Neil Gaiman laments 'missed opportunity': Writer claims Doctor Who offered to black actor who said 'no'


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The Independent Culture

An unnamed actor who was offered the lead role in Doctor Who might be wishing he could turn back time.

One of the BBC1 show's writers has claimed the coveted part was turned down by a black actor before it was given to Peter Capaldi.

Fantasy author Neil Gaiman who has written scripts for the sci-fi drama made the revelation on his blog shortly after The Thick Of It star Capaldi was announced as the next regeneration of the Time Lord.

He it felt like a "missed opportunity" and said he still hoped a non-white star would take the role one day.

"Would I like a person of colour as the Doctor? Absolutely," he said, and went on: "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."

Gaiman did not make it clear whether it was for the latest round of casting or during a previous search, such as when Matt Smith won the role as the 11th Doctor. The programme's executive producer Steven Moffatt suggested he only ever had Capaldi in mind.

"Yes. The list went 'Peter Capaldi' - it was a very short list," Moffatt said when the new Doctor was announced at the weekend.

Gaiman said the part should go to the most suitable actor regardless of skin colour.

"Paterson Joseph was the Marquis de Carabas in Neverwhere, because he aced the auditions, and beat all the other actors, mostly white, who tried out for the role. I'd want that kind of performance at the audition for the Doctor. And there are certainly actors good enough out there that it feels like a missed opportunity."

He added: "I was rather disappointed that Paterson Joseph didn't get it last time, although I've loved Matt's 11."