1. ITV Report

Brian Blessed turned down Dr Who as he was 'too busy'

Veteran actor Brian Blessed said it was about time an Asian of female actor played Dr Who. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Veteran actor Brian Blessed once turned down the lead role in Dr Who as he was "too busy," he told the Radio Times.

The 77-year-old, famed for his booming delivery, said he was offered the role in the mid-1960s, but it "clashed with other things."

Asked if he would play the Time Lord now, Blessed said he would "jump" at the chance.

But he added: "I think they need to re-examine his surname - "Who" is very oriental. It's about time they had an Asian actor as the Doctor. And a female one."

Blessed, who is also fondly remembered for another sci-fi role as Prince Vultan in the movie Flash Gordon, will examine his roots in a new BBC series of Who Do You Think You Are?

Doctor Who returns to BBC1 on August 23 with Peter Capaldi starring as the latest regeneration of The Doctor.