EastEnders star Shane Richie was 'approached' about Doctor Who lead role

Shane Richie could have been The Doctor credit:Bang Showbiz
Shane Richie could have been The Doctor credit:Bang Showbiz

Shane Richie claims he was approached about the lead role in 'Doctor Who'.

The 'EastEnders' star - who will play a Time Lord called Drax in Big Finish's new audio series 'Connections' - recalled a time in the 2000s when there was "some interest" in the Alfie Moon actor swapping Albert Square for all of space and time.

He told RadioTimes.com: "The deal was I’d go in [to 'EastEnders'] for three months, see the reaction, and then they'd talk about renewing the contract.

"It took off, so I signed a three year deal – but what happened in the meantime was the papers had said I was only going in for three months… and then someone said, 'We just want to know the availability for Shane Richie to play Doctor Who.'

"Of course, it wasn't the monster it is now, so I didn't think any more about it. But there was an availability check and there was some interest.

"I think my manager had a meeting about it. But I'd signed up to [play] Alfie for three years."

Shane is glad to be getting his chance to step into the sci-fi franchise's world in 'Connections', which follows the Eighth Doctor Paul McGann and sees the soap star playing a character previously portrayed by Barry Jackson in 1979's TV adventure 'The Armageddon Factor'.

He added: "I play a Time Lord – how cool is that? I am Drax. He's gone a bit astray. He's a wheeler dealer, he's a law unto himself. He's in it for what he can get out of it.

"He has no cares about anyone else. But there's still something endearing about him. Imagine Alfie Moon but a Time Lord."

While Shane missed out on the role, the part of the Ninth Doctor instead went to Christopher Eccleston, and the Time Lord has since been played by David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi and Jodie Whittaker.

Jo Martin and John Hurt have both played versions of the Doctor in the series, while Tennant is set to return in 2023 before Ncuti Gatwa officially takes over.