Rumor of the Day: Chiwetel Ejiofor was offered the role of the Doctor on Doctor Who

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Jun 3, 2016, 4:08 PM EDT

Rumors of a black Doctor have been making the rounds for a while now and yesterday a story emerged where Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat confirmed the role had been offered to a non-white actor a few years back.

Moffat said in the new issue of Doctor Who Magazine (via The Guardian) it would be “refreshing” if the next Doctor weren't white.

“Absolutely it would [be refreshing]. Two non-white leads in Doctor Who would be amazing. In fact, a lot of people would barely notice … I certainly don’t think there’s ever been a problem with making the Doctor black, which is why it should happen one day. I mean, we’ve tried. The part has been offered to a black actor. But for various reasons, it didn’t work out.”

The other lead Steven Moffat is referring to here is Pearl Mackie, who's just been recently cast as the Twelfth Doctor's new companion Bill for the upcoming Season 10.


Doctor Who writer Neil Gaiman himself had confirmed this three years ago on his blog:

“Would I like a person of colour as the Doctor? Absolutely. 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. You can ask [who it is], but seeing that it was something I was told in confidence by the actor in question, you won’t get an answer.”

Although the original report did not specifically reveal which actor had turned down the role, Idris Elba, David Harewood, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Paterson Joseph have all apparently been considered for the role at one point or another, before Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi were respectively cast as the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors.

But Radio Times now claims sources involved in the show at the time have revealed it was in fact Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity, 12 Years a Slave, The Martian, Doctor Strange) who was offered the role of the Eleventh Doctor. Seems like Ejiofor was unable to agree with the terms laid out by the BBC, and the role was eventually given to Matt Smith. I can almost hear Chiwetel Ejiofor saying bow ties are cool … almost.

Reaching out to a Doctor Who spokesperson who declined to comment on the Ejiofor story, the site says the actor was not offered the role again when it was time for Matt Smith to regenerate into who would now be Peter Capaldi.

What do you guys think? Would Chiwetel Ejiofor have made a great Doctor?

(via Radio Times)