Back to IndieWire

‘Doctor Who’ Lead Role First Offered To a Black Actor Over Peter Capaldi, Showrunner Reveals

Steven Moffat says that the eponymous role was originally offered to a black actor before newest Doctor Peter Capaldi came on board.

"Doctor Who"

“Doctor Who”

Ray Burmiston/BBC

The latest iteration of the ever-popular BBC series “Doctor Who” might have looked a little bit different, had the original choice for the twelfth eponymous Doctor worked out as originally planned.

Showrunner Steven Moffat has revealed, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter that before current doc in residence (re-tardis-ence?) Peter Capaldi took over from Matt Smith in 2014, the role was offered to a black actor, a move that would have marked the first time the part was played by a non-white actor since the show first started in 1963.

Moffat said that “for various reasons, it didn’t work out,” though this particular instance was “no excuse” for the show to not include a more diverse cast.

READ MORE: 13 Things To Know About the New Season of ‘Doctor Who’

This news comes on the heels of the introduction of the good doc’s newest companion, Pearl Mackie, whose family tree includes a West Indies-born father.

“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,” Moffat said of Mackie’s casting. “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.”

READ MORE: The Brains Behind ‘Sherlock’ and ‘Doctor Who’ Have ‘No Idea’ Why the World Loves Their British Shows

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

As THR notes, Moffat didn’t let on who the role was first offered to, though Paterson Joseph was reportedly in the running for the part when David Tennant left the series in 2008.

Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Festivals newsletter here.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox