Setting aside the revelations of latest Doctor Who finale The Timeless Children, the list of actors who’ve played the sci-fi drama’s lead character the Doctor is a special (and exclusive) club – but now, former series boss Russell T Davies says he wishes he’d added one extra name to the list.


Tweeting along during a Doctor Who: Lockdown rewatch of his 2008 two-part finale The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End, Davies noted that the first episode’s cliffhanger – which saw David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor appear to regenerate into a new body – could have been milked even more, and that he wished he had actually cast a big-name actor to play a new Doctor for a short scene.

“We knew the regeneration was fun, but genuinely had NO IDEA how big this would be,” he said. “It sounds daft, but… because we knew what happens next week, we genuinely didn’t have a perspective on how massive it looked from outside.”

It was only later when the episode aired that Davies realised what a huge TV moment he’d actually unleashed on the world, and with hindsight he says he thinks he may have missed a big opportunity…

“If I had my time again…I'd have MILKED that,” Davies said. “I'd have cast a whole new Doctor, a superstar for ONE scene.”

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And the screenwriter said there were a few candidates he could have had in mind.

“Ian McKellen! Judi Dench! Have them run around the Tardis,” Davies continued.

“Then discover the hand, and regenerate back. IMAGINE!!! Why didn’t I?!”

Alas, like the year we now find ourselves struggling through, hindsight is 20/20. But to be fair, at least this means we’re still in with a shot at a Dench/McKellen Doctor being revealed further down the line, and not thrown away in one scene.

After all, as we’ve only recently discovered there are a whole host of Doctors that we may have never heard about. Who’s to say a few iconic thesps couldn’t stand alongside Jo Martin and the Morbius Doctors when series 13 finally rolls around? Stranger things have happened…


Doctor Who returns to BBC One in late 2020/early 2021. Want something to watch tonight? Check out our full TV Guide.