Dear Makers of Dr Who
Please don’t take this the wrong way, I still love you as much as I ever did, possibly more considering you’ve accomplished the one thing I never thought you’d achieve – mainstream acceptance.
But let’s be blunt, you have a white male problem. Don’t be embarrassed, it’s a very common issue in popular culture, especially in a franchise like yours which first cast its lead role over 50 years ago. Back then everyone was white. Even Genghis Khan. But considering that your show is about limitless possibilities, the limited nature of your casting is an embarrassment.
Your diversity troubles go even wider because the types of white men you cast all kind of look the same. Examine who you’ve put in the role since the 2005 revival: Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi are all wonderful actors but not only are they all white, they are all lanky. Someone at your casting agency has a type…
I actually adore Peter Capaldi so I’m not suggesting you yank him off the show. But you need to plan ahead for his inevitable departure and to help you do that I’ve got some casting ideas that will step you into modern times. I know change can be scary so, in keeping with tradition I’ll limit suggestions to actors born in the United Kingdom. But even with that stricture in place there is much room for innovation.
Born: London, England, 28 May 1979
You not only need to change your “lean white man” trope, you need to blow it up. Nonso Anozie is 1.98m (6ft 6in), not white, and built like a tank. He is best known for his Game of Thrones appearance as Xaro Xhoan Daxos, the slick “wealthiest man in Qarth” who betrays Daenerys Targaryen and ends up locked in his own vault. He’s most recently been in the goofy sci fi show Zoo. Anozie definitely has range – he’s played King Lear and Othello on stage and done lighter fare like Cinderella and the second Nanny McPhee film.
Given his bulk, he tends to literally overshadow everyone he’s on screen with, but that’s one special thing he could bring to the role. Imagine a Doctor who is imposing both mentally and physically. The fact that such a strong man wouldn’t use violence adds an extra dimension to the character. And let’s face it, you are in desperate need of extra dimensions to the Doctor. I know that you think having him play the electric guitar adds depth but honestly it just looks like the show is having a mid-life crisis.
Born: Torquay, England, 14 December 1972
Of course, casting yet another male as the Doctor doesn’t solve your gender problem. One joy of seeing Catherine Tate as Donna Noble was that as someone known for comedy, she brought a light touch that balanced the darkness the show often plays in. Logic dictates a comedienne would do similar things for the show’s central role. There have been rumors about Miranda Hart appearing on the show for years – including that she would be a new Doctor. She’s a perfect fit. The Doctor has always been a character with a good dose of awkward and Miranda Hart plays goofy perfectly.
Hart hasn’t just done comedy – she won a Bafta on drama Call The Midwife so she knows how to play it relatively straight. She’s 1.85m (6ft 1in) so again she’d cut an imposing physical figure, giving the role that extra bit of beef. Since she’s known for playing relatively sweet characters seeing her tackle the shadier side of the Doctor would be a revelation.
Born: Edgeware, England, 31 May 1972
Then again, Doctor Who Makers, Hart isn’t going to fix your unbearable whiteness of being. If you want to lay all your problems to rest at once I have the perfect actress for you. Archie Panjabi’s biggest role to date has been Kalinda Sharma on The Good Wife, a role that netted her an Emmy. The characters of Kalinda and The Doctor are not that far apart – both are enigmatic problem solvers who operate in morally complex situations, aren’t afraid to break the rules and often saved the day by using their smarts. The only real difference is that Kalinda did it in a short skirt and pair of knee boots. She has a broad CV – movies and television, drama and comedy – which will come in handy for tackling the complex Doctor. It’s well past time she was handed a starring role. She has X-factor and SEX-factor – this woman can heat up the screen with just a glance. It’ll give make those straight fan boys look at the Doctor in a whole new way…
Born: Harlow, England, 24 August 1988
But I get it, People In Charge, you REALLY like your lean white male Doctors. But what if I told you there’s a way to keep him white AND change his race? Yes, it’s time for a Ginger Doctor! Okay, so red-heads don’t constitute a “race” per se but at this point casting a carrot-top might be as adventurous as you lot are going to get. Rupert Grint, of course, is most famous for playing Ron Weasley, a role that allowed him to showcase his abilities with comedy, action and drama.
Imagine the legion of Harry Potter fans who would tune in to see him driving the Tardis. Grint radiates cheekiness and charm – two things the role is famous for. Plus having a main character from another franchise play the Doctor would give geeks everywhere a nerdgasm. It’s like Halle Berry playing Storm AND Catwoman – except, you know, good.
But if you must cast yet another skinny white male then let me suggest some different types of companions. Yes, you’re in a bit of a rut there also. First of all you’ve GOT to stop putting young white women in the role…