Brian Blessed Turned Down Doctor Who In The 1960s!


In perhaps the most disappointing Brian Blessed based news story since he was cast as a racist toad in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; and not a sabre-wielding Jedi badass (you would have forgiven it for being a trade route based snorefest for one scene of Blessed cleaving attack droids in half. Jedi power: INTENSE SHOUTING!) the bellowing actor turned down the role of the Doctor due to being ‘too busy.’

The 77 year-old actor told Steven Moffat that he couldn’t succeed Matt Smith…no, I’m only joking! Imagine it, Tumblr would explode. No, Blessed explained to the Radio Times that he was approached to star in the show during the 60s as a replacement for the soon departing William Hartnell.

“After I was in Z Cars, the head of BBC serials took me aside and said, ‘We’re thinking of having a young Doctor Who and we’d like to cast you’. But it clashed with other things,” he said.

Blessed went on to soak the land in blood as King Yrcanos in Mindwarp – the second part of The Trial of a Time Lord saga – and, unsurprisingly was the best thing in a serial whose grand ideas never quite gelled.

He went on to find fame in other genre fare such as Flash Gordon, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Roland Rat: The Series, not to mention the superb King Richard IV in 1983 sitcom The Black Adder.


Asked whether or not he’d take the role now, he said: “I’d jump at it.”

Somewhat amusingly, he also went on to discuss what he perceived to be the significance of the Doctor’s surname. “I think they need to re-examine his surname,” he said “’Who’ is very oriental. It’s about time they had an Asian actor as the Doctor. And a female one.”

So if nothing else comes from Brian’s disclosure, we now know he’s a pro-female Doctor man. Good man!

Would Brian Blessed have made a great Doctor? We’ll never know, of course, although we can use this clip from Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) – where he appears with the late, grate Nick Courtney – to get an idea…

Blessed certainly has the kind of outlandish, trickster personality that suggests something of the eternal outsider – well, a rather sonorous outsider (if you live in the UK, Brian Blessed’s voice is kind of like background noise, it’s carried on the wind like traffic and ice cream chimes – it harks back to a simpler time when all our Gordon’s were alive) and, with all the japes about his bluster and bonhomie, its often forgotten just how good an actor he is. It certainly would have been exciting to see Blessed walk in the fourth dimension.

Of course, with him joining the show at such a crucial time – the very first regeneration – it’s enticing to think about just how different the show would have been if he had taken on the role of the Doctor. What kind of Doctor would he be? A regal giant amongst men? A lover of life? Boss Nass?


Do you think Brian Blessed would have made a good Doctor? Do you agree with Brian’s belief that there should be a female Doctor? And why wasn’t he a Jedi Knight?

(Via Mirror Online | With thanks to Daren)


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