Alfie Moon in the TARDIS? It could've happened according to Shane Richie, who claims there was once "some interest" in his playing the Doctor in Doctor Who.
Richie is now officially entering the worlds of Doctor Who as he plays Drax – a Time Lord character previously portrayed by Barry Jackson in the 1979 TV story The Armageddon Factor – in Connections, the latest series of Eighth Doctor audio adventures starring Paul McGann and produced by Big Finish.
"I play a Time Lord – how cool is that?" Richie told RadioTimes.com. "I am Drax. He's gone a bit astray. He's a wheeler dealer, he's a law unto himself. He's in it for what he can get out of it. He has no cares about anyone else. But there's still something endearing about him. Imagine Alfie Moon but a Time Lord."
Drax will appear in the boxset's opening adventure, Here Lies Drax, which Richie described as "beautifully written", "funny", "very dark" and a story that "moves at breakneck speed".
But when asked if he'd ever been up for a role in the television series, Richie claimed that he'd once been considered for the part of the Doctor – in the early 2000s, shortly after his first stint on EastEnders as Alfie Moon.
"The deal was I’d go in [to EastEnders] for three months, see the reaction, and then they'd talk about renewing the contract," he explained.
"It took off, so I signed a three year deal – but what happened in the meantime was the papers had said I was only going in for three months… and then someone said, 'We just want to know the availability for Shane Richie to play Doctor Who.'
"Of course, it wasn't the monster it is now, so I didn't think any more about it. But there was an availability check and there was some interest. I think my manager had a meeting about it. But I'd signed up to [play] Alfie for three years."
Christopher Eccleston was, of course, cast as the Ninth Doctor in Russell T Davies' revival of the iconic sci-fi series, though award-winning actor Bill Nighy has also suggested that he was approached about playing the part.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Richie recalled a meeting with Nighy "three or four years" after Doctor Who was revived. "I’m at some awards do in London and Bill Nighy’s there and I go to the toilet – I've never been introduced to Bill, we've never met before, and we're standing by the cubicles... he just looks across and goes, 'Evening, Doctor!' – he was obviously aware that I was up for it and I knew he was up for it. Bill Nighy would have been a great Doctor, wouldn't he?"
- Doctor Who 'adds Harry Potter star to cast for 60th anniversary specials'
- David Tennant filmed Doctor Who regeneration 7 months after Jodie Whittaker wrapped
- David Tennant added a line during Doctor Who regeneration
- The Eighth Doctor to reunite with Cass in new Doctor Who Time War stories
Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor Adventures: Connections is out next month on CD and download from Big Finish.