Matt Smith Almost Played Sherlock Holmes’ Sidekick Instead Of A Time Lord
Audiences have fallen in love with Matt Smith as the eleventh incarnation of the Time Lord on BBC’s Doctor Who, but the actor came very close to playing another iconic fictitious Brit. When showrunner Steven Moffat first met Smith it was to discuss a very different kind of role. Smith was still up for the part of a doctor, but an entirely different doctor. The role was that of Dr. John Watson in Sherlock, Moffat’s recent stab at Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famed detective, Sherlock Holmes.
Smith told the Daily Mail:
I nearly became Sherlock Holmes’s sidekick instead. Before Doctor Who was even discussed I went to see Steven Moffat, the co-creator of the BBC’s Sherlock, to test for the role of Doctor John Watson.
Though auditioning for the sidekick role, Moffat discerned something of a leading man in Smith, rather than a second fiddle. Smith continues, “Steven saw me more as a Sherlock Holmes than a Watson, but the main part had already gone to Benedict Cumberbatch.”
Smith obviously didn’t win the role of Watson, which went to Martin Freeman. Freeman himself is about to play another beloved character, Bilbo Baggins, in Peter Jackson’s three-movie adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. There are so many geeky repercussions related to this particular bit of casting.
Even though he didn’t get the part of Watson, things have worked out okay for Smith. He gets to wear a bowtie and travel through time with his own sidekicks. And he has a TARDIS. All in all, that sounds like a pretty sweet deal.