08/14/2013 05:22 pm ET

Bill Nighy Talks Turning Down 'Doctor Who'; Praises Peter Capaldi


Bill Nighy turned down the lead role of "Doctor Who."

The "Love Actually" star said he won't reveal when he was asked to take on the role, just that he was asked. "I will say that I was approached. But I didn't want to be the Doctor. No disrespect to 'Doctor Who' or anything, I just think that it comes with too much baggage," he told The People in 2012.

Peter Capaldi is taking over the role of the Doctor from Matt Smith for the upcoming eigth season of "Doctor Who." "Being asked to play the Doctor is an amazing privilege," Capaldi said. "Like the Doctor himself I find myself in a state of utter terror and delight."

Nighy told The Express that Capaldi is a "marvelous actor," adding, "He'll be very good as the Doctor. He'll bring a lot of wit and dry humor. He's elegant and he looks great."

Leading up to the casting of Capaldi, there was a lot of chatter surrounding the race and gender of the next actor to take on the lead role in "Doctor Who." Oscar winner Helen Mirren said it was time for a female Doctor, but it wouldn't be her.

"I'm not going to be the first female 'Doctor Who.' No, no, no. Absolutely not, I absolutely wouldn't contemplate that ... but I do think it's well over-time to have a female 'Doctor Who' ... I think a gay, black female 'Doctor Who' would be best of all,” Mirren told "Daybreak."

Writer Neil Gaiman said a black actor was approached to take on the role, but didn't say whether it was for the twelfth incarnation. "I know one black actor who was already offered the part of the Doctor, and who turned it down," Gaiman wrote on his blog.

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday, Nov. 23 with the 50th anniversary special.

"Doctor Who" Season 7
"Doctor Who" Season 7