Russell T Davies, the writer who spearheaded Doctor Who from 2005 to 2010, has revealed that he wanted two well-known thespians to cameo as the shape-shifting Doctor after David Tennant was finished playing the character: Judi Dench and Ian McKellan.
The comments came as Davies joined fans in revisiting the series amid the ongoing lockdown as part of a mass online watchathon.
Arriving at a scene in the episode “The Stolen Earth” in which Tennant’s Doctor gets blasted by a Dalek, before eventually regenerating into Matt Smith, Davies wrote: “If I had my time again…I’d have MILKED that.”
“I’d have cast a whole new Doctor, a superstar for ONE scene,” he continued. ”Ian McKellen! Judi Dench! Have them run around the Tardis. Then discover the hand, and regenerate back. IMAGINE!!! Why didn’t i?!”
“We knew the regeneration was fun, but genuinely had NO IDEA how big this would be. 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.”
Had Davies cast Dench as the Doctor, even for a cameo, she would have been the first woman to inhabit the role, a distinction that has since been reached by Jodie Whittaker, who currently stars in the beloved BBC sci-fi series.