How many people have played the Doctor? Yes, yes, Hartnell, Troughton, Pertwee, all the way up to Whittaker; and then there’s Jo Martin, and Peter Cushing and — look, the point is, there’s one more person you might not have counted: Steven Moffat.
The former showrunner played the Tenth Doctor in the highly-acclaimed episode, Blink. Oh sure, David Tennant was better known for the part, but as Moffat explained on Instagram:
“Brand new, exclusive fact (unless I’ve revealed it before which is more than likely.) At the Blink readthrough I read the part of the Doctor. I was GREAT! People wept. Russell [T Davies] slapped me. I’m sure he meant it as a compliment. As a direct consequence of that readthrough, Carey Mulligan became an international star. And I moved on to doing the stage directions.”
To be fair, Moffat surely played the Doctor many, many times, in every script he wrote for the show, and beyond. Indeed, there’s an army of folks who have played the Doctor off-screen. Thanks to The Timeless Children, maybe every single child who pretended to have two hearts and a working sonic screwdriver really is the Doctor too. (And that’s as much praise as I’m ever willing to give the Series 13 finale.)
No, we don’t know why Tennant wasn’t at the readthrough for the Series 3 episode, but we can infer it’s because he was busy filming and because his lines are mostly the same throughout, fed through TV screens via DVD Easter eggs — so it would’ve been a fairly samey experience for David if he had turned up.
Either way, how joyous to think that Moffat, who must’ve dreamed of being the Doctor as a kid, finally got his chance.
And remember: do — not — blink.