Doctor Who executive producer Steven Moffat has confirmed that a black actor was offered the lead role in the longrunning British science fiction show. According to the BBC, Moffat revealed this information in an interview with Doctor Who Magazine but went on to say that “for various reasons, it didn’t work out.”
Moffat also said that the show had “no excuse” not to feature a more diverse cast and that it would be “amazing” for both actors in the show’s lead roles to be non-white. Last April, it was announced that actress Pearl Mackie, whose father is from the West Indies, had been cast as the new “companion” opposite Peter Capaldi’s Doctor.
“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. “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.”
In 2013, famed comics writer and two-time Doctor Who scripter Neil Gaiman wrote on his blog that he “knew one black actor who was already offered the part of the Doctor, and who turned it down.”
The Radio Times is reporting that sources involved in the show around the time Moffat became executive producer in 2008 say that Chiwetel Ejiofor was the actor approached about playing the so-called “Eleventh Doctor.” The part ultimately went to Matt Smith.