Doctor Who’s new Master Sacha Dhawan was once aiming to play the Doctor

The actor was linked to the role prior to Jodie Whittaker's casting - and told RadioTimes.com at the time he'd love to play the part

Sacha Dhawan

The new series of Doctor Who has kicked off with a bang – with an exciting series premiere that featured the return of one of the show’s most iconic characters.

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Time Lord The Master, who has appeared in many forms over the course of the show’s long and successful history, arrived in his latest incarnation – played by Iron Fist star Sacha Dhawan.

And interestingly, Dhawan once had his eyes on an even more prominent role on the long-running sci-fi show – with the actor telling RadioTimes.com back in 2017 that he would love to play the Doctor. 

Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who series 12 (BBC)
Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who series 12 (BBC)

Prior to the casting of Jodie Whittaker in the titular role, Dhawan had been rumoured as one of many potential candidates to take over from twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi.

And when asked if he’d be interested, he responded, “Oh my God, I’d absolutely love to. I so would love to. I’ve worked with Mark [Gatiss] quite a lot, and I think I’d bring something really exciting to it. It’d be incredibly nerve-wracking to do to be honest. It’s quite a lot of pressure.

“But when the list came out, I was so honoured really that I was even considered. And that alone was kind of good enough. But yeah – who wouldn’t? It’s Doctor Who.”

Dhawan also mentioned at the time that “I personally think maybe it should be a female now” so despite missing out on the main role, it seems like he’ll relish playing the Mater opposite Whittaker. 

And he also claimed later in 2017 that he had never actually auditioned for the part. Speaking at the London Film and Comic Con, he said, “I think because I’m associated with Sherlock and the Doctor Who world someone must have thrown my name in the hat.

“It was really nice, Mark Gatiss messaged me ‘I’ve just seen this on Twitter’, to the point where I was calling my agent saying ‘have I got an audition for this?’ No.”

As it stands, Dhawan already has a history with the franchise, having previously appeared in the 2013 television film An Adventure in Space and Time.

That drama, which was part of the celebrations for the show’s 50th anniversary, told the story of the creation of the series, with David Bradley portraying William Hartnell, who famously played the first Doctor.

In the film, Dhawan played Waris Hussein, who was the original director of the series and played a key part in recruiting Hartnell to the series.

Dhawan has also worked many times with Mark Gatiss, who wrote An Adventure in Space and Time and has a long association with the franchise. This partnership was most recently seen in action in the new adaptation of Dracula – which is currently airing on BBC One.

Throughout his career, Dhawan has appeared in a number of popular British shows, including Last Tango in Halifax, Sherlock and Line of Duty.

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Doctor Who continues on Sundays on BBC One