The Doctor Who mantle has always been portrayed by a white actor, but it was recently revealed that Steven Moffat was ready to break that trend when casting the eleventh Doctor.
In an interview with Doctor Who Magazine, outgoing Doctor Who showrunner shared that the role was once offered to a black actor. “We’ve tried. The part has been offered to a black actor,” said Moffat, as quoted by Herald Scotland. “But for various reasons, it didn’t work out.”
He continued that he doesn’t believe there’s ever been a problem with enlisting a black actor to play the Doctor, and that it should happen in future installments of the hit BBC TV series.
“Should the Doctor be black? Should the Doctor be a woman? So long as the Doctor is still the Doctor, anything is possible,” he added. “Two non-white leads in Doctor Who would be amazing. In fact, a lot of people would barely notice.”
— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) April 23, 2016
Although Moffat did not reveal which actor was offered the role of the eleventh Doctor in the Doctor Who TV series, sources hint that it was none other than British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor. According to Radio times, the Oscar-nominated actor was offered the role but was unable to come into terms with BBC. The part was eventually given to Matt Smith.
Ejiofor, however, was not approached to play the twelfth doctor, now played by Peter Capaldi.
— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) May 22, 2016
Moffat planned to diversify the main leads before Doctor Who cast current Time Lord Capaldi. For the show’s new season, the Doctor was to be couple with a non-white Companion. The role went to mixed-race actress Pearl Mackie, who joined the Doctor Who cast in April this year.
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“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,” said Moffat.
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There are rumors that Capaldi will soon step down from the series, opening a search for his successor. Popular names being attached to the role of the thirteenth doctor include Poldark star Aidan Turner.