To be technical, Andrew Garfield is actually a dual British and American citizen, as although he was raised in Epsom, Surrey, he was born in Los Angeles. His life came full circle when he became a massive Hollywood sensation in the early 2010s, but in the 2000s the still England-bound actor was a regular face on British film and TV screens.
But was one of Garfield’s early career opportunities a stint on Doctor Who? You bet it was, and the best thing is that it ironically foreshadowed his future as cinema’s second friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
Andrew Garfield’s Doctor Who appearance previewed his turn as Spider-Man
Screenshot via BBC
Andrew Garfield appeared in two episodes of Doctor Who‘s third season, the two-part storyline “Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks.” Clearly, the then-24-year-old star’s career was already shaping up as it meant to go on as the part required Garfield to show off his flawless command of US accents — playing a character dwelling in New York, no less!
Five years before he first played NYC’s own Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man, 2007’s “Daleks in Manhattan” (that, interestingly, aired a month before Tobey Maguire’s Spidey era ended in Spider-Man 3) saw Garfield portray Frank opposite David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor. In this story, the Doctor lands in 1930s New York amid the construction of the Empire State Building and makes friends with the citizens of Hooverville, the shantytown built in Central Park that housed the city’s homeless during The Depression.
Frank is one of these, although he’s originally from Texas, with Garfield acquitting himself well with his Texan accent. Frank proves to be a brave and loyal ally to the Doctor and his friends and is instrumental in foiling the Daleks’ evil plan to conquer Earth. I’m honestly not entirely clear on what that plan is and I have seen the episode in question about 50 times, but that’s neither here nor there.
In a world where Peter Capaldi, Karen Gillan, and many others have cameod in the show before coming back later as much more important characters, I’m just going to put this out there: Andrew Garfield as the Doctor in a big-budget, Disney-backed Doctor Who movie? Make it happen, Mouse House.
You can stream Andrew Garfield’s Doctor Who episodes on Max.