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There's no show quite like Doctor Who when it comes to lasting beyond the departure of a leading man. The Doctor has been played by no less than thirteen actors on screen by this point, and every incarnation has been unforgettable in his own way. As it turns out, however, one of the Doctors since the 2005 revival could have looked very different. The Good Wife actor Alan Cumming was offered the role of the Doctor on two separate occasions, but he turned it down both times for one major reason: he didn't want to spend most of his year in Wales.
Back in the early days of the revival, Alan Cumming was approached by then-showrunner Russell T. Davis about playing the Doctor. Cumming was amenable to the idea up until he learned that doing so would require him to move back to Britain from New York, where he'd been based for many years. Doctor Who needs its actors on set in Cardiff, Wales for eight months, and Cumming just wasn't willing to relocate for such a long period of time. So, the Russel T. Davis-era Doctors were Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant, with Alan Cumming nowhere to be seen.
The second time Alan Cumming was offered the role of the Doctor came more recently. Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss approached Cumming yet again, and Cumming shared the story of what happened during an appearance at Listowel Writers' Week (via Huffington Post), saying this:
He had heard of this [previous discussion], and he said, 'Would you like to be Doctor Who now?' I said, 'Fine, I'd love to, but they [previously] told me I'd have to go to Cardiff for eight months of the year,' and he said, 'Oh no, you'd still have to do that.' I'd do anything for Doctor Who, but I won't do that.
Alan Cumming is evidently a fan of Doctor Who; he's simply not so much of a fan that he wants to uproot his life for eight months every year to play the leading role. We can knock him off the list of candidates of who will tackle the role next after Peter Capaldi's Twelve regenerates. We already know that Hayley Atwell won't tackle the role, and it might be too much to hope for that Idris Elba signs on. We may have to content ourselves with rumor and speculation until the BBC makes the big announcement about the new face of Doctor Who.
Whoever lands the role will be tasked with leading the show into a whole new era. Showrunner Steven Moffat will be departing at the same time as Peter Capaldi, and new showrunner Chris Chibnall will have a fresh start with a new Doctor and even a new companion. Who knows? Maybe Chibnall will follow in Moffat's footsteps and kick off his new role as showrunner by blowing up the inside of the old TARDIS. We'll have to wait and see.
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