Being Human star Russell Tovey has been mooted as a potential lead actor for Doctor Who for nearly a decade, with former showrunner Russell T Davies suggested him for the part and the Essex-born actor even auditioning for the Eleventh Doctor role that eventually went to Matt Smith.
And now, with current Doctor Peter Capaldi on the way out and the hunt for his successor in full swing, the wheel of potential candidates has swung back to Tovey – but while he says he’d still love to have a starring role in the BBC sci-fi series, he doesn’t want to play the Doctor.
He’d MUCH rather play the companion.
“I mean there’s conversations to be had,” Tovey told RadioTimes.com when asked if he could play the Time Lord one day. “I always saw myself as the assistant.
“I’ve said this before loads, I would make a very good assistant.”
Of course, such a casting would make even more sense if recent suggestions that the next Doctor be played by a woman came to fruition, following encouragement from the likes of Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss and star Billie Piper – and it’s a move that Tovey thinks is a long time coming.
“The Doctor is everyman, why does he have to be a white man?” Tovey said. “I think absolutely you should have someone of colour now, or a woman, or a woman of colour.
“I don’t understand why it’s even like in discussion. It’s time, isn’t it?”
And overall, despite the media circus that surrounds him every time a new Doctor is in the offing, Tovey says he’s still fond of the show (in which he appeared for two specials in 2007 and 2010), and is frankly honoured to be part of the conversation.
“Doctor Who is like an icon,” he said. “To play that role, to be associated, or even consider you’re worthy enough to don the Doctor, is an honour in itself.
“Yeah, every few years it comes around and I’m spiralled in with all the other names. But it’s great to be there.
“It doesn’t do me any harm at all to be associated with Doctor Who. It’s an incredible show, an incredible character.”
Russell Tovey in 2007 Doctor Who episode Voyage of the Damned
Still, for now Tovey’s happy enough to find his roles elsewhere, currently rehearsing for a production of 90s play Angels in America and recently attracting critical acclaim for his performance as gay footballer Jason in play-turned-movie The Pass.
“The emotion is really raw and he’s a very complicated character,” Tovey said of his character in the film. “So I just wanted to serve Jason well.
“I wanted to make sure he was a multidimensional guy. Even though he’s very much an arsehole and ‘the baddie,’ I want everyone to feel bad for him. Even when he’s being really nasty and mean and manipulative and dark, I still wanted there to be a bit of understanding.
“That was my challenge – I just wanted him to be multifaceted really.”
And who knows? If the right “multifaceted” Doctor Who role comes along one day soon, Tovey might finally get his hands on another part and be free of the nagging questions from journalists about his future in the series. We can all dream, eh?
The Pass arrives on DVD April 10th & is available to watch on Digital Download now
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news