Russell T Davies, the showrunner of Doctor Who, has disclosed that he pushed Helena Bonham Carter to decline a role in the popular series.
Russell resurrected the science-fiction series in 2005, after it had been on the air since 1989 but had not shown since 1963.
Russell was the show’s executive producer for four seasons, and Christopher Eccleston played the Doctor for ten episodes until David Tennant took over.
After a 13-year hiatus, he is again back in charge of the series and has recruited a slew of talents for the recent 60th anniversary specials as well as the forthcoming season featuring Ncuti Gatwa.
Russell, 60, has now revealed that he once persuaded actress Helena, 57, to turn down a role opportunity.
He revealed his reasoning on tonight’s episode of Jo Wiley’s BBC Radio 2 show, An Evening In with Helena Bonham Carter and Russell T Davies.
When the host inquired as to whether Helena had ever received an offer for a part in the show, Helena replied that she “couldn’t” because she “had other things” on. Russell then revealed that she had.
‘She’s been offered, and madam was too busy,’ he laughed.
‘” Not this time” came back the answer.’
She went on to explain: ‘I couldn’t, I couldn’t. I’ve had other things.’
However, the showrunner stated that there will be “better parts coming,” to which Helena responded by reminding him of a previous conversation.
‘You said, you actually said “This isn’t quite good enough”,’ she said.
‘I did, oh gosh,’ he replied.
He continued: ‘Actually it wasn’t no, I mean it wasn’t big enough, it wasn’t good enough for you. It was a lovely part and they offered it, but I secretly sent you a note saying turn this down. We’ll get you something better.’
Helena then corroborated their previous chat and stated that he had informed her there was ‘no pressure’ to say yes.
Russell, on the other hand, made it obvious that he was anxious that the admission might land him in hot water.
‘Oh god, I never told the team that. I am completely hung and drawn and quartered now. I said “don’t do this!”.’
Then teasing more details of Helena’s eventual role, Russell said he ‘knows what’s coming up in the future…and there’s a better part coming’.
The actress then stated that she would take the next offer before they both stated that she would have to run it by her agency.
Although we may have to wait a little longer to see Helena on the long-running series, other recent cameos have included Miriam Margolyes and Neil Patrick Harris, with Davina McCall slated to appear in the Christmas Special.
Doctor Who’s 2023 Christmas Special airs on December 25 from 5.55pm on BBC One.