The year was 2010 and Steven Moffat began his quest for domination of the BBC's geek output. He was the man responsible for two BIG productions; the new season of Doctor Who (with a brand new Doctor) and a brand new take on Sherlock Holmes. Moffat had himself some casting to do...
What about if some kind of Freaky Friday switcheroo thing went down on the day Moffat was auditioning Matt Smith for Doctor Who and Andrew Scott for Sherlock? Well, for one, The Great Game may have played out like this...
...with Matt Smith as Moriarty. Which means we'd have Andrew Scott as the Eleventh Doctor...
And what a Doctor he would make!
Nowadays Andrew Scott is a big star. You may have seen him in the excellent Pride last year, and he'll be in the new James Bond movie SPECTRE, but before landing the role of Moriarty in Sherlock I think it's fair to say that very few people would've heard of Andrew Scott. They may have seen him here and there (Band of Brothers and John Adams as a couple of examples), but chances are the majority of viewers probably didn't take that much notice.
One of his most notable roles prior to Sherlock was in the 2004 geektastic BBC comedy 'My Life In Film'. Remember that?
No? Don't worry, nobody does (Kris Marshall was in it, Andrew Scott was the co-star, and it was a top show. Hunt it down.), proving my point. So just like Matt Smith he was a relative unknown. There would've been no assumptions about his Doctor, he'd be free to run with the role, just as he did with Moriarty.
And we have to use that part for comparison, because whoever is cast as the Doctor has to have a very strong screen presence. No matter who else is on screen it's the Doctor that has to own the show. Everyone goes on about how great Benedict Cumberbatch is in Sherlock, and he is, for sure, but in the few minutes of screen time Andrew Scott had during The Great Game episode, he completely owned the character of Moriarty. His performance throughout the series was mesmorising and certainly matched (arguably at times exceeding) Cumberbatch's Sherlock. Plus the character of the Doctor has a very dark side... you know how well he can bring that!
Now, you might be thinking "Ah, but he's Irish!" Very true, and something that could've worked to the show's advantage. Part of Moffat's master-plan with Doctor Who was to truly crack America, David Tennant had made inroads but it wasn't until the Eleventh Doctor's time that the show really took off there. And so Scott's Irish quality could've been a bonus, after all who doesn't love the Irish? No-one that's who, but Americans especially love them. Also we'd already had two Scottish Doctors (three with Capaldi, he can still take over from Andrew Scott, never fear) but never an Irish one. And if the accent's an issue remember that David Tennant didn't use his true Scottish accent, and just like him Andrew Scott can successfully pass off some British regional dialect...
That's Christoper Eccleston & Andrew Scott as John Lennon & Paul McCartney in 'Lennon Naked'. Although I'd like to think the pair of them have fob watches just outside of the shot and there's some kind of awesome chameleon arch going on! Think about it, the First Doctor watched the Beatles by means of the Space/Time Visualiser in The Chase and rather liked them. This is Moffat territory, a chance to interweave the ultimate Easter Egg throughout Scott's debut season, ending with the revelation that all four mop-tops were in fact future Time Lord regenerations (OK, I'm getting carried away).
There are a multitude of other reasons why Andrew Scott would've made an amazing Doctor, not least of which is that he kind of looks like a mixture of both Ant and Dec. The Geordie duo are often on ITV at exactly the same time as Doctor Who is broadcast, so this might just confuse a casual (and by casual I mean stupid) viewer and increase ratings...
...Once seen never forgotten!
Although looking back he'd have made a great Eleventh Doctor, I was actually rooting for Andrew Scott to take the role of the Twelfth before Peter Capaldi was announced. I remember sitting there watching 'The Reichenbach Fall' and saying out loud "There's your next Doctor, mark my words, that guy playing Moriarty should be the Doctor when Matt Smith leaves." Admittedly no-one was with me at the time, and yes it is a bit worrying that I talk to myself!
There's always the chance that Andrew Scott could replace Peter Capaldi whenever he chooses to hand his sonic screwdriver in, but with Scott's star in the ascendency it seems more and more unlikely. Oh well, there's always this...
What if Brian Blessed was the Doctor?
What if John Noble was the Doctor?
What if David Jason was the Doctor?
What if David Bowie was the Doctor?
What if Patrick Moore was the Doctor?
What if Patrick McGoohan was the Doctor?