In an interview this week for the BBC with current “Doctor Who” showrunner Steven Moffat, he revealed that before the current “Doctor Who,” Peter Capaldi, was selected for the lead role in the very popular, decades-long running sci-fi series, the part had been offered to a black actor.
But he added that “for various reasons, it didn’t work out.” Although Moffat did not reveal who that actor was, he added that “the show had no excuse not to feature a more diverse cast, adding it would be “amazing” for it to have two non-white lead actors.
Recently, bi-racial actress Pearl Mackie was cast to play the Doctor’s companion.
Moffat continued: “We decided that the new companion was going to be non-white, and that was an absolute decision, because we need to do better on that. We just have to…I don’t mean that we’ve done terribly – our guest casts are among the most diverse on television – but I feel as though I could have done better overall….I certainly don’t think there’s ever been a problem with making the Doctor black, which is why it should happen one day.”
He further went on to explain why he thinks having a black Doctor Who would be important: “Young people watching have to know that they have a place in the future. That really matters. You have to care profoundly what children’s shows in particular say about where you’re going to be…Outside of the fiction, it’s about anyone feeling that they can be involved in this industry as an actor, a director, a writer… It’s hugely important, and it’s not good when we fail on that. We must do better.”
So one must assume that whomever is cast as the next Doctor Who will almost definitely be a black actor in the role, or else Moffat will look like a hypocrite. Although I should note that he will be leaving the show after next season. So the question is, will his replacement have the same belief in terms of an obligation to diversify the show?
Rumor had it that Chiwetel Ejiofor could have been the Time Lord, but that was never confirmed.
A couple of years ago, Neil Gaiman, writer of a couple of episodes of the series, shared his thoughts on the casting of a black Doctor Who, on his Tumblr page, stating: “I thought I’d said that I was disappointed that it didn’t happen this time, and that there are some amazing actors out there. I was rather disappointed that Paterson Joseph didn’t get it last time, although I’ve loved Matt’s Eleven. And yes, I have no doubt there will be. (I know one black actor who was already offered the part of the Doctor, and who turned it down.) Just as there will be a female Doctor.”
If you’re a fan of the series, how do you feel about all this? Is having a black Doctor Who important ,or much ado about nothing?