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‘Doctor Who’ Casting: Bill Nighy Turned Down 12th Doctor Role?

Doctor Who Peter Capaldi Bill Nighy
BBC / Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

Following news that actor Peter Capaldi would go on to become the next ‘Doctor Who‘ after Matt Smith’s exit later this year, reports emerged that actor Chiwetel Ejiofor had previously turned down the role of the 11th Doctor, denying the franchise its first major casting shakeup for the role. And while producers insisted that Capaldi was the primary choice to replace Smith this time around, UK actor Bill Nighy has come forward to admit he turned down the iconic part.

“I will say that I was approached,” Nighy told the UK’s Express of becoming the next actor to take on the ‘Doctor Who’ mantle. “But I didn’t want to be the Doctor. No disrespect to Doctor Who or anything, I just think that it comes with too much baggage.” Nighy spoke positively of Capaldi’s casting, as well, saying “He’s a marvelous actor. He’ll be very good as the Doctor. He’ll bring a lot of wit and dry humor. He’s elegant and he looks great ”

Nighy doesn’t specify if he was again approached for the 12th Doctor role, having reportedly been eyed for the 9th back in 2003, but, like Capaldi, has a history with the franchise. Nighy previously placed the character “Dr. Black” in 2010 episode “Vincent and the Doctor,” much as Capaldi had appeared before and taken a role on ‘Torchwood,’ as well.

Apart from the potential to choose a Doctor of another race or gender, much of the talk surrounding Capaldi’s announcement dealt with the actor’s age of 55, returning the franchise to an elder bent that had skewed younger and younger each year. The 63-year-old Nighy would have likely stirred that conversation even further, as Capaldi maintains a bit more youthful edge in his body of work, in spite of his age.

So what do you think? Apart from his name recognition, would Bill Nighy have made a better choice for the 12th Doctor, or do you still have faith in Peter Capaldi to take the franchise into the next generation of ‘Doctor Who’?

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