How David Tennant was nearly cast as Hannibal Lecter

He’s been a driving instructor, a grizzled detective and of course a Time Lord – but it’s now been revealed that David Tennant was almost a serial killer as well.

News emerged this week that when NBC were in the process of creating Hannibal, their three-season drama based on Thomas Harris’ infamous creation, Tennant was a front runner for the title role.

“I met [Hannibal executive producer] Bryan Fuller a couple of times, and we talked about it,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “But I think they quite wisely chose Mads Mikkelsen, I think he was a perfect choice for it, and I think he did things with that character that I wouldn’t have managed, so I think the right man got the job.”

Tennant’s no stranger to showing us his dark side. He’s recently been seen menacing Krysten Ritter in Jessica Jones, and next month you’ll be able to watch him lock horns with unwanted house guest Robert Sheehan in Electric Entertainment’s Bad Samaritan.

And lest we forget, he turned in a small but memorable performance as Barty Crouch Jr. in 2005’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – even going so far as to regenerate on screen (although without complaining about his teeth).

In short, Tennant does a cracking villain – and those who can only bear to watch the former Doctor in one of his ‘nice’ roles (and there are people like this, we’ve spoken to them) really are missing out on some of his best stuff. “There is something delicious,” he says, “about playing people that go to really dark corners of the human experience.”

But Dr Lecter? That would have made for an interesting three years. And who knows which direction the now-cancelled series might have taken, had it been Tennant causing nightmares for poor old Will Graham?

While you ruminate on that, we’re off to watch The Waters Of Mars – the only time the Tenth Doctor really came close to crossing the line. We’re having it with fava beans and a nice Chianti…