Doctor Who News Russell Tovey as Midshipman Frame in Voyage of the Damned

Published on April 30th, 2013 | by Andrew Reynolds

Russell Tovey DID Audition for Eleven!

Apart from his enduring turn as Midshipman Alonso Frame in The Voyage of the Damned, Russell Tovey is perhaps best known to Doctor Who fans as the officially sanctioned ‘nearly man’ after being tipped for the role as the Doctor by none other than Russell T Davies.

Russell Tovey as Midshipman Frame in Voyage of the Damned

Well, it turns out he actually did screen test for the role of the Eleventh Doctor.

Russell has told The Independent of the moment that Davies’ offhand comment pitched him into the bizarre media circus surrounding the Doctor.

In 2007, after catching his eye in his role of a TV producer in Rob Brydon’s Annually Retentive, Davies mentioned in a blog that he thought Tovey would make an ideal replacement for the departing David Tennant:

“Russell texted me to say, ‘Look, I’ve said this quote about how you should be the next Doctor Who, so if it goes a bit crazy …’ And I was, ‘Oh, that’s fine …’, and then suddenly it just went everywhere: people messaging me from my childhood and lots of remarks like, ‘His ears are too big for the Tardis, they’ll be flapping about.’ People were starting to get really personal.”

In the event, Matt Smith was to become the Eleventh Doctor, but Tovey, who was screen-tested, professes to have been more relieved than miffed:

“It would have terrified me…I don’t know what I would have done with all the attention.”

Would you like to have seen Tovey in the role of the Doctor? What kind of Doctor would he have made? Or would you like to see Midshipman Frame make a reappearance (possibly with Captain Jack again?)


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About the Author


Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.

6 Responses to Russell Tovey DID Audition for Eleven!

  1. avatar Jan Bos says:

    No. Benedict Cumberbatch or the guy who played Arthur in Merlin, those two would be perfect Doctors, but not Tovell.

  2. avatar Simon says:

    Tovey’s a good actor, but I’m far more glad we got Matt Smith instead because Matt is naturally Doctorish (does that make sense?), something which I don’t get from Tovey.

  3. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    I’ve never been that crazy about Tovey in any role I’ve seen him in so I’m very relieved RTD was NOT in charge of picking this Doctor.

  4. I can’t help but be reminded of how in an alternate timeline, Bernard Cribbins may well have been the Fourth Doctor.

  5. avatar Paul Blume says:

    Just a ‘chin jokes’ are still the order of the day, if Tovey had landed the role, we’d never have heard the end of ‘ear jokes’. And, no, he isn’t ‘Doctor-ish’ enough. then again, he never had a chance to be, did he?

  6. avatar TimeChaser says:

    Hard to really know if he would have made a good Doctor unless we ever get to see that screen test (I’m sure Moffat has it locked away in a vault deep in the bowels of the earth), but just from seeing him as Alonso Frame and in Being Human, I don’t get a Doctor-ish vibe from him.

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