This past weekend, Doctor Who fans everywhere were elated to hear news that a 12th Doctor was chosen to succeed Matt Smith’s run as the iconic British character. But while Peter Capaldi has been chosen as the new Doctor, there are rumblings that the series almost went in a drastically progressive direction by picking a black actor to take over the role.
Doctor Who writer Neil Gaiman stated that prior to Capaldi being chosen for the role, the part was indeed offered to a black actor. However, Gaiman failed to elaborate on who the actor was but he did mention that the part was offered and then rejected by the actor who was approached by producers.
Now that the new Doctor has been confirmed, many fans are among the belief that Idris Elba was the actor who turned down the role.
Per a discussion on Gaiman’s official Tumblr page:
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 [a black Doctor]. (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.
Gaiman said that he will never say who the actor was as according to ScreenCrush.com, the writer claims he was told in confidence of the actor in question. So it appears we will never know just who was offered the part before Capaldi.
One thing is certain as even though the role of Doctor Who has been filled, Idris Elba’s name will still be mentioned for a long time by fans, even if he indeed turned down the role when he had a chance to take it.