Plebs star Tom Rosenthal has joked that he was being used as a Doctor Who "red herring" before the announcement that Ncuti Gatwa was set to take over as the iconic timelord.

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The comic actor – also famous for his role in Friday Night Dinner – made the remarks during an exclusive interview with RadioTimes.com at a showcase for ITVX, speaking about why Plebs was coming to an end with this week's feature-length special Plebs: Soldiers of Rome.

"We are just old," he said "We have to grow up, make some other TV shows."

"He [Rosenthal] wants to do drama," added co-star and writer Tom Basden, which prompted Rosenthal to beg: "Please, please. James Bond."

‌The show's writer/director Sam Leifer then pointed out that Rosenthal had often been on the list of possible actors to play the next Doctor Who, with the star quipping: "I don't know who's put me on – some absolute joker at the BBC is using me as a red herring!"

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Speaking more generally about why the show was coming to an end, Basden explained: "I think, we've just been doing it for a long time and this particular story – the idea of taking the boys to war – we've been holding back for a long time, because we knew we wanted to do it but we wanted to kind of wait for the right moment and really do it properly.

"And I really feel that now that we've done that, I'm not sure that we could really spin out any more stories set in Ancient Rome, so it's a combination of the fact that we've just done it for a long time, we've kind of got everything we could out of it in some ways and maybe it's time to move on."

Leifer added: "What was a real privilege was knowing that this was the finale and so we could end it on our terms, which programme makers rarely get to do. They find out that their show has been cancelled – but we knew that this was going to be the last one so we could end it and go out with a bang."

Additional reporting by Abby Robinson.

Plebs: Soldiers of Rome launches on ITVX on Thursday 8th December. Check out more of our Drama coverage or find out what's on with our TV Guide and Streaming Guide.

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