David Warner

  1. John Hurt, A Man For All Seasons, 1966.      At Stratford-on-Avon in the mid-60s actors used to sing: “Where have all the good parts gone? Gone to Warner every one.” He was tied to yet another when director Fred Zinnemann called, desperately hunting for the right Richard Rich. Like The Beatles, Laurence Olivier and Peter O’Toole, Zinnemann saw the “electric” Hurt on stage in Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against The Eunuchs – and took an enormous chance.. “No time for a screentest, but I was absolutely certain that he’d be very, very good for the film. And he was.” Hurt told me in London: “The only reason I got it is that David Warner couldn’t get out of Hamlet. Absolutely true! Zinnemann is my screen godfather. I also learned not all films are as good as that.”
  2. Dirk Bogarde, Sebastian, 1967.     Although refusing to postpone the shooting to suit Rex Harrison, director Michael Powell was willing to do so to land Warner – after Michael Caine, Patrick McGoohan, Peter O’Toole and Christopher Plummer refused.
  3. Enzo Jannacci, L’audienza, Italy, 1971.     Warner’s limp (first noticed in Straw Dogs that year) stemmed from breaking both heels in a terrible fall during maestro Marco Ferreri’s film . Ferreri being Ferreri replaced one of the UK’s finest actors with… a movie composer from Milan.
  4. Tom Baker, Doctor Who, TV, 1974-1981.
  5. Emrys James, Doctor Who #112: State of Decay, TV, 1980.      There were 21 potential Aukons and all – except James – had been this way before, standing at the Whoverse portal, awaiting a callback. Warner, Peter Arne, Colin Baker, Steven Berkoff, John Carson, David Collings, Peter Gilmore, Michael Gothard, John Hallam, Donald Houston, Martin Jarvis, Michael Jayston, Ronald Lacey, William Lucas, Ian McKellen, John Normington, Patrick Stewart, Anthony Valentine, Peter Vaughan, Peter Wyngarde.
  6. Simon MacCorkindale, Jaws 3-D, 1982.       Bruce goes Jurassic and invades a marine park. Peter Firth was also up for the true Brit biologist Philip FitzRoyce in the worst of the Jaws sequels. The original producers should have had their way – National Lampoon’s Jaws 3, People 0 – but Spielberg went apoplectic and threatened to quit Universal!  
  7. James Warwick, Doctor Who #121: Earthshock, 1982.       In Doc5 Peter Davison’s Cybermen encounter, circa 2526, Scott was offered to Warner, Colin Baker (to be Doc6,1984-1986), Nicholas Ball, Andrew Burt, Lewis Collins, Peter Firth, Del Henney, Martin Jarvis, Tim Pigott-Smith, Patrick Ryecart, Patrick Stewart, Simon Williams. Plus Gareth Hunt (aka Mike Gambit) from TV’s 1976-1977 New Avengers. And the more successful 1977-1983 Professionals: Bodie and Doyle, aka Lewis Collins and Martin Shaw.
  8. Robert Englund, A Nightmare On Elm Street, 1983.      Morgan as Freddy Kreuger…! Well, that was Wes Craven’s Plan A, at a time when Oscar-nominated actors showed scant interest in horror flicks. David was in the middle of make-up tests when Warner pulled out of the film that Craven had been trying to make since 1981. He was none too worried, he’d always wanted a stuntman in the (originally silent) role – and indeed when first seen on-screen, he is special effectstichan Charles Belardinelli before Englund took over.
  9. Andrew Burt, Doctor Who #126 : Terminus, 1983.      Warner, Burt, Nicholas Ball, Tom Chabon, Paul Darrow, Michael Gothard, Del Henney, Bernard Hill, Patrick Mower, Patrick Stewart, Anthony Valentine were in the Valgard mix – to join Doc5 Peter Davison at the Terminus space station which proves to be a leper colony. Now read on…
  10. Colin Baker, Doctor Who, TV, 1984-1986.

  11. Patrick Stewart, Lifeforce, 1984.
  12. Michael Gothard, Lifeforce, 1984.  
  13. Tom Adams, Doctor Who #130: Warriors of The Deep, 1984.      Competing for Commander Vorshak in Doc5 Peter Davison’s finale were 13 of the astonishing army of 203 candidates for just 18 roles in that year’s Lifeforce movie mess. Warner, Steven Berkoff, Kenneth Colley, Michael Craigh, Paul Darrow, Anton Diffring, Del Henney, Martin Jarvis, Ian McCulloch, Patrick Mower, Patrick Stewart, Simon Williams and Peter Wyngarde. Plus three outsiders: Brian Blessed, Peter Gilmore, Gareth Hunt.
  14. Maurice Colbourne, Doctor Who #133: Resurrection of the Daleks, TV, 1984.  Aunty wanted a bit of a name for Commander Lytton… like Meg Bennett, Brian Blessed, Kenneth Cope, Timothy Dalton (the future Lord President in #202: The End of Time, 2000), Leslie Grantham (not yet Dirty Den in EastEnders), Alfred Lynch, Clive Merrison (BBC Radio’s Sherlock Holmes), Terry Molloy (aka Davros), John Rhys-Davies, Maurice Roëves. Plus several of the Lifeforce brigade: Nicholas Ball, Steven Berkoff, Tom Chadbon, Paul Darrow, Michael Gothard, Don Henderson, Del Henney (he became Colonel Archer), Martin Jarvis, Michael Jayston, Edward Peel, George Sewell, Patrick Stewart, Anthony Valentine and David Warner. All 25 up for one role in a Doctor Who… Preposterous!
  15. Del Henney, Doctor Who #133: Resurrection Of The Daleks, TV, 1984.       Warner, Henney, Nicholas Ball, Michael Byrne, Tom Chadbon, Peter Firth, Tim Pigott-Smith, Patrick Stewart … most of the eleven actors up for Colonel Archer in the Doc5 Peter Davison adventure were also Lifeforce contenders.  The difference being Who sf as in science fictin, Lifeforce as in science fart.
  16. Martin Jarvis, Doctor Who # 138: Vengeance on Varos, TV, 1984.        Warner, Jarvis, George Baker, Keith Barron, Brian Blessed, John Carson, Frank Finlay, Julian Glover, John Hallam, Terrence Hardiman, John Hurt, Derek Jacobi, Michael Jayston, Dinsdale Landen, Ian McKellen and Anthony Valentine were the 16 choices for the beleaguered Governor of Varos, a kind of Pontius Pilate.
  17. Paul Darrow, Doctor Who #141: Timelash, TV, 1985.          Now  Warner,   Darrow, Steven Berkoff, Andrew Burt, Tom Chadbon, Michael Gothard, Ronald Lacey and Patrick Mower were in the frame for Maylin Tekker opposite Doc6 Colin Baker. Producer John Nathan-Turner suggested Darrow play Tekker like his Blakes 7 character, Avon. Darrow had a loftier notion. Richard III.
  18. William Gaunt, Doctor Who #142: Revelation of the Daleks, 1985.   Another 25… ! An unlikely choice for a mercenary, was selected late in the game after an exhausting Orcini search through Joss Ackland, Ray Brooks, James Ellis, John Fraser, Peter Gilmore, Denis Lill, Philip Madoc, Peter Vaughan… Plus Lifeforcers Warner, Tom Adams, George Baker, John Carson, Frank Finlay, Julian Glover, Michael Gothard, Del Henney, Peter Jeffrey, TP McKenna, Patrick Mower, Clifford Rose, Patrick Stewart, Nigel Stock, Anthony Valentine and Frank Windsor.
  19. Tom Chadbon, Doctor Who #143: The Trial of a Time Lord, TV, 1986.       As the series was as much on trial as Doc6 Colin Baker in the season-long investigation, 16 actors were flagpoled for MerdeenWarner, Tom Adams, Keith Barron, Brian Blessed, Hywel Bennett, Andrew Burt, Kenneth Colley, Peter Gilmore, Michael Gothard, Gareth Hunt, Paul Jerricho, Clive Merrison, Paul Shelley, Anthony Valentine, James Warwick.
  20. Brian Blessed, Doctor Who #143: The Trial of a Time Lord, TV, 1986.       He also passed on the warlord King Yrcanos on the planet Thoros Beta…

  21. Patrick Ryecart, Doctor Who #143: The Trial of a Time Lord, TV, 1986.      … and the transplant scientist Corzier.
  22. Sylvester McCoy, Doctor Who, TV, 1987-1995.
  23. Don Henderson, Doctor Who #146: Delta and The Bannermen, TV, 1987.      Chimeron Queen Delta escapes the baddies and heads to Disneyland ( !) but arrives instead at … a Welsh holiday camp! Director Chris Clough chose Henderson for Bannerman boss Gavrok from infamous producer John Nathan-Taylor’s familiar dartboard list: Warner, Nicholas Ball, Kenneth Colley, Michael Elphick, Michael Gothard, Bernard Hill, Jeremy Kemp, Ronald Lacey, TP McKenna, Clifford Rose, Peter Vaughan, Simon Ward.
  24. Edward Peel, Doctor Who #147: Dragonfire, TV, 1987.        The usual suspects were up for Kane, the icy director of Iceworld, on the dark side of planet Svartos… Warner, Peel, John Alderton, Nicholas Ball, Tom Chadbon, Michael Gothard, Ian Holm, David Jason, Ronald Lacey, TP McKenna, Clifford Rose, Simon Ward, David Warner. The Doctor was Doc7 Sylvester McCoy.
  25. George Sewell, Doctor Who #148: Remembrance of the Daleks, 1988. Aunty searched for fascist leader Ratcliffe among Joss Ackland, Kenneth Cope, Peter Gilmore, Bernard Hill, Glyn Houston, Stratford Johns… and (of course!) such Lifeforce soldiers as Warner, George Baker, Keith Barron, Steven Berkoff, John Carson, Kenneth Colley, Del Henney, Ronald Lacey, TP McKenna, Frank Windsor.
  26. James Ellis, Doctor Who #152: Battlefield, 1989.       Also short-listed for Peter Warmsly opposite Doc7 Sylvester McCoy in the final episode of Nicholas Courtney’s Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart were Warner, Joss Ackland, George Baker, Geoffrey Bayldon, John Carson, Kenneth Colley, Freddie Jones and Ronald Lacey. But the infamous producer John Nathan-Taylor had been determined to land the Irish Ellis since the 1980 start of his here-ending tenure. Try as he might, JNT never signed Warner… Considering he had been offered Doc4 for #75 in 1974 (and Doc7 in 1987) and received all the above offers, it took Warner one heliuva long time to give in – during the Doc10 David Tennant era. He then he voiced Lord Azlok in the animated 2009 serial, Dreamland, before appearing as Professor Grisenko in #235: Cold War, 2013, with Doc12 Matt Smith.
  27. David Kelly, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, 2004.      Among Tim Burton’s dozen of Grandpa Joe choices… Two passed before passing (Gregory Peck, Peter Ustinov), and he gave it to the veteran Irish (“in three minutes,” said Kelly) on running into him at Pinewood Studios for a costume fitting for another film. Also considered:, Warner, Richard Attenborough, Michael Caine, George Carlin (yes, not Carlin), Kirk Douglas, Albert Finney, Richard Griffiths, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Lloyd (favourite of author Roald Dahl’s widow, Liccy), Ron Moody, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Paul Newman, Peter O’Toole, Max von Sydow, Eli Wallach. Burton finally gave the role to Kelly (“in three minutes”) on running into him at Pinewood studios fon another film.


 Birth year: 1941Death year: 2022Other name: Casting Calls:  27