Remember 2004? This was the year in which shooting began on Doctor Who Series 1, the year in the Daleks joined, withdrew and then rejoined the series, and of course the year in which Christopher Eccleston and then Billie Piper were cast.
Of course, for Daily Mail readers, it didn’t quite happen like that. In an event that slightly echoed the online storm between two websites concerning the casting of the Ninth Doctor, the infamous right-wing newspaper declared that Bill Nighy had been cast as the Doctor.
For the rest of the world, Christopher Eccleston was the Doctor; in fairness, it’s hardly the first or the last time the Daily Mail had attempted to reshape reality to suit its own ends.
Since then, Nighy – who notably appeared in 2010′s Vincent and the Doctor and is a star of films so diverse as Love, Actually and Underworld – has kept quiet about the affair, but speaking to The People at the weekend he revealed:
“I was offered the role once, I won’t tell you when because the rule is that you’re not allowed to say you turned that job down because it’s disrespectful to whoever did it. I will say that I was approached. But I didn’t want to be the Doctor. No disrespect to Doctor Who or anything. I just think that it comes with too much baggage.”
While the Daily Mail might have got things a little wrong with their bold declaration of Nighy as the Doctor, they were certainly right about him being offered the part…