Matt Smith Almost Played Merlin – With Karen Gillan as Guinevere!

The Tenth and Eleventh Doctors, Matt Smith and David Tennant, have appeared together at the Wizard World Convention in New York City, and a few revelations have been made, courtesy of the pair. For one, that Matt first met Karen Gillan (who played his companion, Amy Pond regularly between 2010 and 2012, then in a brief cameo the following year) when they auditioned for another sci-fi BBC1 show: Merlin!

He told a surprised audience:

“The first time we ever met was in an audition for something else, and we got down to the last two for a show, and then we got Doctor Who, and that show was Merlin. And at the time I remember thinking ‘that would have been good, her as Guinevere and me as Merlin,’ then I got the Doctor. That’s not to diminish the quality of Merlin. Merlin’s fantastic and Colin is a brilliant, brilliant actor. But it’s just funny, me and Karen often say, ‘oh, you know…'”

The role of Merlin actually went to Colin Morgan, who played Jethro Cane in Midnight (2008), while Guinevere Pendragon was played by Angel Coulby (who very briefly appeared in 2006’s The Girl in the Fireplace).

Doctor Who casting director, Andy Pryor recalled:

“I saw Colin in a play about a week before we got Russell [T. Davies]’s script for Midnight, got him in for an audition and we cast him. Doctor Who was Colin’s first part in TV drama.”

I’m just thankful we got Matt’s perfect Doctor instead!

Tennant also revealed his favourite Doctor Who moment starring his successor.

Addressing Matt, David said:

“Have I ever told you this? There’s something that you brought to it, that encapsulated my favourite moment that you did. It’s in the one with James Corden [2010’s The Lodger] where you get given a glass of wine then just kind of [mimes spitting it out]. It’s pin sharp comic timing, but it also has this kind of bewildered innocence that I just thought was absolutely fantastic.”

It really is a wonderful slice of humour – but then The Lodger‘s full of little gems. I love the Doctor asking Craig and Sophie where the on-switch is on a normal screwdriver; and him optimistically dunking his hair in the general direction of hair gel.

I feel a rewatch of Series 5 is (perpetually) in order…