Before the heady days of Matt Smith, there was great uncertainty about who would play the Eleventh Doctor, following David Tennant’s announcement that he was leaving Doctor Who; this resulted in a lot of speculation that David Morrissey would be the Time Lord, egged on by the 2008 Christmas special title, The Next Doctor.
Morrissey, however, wasn’t even aware that Tennant was departing the role when they filmed the festive episode. When the announcement was made, he reveals that he had to ask permission to tell his kids that he wouldn’t be the Doctor – and was refused! He recalls:
“I’d often tell my agent I’d love to do Doctor Who. I’d worked with David Tennant [on Blackpool], knew him well and I was a huge fan. And it came through. Obviously, I loved being in the Christmas special – filmed in February! It was fun, we shot in Gloucester and Cardiff, and I was a total geek; the minute I got there, I said to David, ‘Where’s the TARDIS?’
“My kids liked it at that time – now, not so much – but it was one of the first things I did that they could watch… Because the episode was called The Next Doctor, I lived for about nine months with the speculation that I was going to be the next Doctor. I knew I wasn’t. I asked Russell T Davies if I could tell my kids and he said no! So, during that time, my kids were always asking, ‘Are you moving to Cardiff?'”
You can understand why RTD said no – he really couldn’t risk any news leaking out before transmission – but even so, it seems particularly harsh to keep Morrissey’s kids in the dark about where they’d be living!
The eventual announcement of Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor was made during a special edition of Doctor Who Confidential (still miss that glorious show), broadcast on 3rd January 2009.
David also played the Governor between 2012 and 2015 in The Walking Dead, and he says:
“There are similarities between Doctor Who and The Walking Dead from a passionate fanbase perspective. I was in LA visiting [actor] Ian Hart, and my manager said they were interested in me for a ‘substantial role’. There’s always a lot of secrecy around it. You have a vague meeting, but what you have to do with American cable shows is sign the deal before you meet, on very little knowledge of what the part is or how it’ll pan out.”
David is currently starring in the BBC2 drama, The City and The City, which airs on Friday nights.
Would you have liked to see Morrissey as the Doctor? Could he still play him, given the show’s attitude to recasting? Or is his part in The Next Doctor best left as is?