Steven Moffat may be leaving his Doctor Who showrunning duties behind, but before he goes, he wants to see a more diverse cast. At least, that’s what he tells Doctor Who Magazine in a new interview (via BBC News), in which he also claims that a “black actor” was offered the role of the Doctor himself. Moffat won’t disclose who that person was, he just says that the casting didn’t work out for “for various reasons.” But that setback hasn’t kept him from wanting to add more actors of color to the main cast of Doctor Who (which is the name of the show, not the character, BBC News. Ahem). Moffat says that the show needs to “do better” and include greater representation of people of color.
Moffat notes that Doctor Who’s time-traveling premise, which often takes the Time Lord and his companion(s) to the past, might have previously prevented the show from featuring a black Doctor, who would have a tougher time moving about Victorian England, for example. That’s something that was alluded to in “The Shakespeare Code,” when Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) met William Shakespeare. However, he doesn’t think “there’s ever been a problem with making the Doctor black, which is why it should happen one day.”
And now Moffat says the show “won’t dwell on that,” because it’s crucial that its cast more accurately reflects the people watching at home.
“Young people watching have to know that they have a place in the future. That really matters. You have to care profoundly what children’s shows in particular say about where you’re going to be.”
The decision to cast Pearl Mackie, a London theater actress of West Indian descent, as new companion Bill is part of Moffat’s bid for greater diversity on the show, though he thinks “two non-white leads would be amazing.” Moffat’s set to leave the show after the next season, but maybe not before instituting some big changes.
“Outside of the fiction, it’s about anyone feeling that they can be involved in this industry as an actor, a director, a writer… It’s hugely important, and it’s not good when we fail on that. We must do better,” he said.