We Almost Got A Black ‘Doctor Who’ Before Peter Capaldi Was Cast

Like the James Bond film series, the white male hero of the long-running British science fiction series Doctor Who is due for a change of casting in the coming years. And like Bond, many are calling for a drastically different choice when it comes to finding, auditioning and hiring a replacement for the titular role. That’s because, as great as Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor has been since he took over in 2013, many want someone who’s either non-white, female or both. Surprisingly, longtime showrunner Steven Moffat agrees.

The Scottish head writer and executive producer of Doctor Who told a fan magazine just as much while discussing Pearl Mackie, the West Indies actress recently hired to be the Doctor’s new companion. Specifically, Moffat revealed that the part was offered to a black actor prior to Capaldi’s casting:

“Two non-white leads in Doctor Who would be amazing. In fact, a lot of people would barely notice… I certainly don’t think there’s ever been a problem with making the Doctor black, which is why it should happen one day.

“I mean, we’ve tried. The part has been offered to a black actor. But for various reasons, it didn’t work out.”

Moffat never spilled the beans on who the actor was, but rampant speculation after 11th Doctor Matt Smith’s departure was announced in 2013 provides a few clues. Among others, Idris Elba — a popular pick for the next James Bond, as well — has been mentioned before. Hell, even season nine guest star Maisie Williams cast her vote for Elba. Fellow British thespian David Harewood, who currently stars as J’onn J’onzz/Martian Manhunter on Supergirl, was also among a list of candidates who members includes women and performers of color.

The Guardian also threw Chiwetel Ejiofor and Paterson Joseph’s names into the mix, as both were mentioned before Capaldi was cast. As for Moffat, who’s remaining time as showrunner is limited, whoever Capaldi’s successor is isn’t up to him. But his comments on the matter aren’t any less 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.”


(via the Guardian)