The actor first played the Doctor in a 1999 Comic Relief sketch but turned the role down when he was asked by writer Russell T Davies when the show was rebooted in 2007, Doctor Who may be heading for a Marvel-style makeover with Hugh Grant piloting the TARDIS, says a TV insider.
Showrunner Russell T Davies is taking back control of the sci-fi series in time for its 60th anniversary in 2023.
The insider said Davies is keen for the Four Weddings and a Funeral star, 61, to “bring a fresh feel” to the role.
They added: “He offers many attributes – great actor, British, award-winning, Hollywood A-lister and excellent at comedy. Conversations are in progress.”
The insider said: “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.”
Davies is said to be backed by BBC Worldwide commercial and Sony Pictures TV, which bought a majority stake in Wolf Studios, which makes the show.
The source added: “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.”
Davies was responsible for the Doctor’s revival in 2005, after 16 years off-air, and for turning the show into a global phenomenon.
When he left in 2009, Steven Moffat took over and most recently Chris Chibnall. But ratings have gone from bad to worse.
This year Jodie Whittaker’s last shows, as the 13th Time Lord, will air before her and Chris depart.
Grant was BAFTA nominated for playing politician Jeremy Thorpe in Davies’ mini-series A Very English Scandal in 2018.
Hugh Grant ‘is in talks to take over from Jodie Whittaker as the titular Time Lord in Doctor Who after previously turning down the role’
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.’
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.
‘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.
‘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’.
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