The 12th Doctor Was Originally Going To Be Black?

Matt Smith is departing and Peter Capaldi will be the 12th Doctor but was he BBC's initial choice for the next incarnation of the Doctor. Famed novelist and Doctor Who script writer Neil Gaiman says a black actor was offered the part but turned it down.

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By Mark Julian - 8/5/2013


Famed novelist Neil Gaiman (American Gods, The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel), writer of past Doctor Who episodes such as "The Doctor's Wife" and "Nightmare in Silver" has revealed on tumblr that a black actor was offered the role to be the next Doctor but turned the role down for unspecified reasons. When asked to disclose the name of the actor, Gaiman declined to provide any further information. Prior to Peter Capaldi being confirmed as the 12th doctor, actors such as Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men, Serenity) and David Harewood (Homeland) were reportedly in the running.

Doctor Who is a UK produced science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a Time Lord—a time travelling, humanoid alien known as the Doctor. The series ran for 26 seasons from 1963 thru 1989 before taking a sixteen year hiatus and resuming in 2005. Twelve doctors have headlined the series as the Doctor. The transition from one actor to another is written into the plot of the show as regeneration, a life process of Time Lords through which the character of the Doctor takes on a new body and, to some extent, new personality. Peter Capaldi was recently selected to replace Matt Smith as the 12th incarnation of the Time Lord.
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Superior - 8/5/2013, 4:34 PM
イドリスエルバは、私が知っている唯一の英国のアフリカ系アメリカ人の一つです
Battabing - 8/5/2013, 4:37 PM
And just so you know, Chiwetel Ejiofor and David Harewood are not "African Americans". They're British Africans.
LucasMend - 8/5/2013, 4:39 PM
It should have been Chris Rock
MarkJulian - 8/5/2013, 4:39 PM
Whoops. Need to stop thinking of "America" as "the world".
MarkV - 8/5/2013, 4:39 PM
It's all about race. Replace as many white characters with black ones as possible. Never replace them with asian or hispanic actors. Never recast black characters as white ones. It all goes in one direction.
LucasMend - 8/5/2013, 4:40 PM
So, I'm guessing Moffat and Gaiman are best friends, because writing 2 episodes makes you know the contenders then hm.
MarkV - 8/5/2013, 4:41 PM
There will never be an asian black panther. Johnny Storm? Yeah, there's only one race he can be turned into.
TheRaven20 - 8/5/2013, 4:41 PM
^yeah I was confused when i read this. I'm like isn't the doctor usually british?
amxt - 8/5/2013, 4:41 PM
It's been widely said that they had only one person in mind and that was Peter Capaldi.
DM725 - 8/5/2013, 4:42 PM
It was Idris Elba
AntoBlueberry - 8/5/2013, 4:43 PM
Political correctness is killing people's mind. "A black actor" is not offensive.
BANE5000 - 8/5/2013, 4:44 PM
Idris Elba wouldve been an awesome choice
LordoftheThrones26 - 8/5/2013, 4:44 PM
Hmmm i wouldnt like it for political correctness
EasternWind - 8/5/2013, 4:44 PM
I wish he'd accepted.
JasonMotes - 8/5/2013, 4:45 PM
I don't mind The Doctor being black, but he better not be Anything-AMERICAN.
OldBenKenobi - 8/5/2013, 4:46 PM
Well shit.
Ocelot - 8/5/2013, 4:46 PM
Elba wouldn't have been a believable Doctor, far too macho for the role. It was never going to be him, doubt he was the one who was approached, espeically as he's still doing Luther.
Jazza815 - 8/5/2013, 4:47 PM
There was no other in contention, Capaldi was the only person Moffat had in mind, It wouldn't work with anyone from any other ethnicity.
supermarioworldE - 8/5/2013, 4:47 PM
Chiwetel Ejiofor would've been a great doctor. Better than having a black dude as the dumb comedy sidekick.
Empowerman - 8/5/2013, 4:51 PM
The Doctor could be any race or creed as long as he has a british accent. Ejiofor would have been great but Capaldi is an excellent actor with both comedy and drama chops.
Ryden - 8/5/2013, 4:53 PM
@Empowerman - Exactly. As long as the Doctor is a man and British, anyone could play him. So for people to say it "wouldn't work" you're deluded. Richard Ayoade was actually one of my top choices for the new Doctor but I'm happy with the decision they've made. Oh and before people start calling me sexist because I said the Doctor has to be a man, it's been in the canon for a long time that there are Time Lords and Time Ladies they don't switch genders. I know that Moffat said it was possible in that show the other night but it actually goes against canon so...yeah.
mctrinket - 8/5/2013, 4:54 PM
CrimsonFlash - 8/5/2013, 4:55 PM
Haha I love it when people say african american when the person isn't american. Had a super duper PC lady at work who called a co-worker from South africa "african American" lol cracks me up. That said If i had to pick a black british guy it'd be Richard Ayode from "the Watch". Movie sucked but he's funny
Empowerman - 8/5/2013, 4:56 PM
@Ryden- Plus they will probably bring back The Raani soon.
supermarioworldE - 8/5/2013, 4:57 PM
@JokerFanHAhaHA

Disagree. The dude was a whipped, goofy sidekick if I ever saw one. His girlfriend had more balls than him.
JatevinM - 8/5/2013, 4:57 PM
People do realize that with ethnic people being extremely underrepresented in media that taking a black character and making them white would actually be increasing the problem?

When it comes to the Doctor gender and ethnicity are not set. He can regenerate into a black woman or an asian man at any given point. Caucasion people get angry at having a white character made any other ethnicity as if they dont have thousands and thousands of others.
WeaponX93 - 8/5/2013, 5:00 PM
Actually an. American Doctor would be kinda cool (for me). It'd definitely be a different body and personality.

@MarkV
Finally someone sees it.
ninjahulk - 8/5/2013, 5:01 PM
Half y'all user are dum as [frick] because y'all bicthing about race ant this 2013 ?
I don't care what race it is; as long it can bring good entertainment. Stop the hate and enjoy the show or movie.

It don't matter you black or white or any color dam move on people.
Ramiel - 8/5/2013, 5:03 PM
Most black people in the US are not even African-American.
WeaponX93 - 8/5/2013, 5:05 PM
@TheHeat
You're right. They're American.
Ryden - 8/5/2013, 5:23 PM
@Empowerman - That would be interesting, I always like it when the Doctor faces off against other Time Lords. In fact I'm rooting for Benedict Cumberbatch to play the Master in the 50th Anniversary - he would be a perfect foil for Matt Smith's Doctor.

@Jatevin - Actually he can't turn into a woman, I know that Moffat said otherwise but according to the everything we currently know about Time Lords and Ladies they don't switch genders.
CavEl - 8/5/2013, 5:24 PM
The English have better race relations than Americans, so while I dont think the reaction wouldve been close to what Americans spew, it would've been interesting to see.
WeaponX93 - 8/5/2013, 5:31 PM
@CavEl
That's also true.
CavEl - 8/5/2013, 5:32 PM
@ MarkV- Why would Black Panther be Asian? That's like a Black Viking...or Tom Cruise playing a Samurai. -_-...


OldBenKenobi - 8/5/2013, 5:36 PM
@JatevinM: Well said.
CavEl - 8/5/2013, 5:41 PM
It's like morons dont get the concept that most black characters revolve around being black.


Black Panther is the King of an African country untouched by Imperialism, but you think an Asian can play him?
mgeoff88 - 8/5/2013, 5:44 PM
Oh wow! That would've been really cool to see a black Doctor Who.
patriautism - 8/5/2013, 5:57 PM
Umnn the doctor can come back in any race or age or even sex.. He isn't defined by just one. So complaining if they did go with a black guy complaining about it would be well just stupid.
Ocelot - 8/5/2013, 6:05 PM
The BBC are known for being heavily political correct, so casting a black doctor would have been seen as politically correct decision in the UK especially as the Doctor has always been played by a white actor in every incarnation, would have made a lot of noise for sure. It wouldn't stop people watching it though, it would be in the news and be focused on but it wouldn't have put people off the show. Though it would generate a lot of discussion.

Should have gone with Helen Mirrens idea "a gay, black female Doctor Who."

Surprised they picked this older guy for the Doctor, they're gonna lose that big fangirl/tumblr audience for sure. I expect them to cast a young looking guy as one of the two side kicks to retain it. I would be shocked if that doesn't happen.
Kyatollah - 8/5/2013, 6:12 PM
Honestly, to anyone claiming a Black Doctor wouldn't work, kindly shut your mouth. There is a difference between a character who has always been played as a certain ethnicity (The Doctor, James Bond, The Human Torch) and a character in part DEFINED by their ethnicity (Black Panther, Daredevil) or the position their ethnicity would afford (Batman, Magneto, Captain America.) To judge an actor as unfit for a role purely on appearance is ludicrous, ignorant and outdated as all hell. Consider that Laurence Olivier played Othello in BLACKFACE. The Doctor is defined by his behavior, his heritage as a Time Lord (which CLEARLY trancends physical continuity,) and his connection to/effect on his companions, his allies and his enemies. If you think a Black, Asian or Latin Brit actor is automatically incapable of meeting that standard, you are a far more pathetic and sorry individual than most of us fanboys could ever claim, and on behalf of people of color worldwide, kiss my arse/bum/nalgas/whatever you call an ass.
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