Doctor Who’s Peter Capaldi was almost a Star Trek lead new documents reveal

It turns out that the future Twelfth Doctor once auditioned to play the star role in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine


Any Doctor Who fan worth their salt already knows that Peter Capaldi was once in the frame to play an earlier incarnation of the Doctor – with the Scottish turned down a chance to audition for what ended up being Paul McGann’s incarnation of the Time Lord in the 90s, changing TV history at a stroke.


However, it’s now emerged that the Capaldi casting “what-ifs” don’t stop there, with the Twelfth Doctor star apparently once in the frame for another iconic sci-fi role: Star Trek’s Benjamin Sisko, the lead in 90s series Deep Space Nine that eventually went to American actor Avery Brooks.

The surprise information came to light thanks to the efforts of the trekdocs Twitter account, an anonymous team of Star Trek fans who regularly unearth interesting documents from the series and who uncovered a UK casting session for Deep Space Nine from 1992 featuring some very interesting names.

On the list were Alexander Siddig (under his real name Siddig El Fadil – he was eventually cast in the series), Spooks’ Peter Firth, Robin Hood’s Keith Allen, Buffy’s Anthony Head, The Crown’s Pip Torrens and, most excitingly of all, the future Twelfth Doctor, with Capaldi’s involvement in the auditions later confirmed by the Twitter account for an upcoming documentary about Deep Space Nine (who have access to the archive footage).

But how close were we to actually seeing Commander Capaldi on the bridge? Well, a new interview with Deep Space Nine showrunner Ira Steven Behr suggests it was probably something of an outside bet, with the team instead fairly committed to finding Star Trek’s first African-American lead character.

“When [co-creator] Michal Piller started his insidious plan to bring me back into the fold – so sitting together at baseball games, when he mentioned it to me, he mentioned to me as an African-American captain,” Behr told

“Some people say that is too specific and that it was definitely going to be a brown person, definitely not a Caucasian. They hadn’t necessarily locked in to that person being African-American.

“I actually have some of the auditions and some were sent in from England from some very good British actors. So they were covering on all fronts, but I think that was all just due diligence. It was always going to be a brown captain.”

So it sounds like Capaldi didn’t really have much of a chance at sitting in the big chair after his audition – but it’s interesting to imagine the parallel universe where he commands comic-con attention for his Star Trek fame instead of his time in the Tardis.

And if the full audition tape ever does beam up, well, we’ll be waiting.


Doctor Who returns to BBC1 this Christmas, while Star Trek: Discovery begins on Netflix UK on 25th September