Report: Chiwetel Ejiofor Turned Down the Chance to Play Doctor Who

Tuesday, 07 June 2016 - 5:52AM
Doctor Who
Tuesday, 07 June 2016 - 5:52AM
Report: Chiwetel Ejiofor Turned Down the Chance to Play Doctor Who
Since its revival, Doctor Who has seen a host of actors take up the role of the titular time lord, but many have criticized the show for a lack of diversity. Such is the desire for more diversity on the show, every time the Doctor regenerates and a new opening is made for the leading role, masses of people call for a change to the traditional white males that have held a monopoly on the role of the Doctor ever since the show's creation decades ago. But, despite these calls for diversity, we're yet to have anything close to resembling it.

However, this lack of diversity isn't necessarily all for an absence of effort on behalf of the BBC and the show's creative team. Back in 2013, just as Peter Capaldi was announced as the next Doctor, Neil Gaiman revealed that the role had, in fact, been offered to a black actor before Matt Smith was announced for the role. The only problem being, the actor in question had turned the role down. 

Fast forward a few years, and the show's outgoing showrunner, Stephen Moffat, has confirmed that a black actor had been offered the role of the Doctor in the past.

Opening quote
"We've tried," Moffat told Doctor Who Magazine. "The part has been offered to a black actor, but for various reasons it didn't work out. Should the Doctor be black? Should the Doctor be a woman? So long as the Doctor is still the Doctor, anything is possible."
Closing quote

Now, Radio Times has done some digging on the matter, citing reliable sources that claim they know the identity of the actor in question.

According to sources involved in the show at the time, it was Chiwetel Ejiofor, the British star who went on to global acclaim in the film 12 Years a Slave.

RadioTimes.com understands that Ejiofor was offered the role of the Eleventh Doctor by the BBC but was unable to agree terms with the Corporation. The part was eventually handed to Matt Smith.
Closing quote

As fantastic as Matt Smith had been for Doctor Who, Ejiofor in the role of the Doctor would certainly have been a major coup for the show.

Hopefully this all means that there is hope that more diversity can be injected into what is one of geek culture's flagship properties. Certainly, Moffat believes that the show needs to better on this front, and he recently revealed that it's for that reason that the team decided Capaldi's next companion show be a person of color.

Opening quote
"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 told the BBC.
Closing quote


Science Fiction
Sci-Fi TV Shows
Doctor Who

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