Bill Nighy — Richard Curtis’ muse, and featured cameo in one of the best stand-alone episodes of “Doctor Who,” ” Vincent and the Doctor” — was apparently also approached about becoming the 12th Doctor, despite being even older than Peter Capaldi. Nighy, however, will not say whether he was “offered” the job.
“I won’t tell you when because the rule is that you are not allowed to say you turned that job down because it’s disrespectful to whoever did it,” Bill says tactfully. 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.”
That’s interesting, and Nighy is certainly someone I could’ve seen fit the kind of mold that Moffat seems to be going for: Older, with gravitas, but who also has a very tender side. I think he would’ve been a marvelous choice, although no better or worse than Capaldi. It probably would’ve meant more Richard Curtis episodes, too, and I thought Curtis penned a brilliant stand-alone episode (I don’t think he could’ve been trusted with the season long arcs, however).
Nighy, however, agrees with the ultimate choice, saying of Peter Capaldi, “He’s a marvellous actor. He’ll be very good as the Doctor. He’ll bring a lot of wit and dry humour. He’s elegant and he looks great.”
Ironically, Nighy will be next seen in About Time, a Richard Curtis time travel romantic comedy.