and then suddenly it just went everywhere: people messaging me from my childhood and lots of remarks like, ‘His ears are too big for the TARDIS, they’ll be flapping about.’ People were starting to get really personal.”
In the end, of course, the role went to Smith; although Tovey has no regrets. “It would have terrified me,” he told The Independent, “I don’t know what I would have done with all the attention.”
Well, who knows? Maybe one day he’ll have the chance to try again…