The British stage and screen actor, Martin Shaw, has revealed that he would be interested in playing the Doctor in the BBC’s long-running science-fiction drama, Doctor Who.
Shaw, 65, is probably best remembered to television audiences for playing Ray Doyle in the police drama, The Professionals – the UK’s answer to Starsky and Hutch, which ran from 1977 to 1982 – opposite Lewis Collins (Who Dares Wins) and Gordon Jackson (Upstairs, Downstairs).
In an interview in the current Radio Times, Shaw hints at his willingness to play the lead role in Doctor Who, and tells of the time he turned down the opportunity to play 007 – James Bond.
“Who knows, in a couple of years I might go down on my knees and play the Doctor. If I could do it for three months and do other stuff the rest of the year, I’d do it.”
Of Bond, Shaw says he was approached, in 1978, by the daughter of Cubby Broccoli, who asked him to consider putting himself forward for the role of Ian Fleming’s British secret agent.
“She’d seen me in The Professionals and begged me to do a screen test […] I said ‘no’ for the same reason […] it dominates everything you’ve done or go no to do. She was astonished […] in retrospect, it might have been a good idea to have had a go at it.”
As well as a successful television career – which started with the UK soap opera Coronation Street, and includes The Chief, Judge John Deed and, as the founder of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Cecil Rhodes, in Rhodes – Shaw is also well known for his work in the theatre.
In 2008, he starred as Father Jacob in Apparitions, which was written and directed by Joe Ahearne, one of the directors of Doctor Who. He played a priest who examined evidence of miracles and carried out exorcisms. For the last three years, he has taken the title role in the BBC drama, Inspector George Gently.
Interestingly, Shaw’s co-star in The Professionals, Lewis Collins, auditioned for the role of Bond in 1982, but, according to an interview he gave to the Liverpool Daily Post in 2004, was considered “too aggressive”.
The current Doctor is played by Matt Smith, 27, who took over from David Tennant earlier this year. Smith's first series in the role ended in July. He has just finished working on the Doctor Who 2010 Christmas Special, with Sir Michel Gambon, and has begun filming his second series, to be broadcast in 2011.