Published on February 6th, 2014 | by Philip Bates

Would John Hurt Return to Doctor Who?

After his amazing role in The Day of the Doctor, wouldn’t it be great to see John Hurt back in Doctor Who, a triumphant return for the man who fought against the Daleks in the Time War,?

Red Carpet News caught up with the award-winning actor, and asked him if he’d like to return; he replied:

I can’t think for a second… You’re asking me to answer something which I can’t answer… But I can’t think there’d be any reason to do that.

It seems to come as a surprise to Hurt – who’s starred in V For Vendetta; Merlin; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; and Watership Down – so it might not be that he hasn’t considered coming back, but that the question came completely out-of-the-blue.

He’d probably recently been answering questions about the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who he worked with on the 2003 film, Owning Mahowny. So could this have just been a badly-timed question? He seemed very pleased with the reception he’d got from Whovians shortly after the 50th anniversary. Mind you, he probably thought of Doctor Who as a one-off thing, especially as he hadn’t realised how big it is.

Then again, there’s always that tweet

And even then, it’s not really up to him – look to the Moff for a final decision!

It might not be the answer we were hoping for – but at least he didn’t definitively say, ‘No More.’


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About the Author


When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything.

16 Responses to Would John Hurt Return to Doctor Who?

  1. Was he really “amazing”? I think he was serviceable. Maybe even good. McGann’s performance in Night of the Doctor was something closer to amazing, especially considering the time he had to work in. He lit up the screen, whereas Hurt merely did the job he was hired to do (be the straight man to Tennant and Smith, and be a bit grumpy), and bring as much gravitas as he could muster. Is there any need for him to return? Taking into account all of the above…I, personally, would say no. The 50th anniversary wrapped up and put a big bow on the last 50yrs, with all the Docs present and correct in some form. Time to move on and leave all that stuff in the display cabinet for a while – John Hurt included.

    • avatar Geoff says:

      I don’t think Jamie deserves all these thumb downs just for expressing his opinion that War Doctor pretty much wrapped up his whole reason for existing in that one story because it’s true. I disagree about the performance. I thought he brought a weight to it which was needed but speakibg just of the character: well, if Chris Eccleston had decided to appear it would probably have been his Doctor in that role and that would have worked just as well but hey ho, we got the excellent John Hurt…as The Doctor! You’d have to be bonkers to complain about that, which brings me back to my first point: all Jamie has said is that he thought the character did its job and there no reason to bring him back. You might not agree but he makes a valid point in a polite and fair way.

  2. avatar TonyS says:

    “Is there any need for him to return?”

    Well, no: not an actual ‘need’. But the same could be said for all of them. I was not, at first, enamoured of “The Day Of The Doctor”. It has grown on me over time. But even on first viewing, one of the things that completely blew me away was Hurt’s performance as the Hurting Doctor. Yes Paul McGann lit up the screen in “The Night Of The Doctor”. I wouldn’t fault his performance at all. But I would give the same judgement of Hurt’s portrayal.

    I would like to see him play the part again. But I do think it should be a short return. The War Doctor has a comparatively limited story to tell.

  3. avatar TonyS says:

    But, then again, he sort of IS saying ‘no more’!

  4. avatar Howard Railton says:

    McGann was amazing!! A few minutes of him were extraordinary. He aught to come back if there’s a pecking order but then I think McCoy’s not to far gone to return either. Such a pity they cast Eccleston who wants nothing to do with Who, the one the story seemed to demand in Day of the Doctor. I suspect most rational actors would like an occasional gig on Who, as Troughton used to enjoy doing. It’s great for fans but with a new Doctor I can’t see any reason they’d bring anyone back till an anniversary in 10 years.

    • Next year is an anniversary. 10 years of Doctor Who coming back. I’m sure they’ll doing something to commemorate it. Shame though that prickly pants Eccleston won’t come back. RTD had a serious lapse in judgment in casting him. Should have gone with McGann. He was up for it then and still is now. I don’t understand why Eccleston wouldn’t want to be in Day of The Doctor. It was shown in 94 countries and could have done wonders for his career. He should be grateful to have gotten the opportunity to play such a legendary role only 12 other terrific actors have gotten to play.

      • avatar Geoff says:

        Really good point about the exposure it would have given Chris Eccleston but I disagree that casting him was a lapse of judgement!

  5. avatar DonnaM says:

    McGann was terrific, to be sure – more the Doctor in seven minutes than some have managed in a whole series, at least to my eyes. However, would I like to see John Hurt back – you blinking bet!

    I thought he was the standout in The Day Of The Doctor; and for the straightman to the other pair (as Jamie calls him above) I thought he was the best comedian of them all, nailing the put-downs to perfection. Of course I secretly hoped he’d turn out to be The Valeyard, and that series 8 would lead up to a Capaldi vs Hurt clash…

    I don’t see him returning now, but I remain thrilled that he graced the show at all!

  6. Those of us who are a little older (I’m 48) will remember the bewilderment when Troughton came back for “The Two Doctors” – OK< we had multiple Doctors for the 20th anniversary but then just as Colin Baker was trying to get established we had a predecessor, and as it wasn't an anniversary it just made the multiple Doctor thing that little bit less special (and the story pretty much nosedived after episode one).

    I loved Hurt in the Day of the Doctor and I'm sure if the right script came along while he was available he'd be willing to consider it. Nevertheless I hope Moffatt will concentrate his energies on establishing Peter Capaldi in the lead rather than diluting it with the other guys, for a very long time.

    P. S. Note the most successful Doctor from the original era was Tom Baker, in most objective terms; he didn't appear in a multiple Doctor story even once.

  7. avatar Paul Aspel says:

    As much as I’d like to see John hurt again, bringing back his doctor would cause all sorts of problems. We really would have to start calling the 12th Doctor the 13th.
    I would rather see Paul McGann’s Doctor comeback for some special episode at some point, he really does deserve to be seen again.

    • avatar TonyS says:

      Those problems have already been aired. We already have to call Capaldi’s Doctor either the 14th or the 1st reboot. Or something like that. Problems with numbering are not a good reason not to bring him back. Having said that, he should not be brought back unless there is a very good reason to do so. I am confident we can trust Mr Moff to do the right thing on this.

    • avatar DonnaM says:

      The BBC say he’s the 12th Doctor, and that’s settled the matter for me. It’s their toybox after all

  8. avatar TonyS says:

    Alternatively, he is “The Doctor”. Doesn’t matter what number.

    • No, he’s “the Doctor”… ;)

  9. avatar TonyS says:

    That’s the trouble with regeneration. You never know what you will get…

  10. My suggestion is simple, see about tapping him for some Big Finish productions. John Hurt is an actor I could listen to for hours.

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