Hugh Grant is reportedly in talks to take on the role of Doctor Who.
Russell T Davies, 58, is returning as showrunner ahead of its 60th anniversary next year, and it’s claimed he’s hoping Hugh, 61, can give the sci-fi series a ‘fresh feel’ after Jodie Whittaker‘s departure.
An insider told the Mirror: ‘He offers many attributes – great actor, British, award-winning, Hollywood A-lister and excellent at comedy. Conversations are in progress.’
New role? Hugh Grant, 61, could take on the role of Doctor Who as the show gets a Marvel-style makeover (pictured 2020)
This would not be the first time Hugh has played the Doctor – in 1999 he played a version of the 12th Doctor for a Comic Relief special written by Steven Moffat.
Five years later, Russell offered Hugh the lead role but he didn’t take it.
In 2007, the actor said he regretted his decision, telling Digital Spy at the time: ‘I was offered the role of the Doctor a few years back and was highly flattered.
Moving on: It comes after current Doctor Who, actress Jodie, 39, announced she was leaving the role in July last year
‘The danger with those things is that it’s only when you see it on screen that you think, “Damn, that was good, why did I say no?” But then, knowing me, I’d probably make a mess of it.’
It is also said Russell wants to overhaul the look of the show, giving it greater opportunity to branch out with spin-offs.
The insider added: ‘The vision is that the show can be a Marvel-like product, building franchises around the Doctor and other key characters in his many lives.
Hopes: Russell T Davies, 58, is returning as showrunner ahead of its 60th anniversary next year, and it’s claimed he’s hoping Hugh, 61, can give the sci-fi series a ‘fresh feel’
‘With the utmost respect to the BBC, in the past attempts like Torchwood were made on a very limited budget in locations around Wales. Now the world is Russell’s oyster.’
MailOnline has contacted the BBC and a representative for Hugh for comment.
It comes after current Doctor Who, actress Jodie, 39, announced she was leaving the role in July last year.
Her departure will play out across an upcoming three-part special and the show’s first female Doctor, described her four-year stint manning the Tardis as being ‘the best job I ever had’.
Jodie was first said to have made the decision to leave in January last year, with reports at the time discussing a fall in viewership, which has been declining for five years.
It was reported that Jodie and showrunner Chris Chibnall, who is also walking away from the show, had attracted just half the audience during their paring compared to what the Russell T Davies-led, David Tennant-fronted version of the show did.
Jodie will first appear in the thirteenth season of Doctor Who – set to air later this year – and then in the first special, tipped to hit screens on New Year’s Day 2022.
A second special will air in spring 2022, with Jodie’s final, feature-length appearance as the Doctor – in which she will regenerate – arriving in autumn 2022 as part of the BBC’s centenary celebrations.
Of her time on the show, Jodie said: ‘In 2017 I opened my glorious gift box of size 13 shoes. I could not have guessed the brilliant adventures, worlds and wonders I was to see in them.
Horizons new: Jodie confirmed last summer that she was leaving Doctor Who alongside showrunner Chris Chibnall, both of whom have worked on the show since 2017
‘My heart is so full of love for this show, for the team who make it, for the fans who watch it and for what it has brought to my life.
‘And I cannot thank Chris enough for entrusting me with his incredible stories.’
She added: ‘We knew that we wanted to ride this wave side by side, and pass on the baton together. So here we are, weeks away from wrapping on the best job I have ever had.
‘I don’t think I’ll ever be able to express what this role has given me. I will carry the Doctor and the lessons I’ve learnt forever.’
Who is odds-on to replace Jodie as Doctor Who?
According to Ladbrokes.co.uk, these are the favourites to succeed Jodie into the Tardis…
OLLY ALEXANDER – 3/1
The It’s A Sin actor and Years And Years hitmaker, 30, has already said he’d love to take over the Tardis.
KRIS MARSHALL – 6/1
Kris, 47, was widely rumoured to be the 13th Doctor back in 2017 – could 2021 be the year he finally steps into the Tardis?
JODIE COMER – 10/1
The Killing Eve star, 27, who has picked up an Emmy and a BAFTA thus far, is also one of the top names.
REECE SHEARSMITH – 12/1
The League of Gentleman actor, 51, is currently an outside bet for the role.
MICHAELA COEL – 5/1
Michaela, 33, won acclaim for her BAFTA-winning role in Chewing Gum and BBC/HBO drama, I May Destroy You – making her the hot favourite.
RICHARD AYOADE – 6/1
The IT Crowd star, 43, is not far behind Michaela as he looks to add to his impressive CV.
PHOEBE WALLER-BRIDGE – 8/1
The much-decorated Fleabag and Killing Eve is among the favourites for the role.
JOHN BOYEGA – 10/1
The Star Wars actor, 28, has previously starred alongside current Time Lord Jodie in Attack the Block and branded her performance ‘brilliant.’
Jodie concluded: ‘I know change can be scary and none of us know what’s out there. That’s why we keep looking. Travel Hopefully. The Universe will surprise you. Constantly.’
Showrunner Chris, 51, added: ‘Jodie and I made a ”three series and out” pact with each other at the start of this once-in-a-lifetime blast. So now our shift is done, and we’re handing back the Tardis keys.
‘Jodie’s magnificent, iconic Doctor has exceeded all our high expectations. She’s been the gold standard leading actor, shouldering the responsibility of being the first female Doctor with style, strength, warmth, generosity and humour.
‘She captured the public imagination and continues to inspire adoration around the world, as well as from everyone on the production. I can’t imagine working with a more inspiring Doctor – so I’m not going to!
‘For me, leading this exceptional team has been unrivalled creative fun, and one of the great joys of my career. I’m so proud of the people we’ve worked with and the stories we’ve told.’
Looking forward: Rumours have been rife that current Time Lord, Jodie, is set to hand the baton back to David (pictured) who played the 10th incarnation of the Doctor
He went on: ‘To finish our time on the show with an additional Special, after the pandemic changed and challenged our production plans, is a lovely bonus.
‘It’s great that the climax of the Thirteenth Doctor’s story will be at the heart(s) of the BBC’s centenary celebrations.’
The British writer concluded: ‘I wish our successors – whoever the BBC and BBC Studios choose – as much fun as we’ve had. They’re in for a treat!’
The BBC added that plans for the new generation of Doctor Who will be announced ‘in due course’.
As the first woman to play the iconic role, Jodie has thrilled audiences with her portrayal of the Time Lord, winning the hearts of Doctor Who fans across the globe.
In 2020, Jodie was voted 2nd Most Popular Doctor of all time, coming within a whisker of her friend David Tennant, in a poll of more than 50,000 fans for Radio Times.
Comeback? David Tennant, 50, and Matt Smith, 39 (pictured), could make a Doctor Who comeback for a special 60th anniversary celebration of the show
Meanwhile, David Tennant and Matt Smith could make a Doctor Who comeback for a special 60th anniversary celebration of the show.
Rumours have been rife amongst fans that current Time Lord, Jodie, is set to hand the baton back to David, 50, who played the 10th incarnation of the Doctor from 2005 to 2010.
But, when the programme returns in 2023, David and Matt, 39, who himself appeared from 2010 to 2014, as well as Christopher Eccleston, 58, who starred in 2005, and Peter Capaldi, 63, who played the title role from 2013 to 2017, could all appear again if showrunner and dedicated Doctor Who fan Russell realises his dream.
A TV insider told The Sun: ‘The BBC wanted something unique to mark six decades of Doctor Who and while getting all the former time lords together will be a challenge, it’s one Russell might just achieve.
Left: Christopher Ecclestone left the role of Doctor Who after appearing for just one series in 2005 on the BBC show
‘After all, he was the man responsible for signing up Christopher and David back in 2005, and he is one of the few people who might convince them to be a part of the show again.
‘It remains to be seen if he can achieve an exact copy of The Five Doctors, but he will certainly want to capture some of the spirit of that landmark episode in these specials.’
It is said showrunner Russell wants a repeat of 1983’s feature-length 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors, which saw Richard HurndallI stand in for the late William Hartnell as the first Doctor, Patrick Troughton as the second, Jon Pertwee as the third Doctor, Tom Baker as the fourth and Peter Davison as the fifth.
Russell returned to the Doctor Who team in September last year in a bid to save the show amid falling ratings – 12 years after he stepped away from the series.
After bringing Doctor Who back to the BBC – 16 years after it was cancelled in 1989 – with Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor, Russell is credited with propelling the show into a global phenomenon and making it one of TV’s biggest hits.
Wisdom: Peter Capaldi, 63, (pictured 2014) could also appear for a special 60th anniversary special next year
He replaced Eccleston with Tenth Doctor David and also created two successful spin off series, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures – which saw the late Elisabeth Sladen reprise her role as the beloved titular companion who travelled with Third Doctor Jon Pertwee and Fourth Doctor Tom Baker in the 1970s.
After departing the TARDIS in 2009, Russell has created some of the most acclaimed dramas on TV, including Years and Years, A Very English Scandal and It’s a Sin.
In July last year Jodie confirmed she wouldn’t be returning for another series after three seasons on the show.
Several names have since been suggested to be the next star to take over the Tardis, including singer Olly Alexander, I May Destroy You star Michaela Coel, The IT Crowd star Richard Ayoade, My Family’s Kris Marshall, and Fleabag actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge among others.
Doctor Who? All the actors who have played the Time Lord
The BBC’s hit Sci-fi show Doctor Who was first launched by the BBC in 1963. It chronicles the journey of a Time Lord called ‘The Doctor’.
He is first introduced after fleeing his home planet, Gallifrey.
The Doctor travels through time and space in his spaceship, called a TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space), which resembles a police box.
During his travels, The Doctor meets people and invites them to voyage with him. They are known as his companions.
He also encounters several evil beings, such as Daleks and Cyberman, and is forced to defeat them sing minimal resources, such as his Sonic Screwdriver, as they try to destroy or take over other planets, including Earth.
As a Time Lord, The Doctor has the capacity to regenerate when he is wounded or dying. After regenerating, he takes on a new appearance and personality.
The concept of regenerating was added into the series after the First Doctor, William Hartnell, became ill and stepped down from his role.
The first run of Doctor Who ended in 1989 before being revived in 2005 with Christopher Ecclestone as the Ninth Doctor.
Below is the full list of the actors who have been cast as the Doctor from 1963 to 2017 – when Jodie Whittaker took over the coveted role.
Starting the legacy: The First Doctor William Hartnell (1963-1966)
Second and Third: Patrick Troughton (1966–1969) and Jon Pertwee (1970–1974)
Fourth and Fifth: Tom Baker (1974–1981) and Peter Davison (1981–1984)
Sixth and Seventh: Colin Baker (1984–1986) and Sylvester McCoy (1987–1989, 1996)
Eighth and Ninth: Paul McGann (1996) and Christopher Eccleston (2005)
Tenth and Eleventh: David Tennant (2005-2010) and Matt Smith (2010-2013)
Twelfth: Peter Capaldi (2013 – 2017)
Source: Daily Mail