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Radio Times did some digging after Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat revealed that the role of the Doctor was once offered to a black actor and has reportedly discovered the identity of the black actor in question. The Eleventh Doctor was almost played by none other than 12 Years a Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor.
One source told the Radio Times that Ejiofor was offered the role, but the actor and BBC were unable to agree on a deal. This is not the first time we've heard Ejiofor's name mentioned when it comes to Doctors that almost were. The story goes all the way back to 2013, when The Mirror broke the story.
Said Moffat, "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."
As you might know if you're a fan, Doctor Who has a pretty loose continuity, especially when it comes to one Doctor regenerating to the next. Recent seasons of the show have shown us that when Time Lords regenerate, they can pretty much regenerate as anyone. Skin color and sexuality aren't really restrictions, as we've seen with Missy/The Master and River Song/Melody Pond. There isn't a rule that a white male Time Lord must stay white and male through all of his regenerations, which is why many fans have been asking for more diverse casting in the show's lead role for the past few years, especially when it came time to casting the Twelfth Doctor, a role currently played by the wonderful Peter Capaldi.
Of course, Doctor Who has taken a step in the right direction by casting its first companion of color since Freema Agyeman played Martha Jones in 2007. The new companion is named Bill and she's played by black actress Pearl Mackie.
The Moff spoke a bit about her casting, as well, saying, "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."
Check out more of what Moffat has to say at Den of Geek:
HitFix also had something to say...
What Hollywood Can Learn From Doctor Who’s New Stance on Diversity
|Photo from HitFix|
Text from Den of Geek