Look which black actor was almost Who's Eleventh Doctor instead of Matt Smith

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Aug 10, 2013, 9:02 AM EDT (Updated)

A few days ago, Neil Gaiman revealed that a black actor had been offered the role of the Doctor on Who. Now we may have a name.

According to The Mirror—so please take this with a grain (or bucket) of salt—inside sources on the show have revealed that actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (some of you may recall him as the main bad guy on Joss Whedon’s Serenity, among many, many other roles) was offered the role of the Eleventh Time Lord (not the Twelfth) and declined the life-changing part because terms could not be agreed upon.


They claim that Matt Smith would never have gotten the role if Ejiofor had agreed to a deal back in 2009.

Now this follows a recent reveal, in the wake of the casting of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor, from fantasy author and sometimes Doctor Who writer (the magnificent "The Doctor's Wife" and "Nightmare in Silver") Neil Gaiman that a black actor had almost been cast in the role of the beloved Time Lord.

This is what Gaiman has said regarding the possibilies of casting a black Doctor, revealing that it almost happened:

“Of course. (I thought I’d said that I was disappointed that it didn’t happen this time, and that there are some amazing actors out there. I was rather disappointed that Paterson Joseph didn’t get it last time, although I’ve loved Matt’s Eleven.) And yes, I have no doubt there will be. (I know one black actor who was already offered the part of the Doctor, and who turned it down.) Just as there will be a female Doctor.”

So, not Paterson Joseph as Gaiman mentioned, then. (And if The Mirror is right, of course.)

In the wake of Neil Gaiman’s comments, the Mirror reveals it has contacted several sources who claimed they were “100 percent confident” it was Ejiofor. However, the actor’s agents have not returned their calls, while the BBC has said that it was “pure speculation” to use Ejiofor’s name.

As for the casting of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor, the BBC—as well as Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat—have made it quite clear he was their first choice for the role of the Doctor.

In the meanwhile, Gaiman has apparently backtracked by claiming he has no inside knowledge of the casting process, saying: "No, [the black actor] didn't turn down the role of the Twelfth Doctor. There have been many Doctors cast over the years." The important thing here being Doctor number twelve.

What do you think? Do you believe there’s any truth to the story that Chiwetel Ejiofor might have been the first choice for the role of the Eleventh Doctor?

(via The Mirror)

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