Showrunner and executive producer Steven Moffat has revealed that the role of the time-travelling Doctor in Doctor Who was offered to a black actor.
While speaking to the hugely popular sci-fi show’s official magazine Moffat said that the show had ‘no excuse’ to not feature a diverse cast, adding it would be ‘amazing’ if the show had two non-white leads.
Two non-white leads 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.
Unfortunately he admitted that the casting didn’t work out ‘for various reasons’ and refused to reveal the name of the actor they’d approached, although before the announcement of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor’s twelfth incarnation (War Doctor doesn’t count) there was speculation that Paterson Joseph had been approached.
Doctor who’s no stranger to racially diverse casting, with Freema Agyeman and Noel Clarke both joined the bonkers Gallifreyan on his journeys through time and space and only last month the Beeb announced that Pearl Mackie, whose of West Indies descent, was cast as Peter Capaldi’s latest companion.
Moffat explained the decision to cast a non-white companion saying that it was an ‘absolute decision’ because we [the show] need to be better on that. we just have to be’.
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.”
Sometimes the nature of a particular show – historical dramas, for instance – makes diversity more of a challenge, but Doctor Who has absolutely nowhere to hide on this.
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.
The longtime Doctor Who fan went on to add a more diverse cast would send out a positive message to the entertainment industry, saying that outside of the story it’s about inclusion and that anyone can be involved in this industry as an actor, a director or a writer.
Moffat will step down as executive producer at the end of next year’s series and with Chris Chibnall, the writer best known for ITV drama Broadchurch, taking the job of running the sci-fi smash hit.