Rachel Talalay, director of Series 8 and 9’s finales, has revealed that the Doctor Who production team did approach Timothy Dalton to reprise his role for Hell Bent.
Former James Bond, Dalton played Rassilon in David Tennant’s swansong, The End of Time (2009/10), and the character returned for Series 9’s last episode in which the Doctor found himself back on Gallifrey (after quite a considerable battle, it has to be said). For Hell Bent, however, Rassilon was played by Donald Sumpter.
In the latest Radio Free Skaro, Talalay said:
“At first we did check to see if Timothy Dalton was available, and he was not. So then a regeneration happened… It was wonderful to work with Donald Sumpter, just embracing a new version of Rassilon. He has that deep, subtle, terrifying performance going on”
Sumpter played the part brilliantly, even if he wasn’t given his fair share of material. The actor has previously appeared in The Wheel in Space, The Sea Devils, and in a two-part Sarah Jane Adventures story, The Eternity Trap (which was rather excellent, and if you’ve not seen it, you really should).
Dalton might’ve been too busy due to filming Penny Dreadful (which also stars Rose Tyler actress, Billie Piper); but he’s most famous for playing 007 in two late-1980s films, The Living Daylights and License to Kill.
Would you have liked to see Dalton return? Or are you happy to see Sumpter back in Who?