Ever since #Doctor Who first graced our TV screens in 1963, the sci-fi series continues to captivate generations of fans with its riveting storylines and quirky adventures.

For years, however, the subject of Doctor Who and diversity has been a hot-button topic among Whovians (for the uninitiated, a Whovian is a ‘Doctor Who’ fan).

Although it has been established within the world of the show that the Doctor can take on any race and gender he so chooses, all 13 actors who have portrayed the role of the shape-shifting Time Lord have been Caucasian males.

‘A black Doctor should have happened by now’

Recently, former Doctor #Colin Baker addressed this issue at the 2017 Comic-Con held in San Diego.

Advertisements
Advertisements

"The white male dominance of the role has been nothing if not timid," said the British actor, per a Mashable report, during a panel devoted to the cult sci-fi series on Thursday. Baker’s statement was in response to a pointed inquiry by an audience member about representation in Doctor Who, said the report.

Stating that a black Doctor "should have happened by now as well,” the sixth Doctor also hinted at the possibility of having a Black Doctor real soon as he asked the fans to “watch the next regeneration."

Whenever the Doctor, the two-hearted alien from Gallifrey, is mortally wounded and/or his actor leaves the show, the character dies and is regenerated into a new body, having the same essential self but a new set of personality tics.

Fans have been crusading for a female Doctor or a black Doctor or really any option besides a white male Doctor since 2008, when David Tennant, who played the Tenth Doctor, announced that he would be leaving the show, stated a Vox report.

Advertisements

Earlier this year, Whovians called on Chris Chibnall, the programme’s Executive Producer and new lead writer, to grab the opportunity to cast a black or female actor as the 13th incarnation of the shape-shifting Time Lord following the announcement that Peter Capaldi would be leaving the show after the 2017 Christmas special.

A bold leap forward

On July 16, BBC created history by announcing that Jodie Whittaker “will become the first female Doctor” in the show’s 50-year history.

Though most Whovians lauded the decision to cast Jodie Whittaker as the titular Doctor, a few fans were unhappy with the casting announcement. Recently, BBC issued a written statement regarding the channel’s decision to cast Whittaker as the female lead.

“The Doctor is an alien from the planet Gallifrey and it has been established in the show that Time Lords can switch gender,” said BBC. It also quoted the Controller of BBC Drama who said that the ‘Broadchurch’ star “is not just a talented actor but she has a bold and brilliant vision for her Doctor.”

The show’s first black character appeared in 1967

According to current series writer Steven Moffat, the lead role in the fantasy sci-fi show was offered to a black actor.

Advertisements

“I mean, we’ve tried. The part has been offered to a black actor. But for various reasons, it didn’t work out,” said Moffat who is also the Executive Producer of the show, in a Guardian report.

The series’ first black character was a Cybermen help-meet called Toberman in 'Tomb of the Cybermen’. The character appeared in the fifth season aired in September 1967 and was played by black actor Roy Stewart.

What’s more, Paramount Pictures wanted to make a Doctor Who movie in 1988 starring either Bill Cosby or the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson, as the lead, noted Charles Norton in his book ‘Now on the Big Screen: The Unofficial and Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who at the Cinema.’