It’s no secret that Peter Capaldi is a lifelong Doctor Who superfan, but in the above Q&A clip the current Doctor revealed that he once turned down a chance to play the role back in the mid-90s when the BBC was casting the part of the 8th Doctor, which later went to Paul McGann.
I can’t imagine another Doctor Who fan who would do such a thing, but Capaldi was in a bit of a unique situation in that he was managing both his career and his affections at the same time. Ultimately, he wound up rejecting the overture because he didn’t think that he would get the job when he figured, since they were casting the part for the American co-produced pilot at FOX, they would want someone more famous.
McGann, of course, went on to play the 8th Doctor in the TV movie, a series of Big Finish audio adventures, and in The Night of the Doctor mini-episode last year. But while he’s been mostly well-regarded for his brief time as the Doctor, it’s hard to deny that things worked out splendidly for Capaldi, who will begin his second season as The Doctor next year.
Though McGann wasn’t the problem with the TV movie, it’s hard to think that Capaldi would have been the solution. So much went wrong there. From Eric Roberts’ turn as The Master to the atrocious story. Capaldi could have been the one to get burned off instead of McGann, and while we’ll never know whose long-take on the Doctor is better, I’m quite content with where Capaldi has taken the character so far, so I’m glad that Capaldi’s decision is a fixed point in time. Sorry Paul.