Bill Nighy Turned Down 'Doctor Who': Role Has 'Too Much Baggage'

The British actor says he was "approached" for the part but decided against becoming the next Time Lord.
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Bill Nighy

There could have been a different Time Lord for the new season of Doctor Who.

British actor Bill Nighy revealed in an interview with U.K. paper The Express that he was approached to play the Doctor, though he remained tight-lipped on when the offer actually came.

"I will say that I was approached," the 63-year-old said. "But I didn't want to be the Doctor."

Nighy, who next stars in Richard Curtis' About Time (Nov. 8), saw the pressures attached to playing such an iconic part.

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"No disrespect to Doctor Who or anything, I just think that it comes with too much baggage," he said.

Nighy had appeared in a supporting role on a 2010 episode of Doctor Who, "Vincent and the Doctor," as Dr. Black, with Matt Smith and then-companion Karen Gillan.

But Nighy had high praise for 55-year-old Scottish actor Peter Capaldi, who ultimately landed the coveted part. BBC One and BBC America aired a one-hour live special revealing Capaldi as the successor to Smith, who will depart as the Doctor following the Christmas special.

"He's a marvelous actor. He'll be very good as the Doctor," Nighy said of Capaldi. "He'll bring a lot of wit and dry humor. He's elegant and he looks great."

Smith's farewell tour continued at the summer Television Critics Association press tour in late July. "I think the show has come to a natural tipping point, and it's at the top of a cycle," Smith said of the difficult decision to depart. "I think it's a good time for me and the show."

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