Martin Clunes was almost cast in 'Doctor Who'.

Martin Clunes

Martin Clunes

The 'Doc Martin' actor was on then-showrunner Russell T Davies shortlist to play the Ninth Doctor when the show returned to screens 15 years ago but the role eventually went to Christopher Eccleston.

In an interview for the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, Davies was asked by his successor Steven Moffat: "I think you were considering Hugh Grant and Martin Clunes. If you'd cast either of them, how would you have phrased the 'not posh' note? Because good luck."

And Davies quipped: "Steven, you know full well we're always winging it."

Russell has previously spoken about how he offered the lead in 'Doctor Who' to Hugh Grant years ago but it "never got past [Grant's] agent".

Speaking about finally getting to work with Grant on 'A Very British Scandal', he explained: "I was delighted. Literally, I've wanted to work with Hugh Grant for decades.

"We did ask him to be 'Doctor Who' in 2004. I have to say, that never got past his agent. I told him this. He was completely oblivious.

"With that level of star, you approach the agent and they just kick it out the window. 'Would Hugh like to come to Cardiff for a year?' 'No!'"

Grant added: "I've heard that rumour but I don't remember anyone ever coming to me... my agent, no. But I adore Russell, he's a real genius. He did send me something [else]... was it called 'Banana'? But it was ages ago. I can't remember why I didn't do it."

Explaining that it was actually his 2015 series 'Cucumber', Davies said: "I've offered him a part in every drama I've made for the past 10 years. I really, really love him. But I could never get past the front desk!

"You need the name of ['A Very English Scandal' director] Stephen Frears to say, 'Hugh, love, come and do this,' it's all about the telephone number... once you've got their telephone number, you're in there! That's the trick to it."