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Black Is The New Doctor

This may all come to nothing, but it’s being widely reported that Patterson Joseph has been asked to play the lead in Doctor Who and he’s either thinking hard or has accepted the role.

For those of you who don’t know Doctor Who, it’s an iconic British SF show where the main character, The Doctor, has an unusual reaction to being killed.  Instead of dying, his body regenerates and he gets a new face, body, and personality.  This conceit was invented way back when the guy who first played the Doctor said he didn’t want to, anymore, but the show was doing so well that they didn’t want to end it, so they wrote an in-story explanation for the actor change and now there have been 10 guys in this role.

Further in case you didn’t know: Patterson Joseph is black.  And the Doctor has always been played by white guys.

Yes, I hear the wank coming for us, too.  There’s already been a bit.

But this is a pretty awesome turn of events.  Joseph is a good actor, from what I’ve seen, and quite handsome, which doesn’t hurt.  And the role of the Doctor is, as I mentioned, iconic, and a very big deal.  Doctor Who isn’t just a very famous SF show.  In England particularly, but in Western countries all over, the show transcends genre and is regarded as an integral part of childhood TV viewing.  This role is one that actors dream of playing.  It’s a chance to make some very influential TV.

I hope that the rumors don’t end up being unfounded, because it has the potential to be very awesome (or very crazy.  Doctor Who is not immune to icky race stuff).  Yes, the fandom will explode in stupid racism, but it may come out on the other end better and more enlightened.

And also: Black Doctor.

27 thoughts on “Black Is The New Doctor”

  1. ErinM says:

    OMG, I so want this to be true. Paterson Joseph has been my favorite for the new Doctor for a long time.

  2. marci says:

    have watched dr who since i was a wee one.. this would indeed be awesome.. i love this progamme..a major part of my sci fi childhood..
    martha played by freema agyeman in 07 as the doctor’s assistant was a joy to watch.. she is a great actress (and so damned easy on the eye..)
    this would be a good thing… keeping a beady on this… and the black 007 stories being touted…

  3. Ellen says:

    SIGH. I’m disappointed by this semi-announcement only because my pick for the new, black Doctor was Michael Obiora.

    But then, Joseph’s character was kind of a jerk in his Who episode whereas Obiora’s was awesome in his, which is probably not a rational reason to prefer one over the other.

  4. betmo says:

    wow- i love dr. who- this would be really cool! i enjoyed chris eccleston when they brought the show back- and i watched a season or so after and that guy was ok- but this would be cool.

  5. Katherine Farmar says:

    Paterson Joseph is currently appearing in Survivors, a very Whovian show: it also featured Freema Agyeman and Nikki Amuka-Bird (who was brilliant in an episode of Torchwood), and was based on an older series by Terry Nation, an old-school Who writer. It’s rather good, and it shows off Joseph’s chops as an actor. He’d be a great Doctor.

  6. brownstocking says:

    I, too, love The Doctor. I thought Martha was going to be my highlight of the show, but this! This! Whoa, nelly!

    And, I think Obiora is cute, but his character was a little cocky for me. His pre-death scene was great, though! I think Patterson will do well, though I hate his American accents. Over-the-top.

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  9. Delux says:

    I might actually have to watch this now.

  10. Layla says:

    Is it really true? Oh, AWESOME! I squeed all over the place when the rumor was first announced, but I had been given to understand that it was just a rumor and Patterson Joseph wasn’t interested.

    I adored him as the Marquis de Carrabas way back in Neverwhere, and I think he would be a fantastic Doctor; he can totally pull off the right weird-crazy-genius gestalt, I think. And it is about damn time the Doctor was something other than a white guy.

  11. 2fs says:

    This’d be nice – keep putting little cracks in that wall, and eventually it’ll be more cracks than wall. Who knows – someday a woman as doctor…

  12. BlackWomenBlowTheTrumpet says:

    Hello there!

    Yes….black is IN!

    it’s a fashion statement for white people to create more of ‘the first black to…” moments so that they can congratulate themselves on how they have evolved!! *LOL*

    I may have to check this out though….sounds very interesting with a black lead character!!

  13. Angel H. says:

    Ditto, Delux!

    Note to self: See “Martha” season on DVD. Tune in to new season.

  14. the angry black woman says:

    Martha is season 3, season 4 aired earlier this year, and Martha is in some of the episodes. in 2009 we only get 3 specials :( it won’t be until 2010 that we get a full season, and with Joseph.

  15. SunlessNick says:

    I’m still hoping that Martha and Mickey will be in Torchwood next season.

    I think Patterson Joseph would be an awesome Doctor. Though another choice I had in mind was Colin Salmon.

    But yet, the racism would be thick. Hell even Martha was described as “political correctness gone mad.”

  16. Mindmatters says:

    This is wonderful news. I sincerely hope it’s true. The Doctor is loved the world over and it would speak volumes to see a black actor in such an iconic role. What’s particularly pleasing is the rumor that Steven Moffat preferred Joseph for the role. Moffat, for the uninitiated, is the new producer of the show and has won a BAFTA award for virtually every story he’s written for the program. Obviously, a man of great taste. Joseph is no lightweight either. He’s been recently lauded for his work in the play Emperor Jones where he played the lead. The same play that catapulted Paul Robeson to fame. Yes, it’s been a good year…

  17. MM says:

    I suppose now that Obama won, GB which often thinks they are far less racist then the US (after all 50% Black men marry white or other) had to do something racially progressive, since their political scene is a sea of White faces and not one top Black man (or woman) in any slots.

  18. Rob Hansen says:

    Assuming this rumour is correct – and, interestingly, the bookies have stopped taking bets on Joseph being the next Doctor, which suggests they think it’s a done deal – I’ve been trying to imagine how the Doctor would react to the change. I think it will be something like:

    “Hmm, that’s interesting. Oh well, it was bound to happen eventually.” and, turning to presumably shocked companion: “Right, where were we?”

    I imagine he’ll be pretty casual about it but, as is always the case with any regeneration, the companion will be freaked out. Best example of this was that of Rose in that eight minute ‘Children In Need Special’ when he regenerated into David Tennant. She was both freaked out and not at all happy about it.

  19. Bree says:

    I don’t care who they pick for the Doctor. He could be white, black, green, a woman, or transgender. I do, however do not want Rose Tyler anywhere near the show anymore! Talk about the most annoying, whiny Mary Sue ever!

    I want the next companion to either be a man, an alien, someone from another time, or a woman like Donna, who wanted to travel and get away from her boring life with no intention of trying to get in the Doctor’s pants. This is a type of show where sappy romance subplots actually drag everything down. Give me action, alien worlds, technobabble, and conflict that doesn’t involve romance (although Martha was a lot more tolerable when she realized The Doctor wouldn’t return her affection. She moved on and found someone else, while Rose escaped her paralllel world and STILL couldn’t take no for an answer).

  20. Rob Hansen says:

    It’s just been announced the BBC will be revealing who the new Doctor is tomorrow – Sat 3rd Jan – in a special programme airing at 5.35pm , that’s 12.45pm East Coast time.

  21. brownstocking says:

    OMG@ Sunless: If Martha jumps to Torchwood, and they let James Marsters come back, I am so geeked!!!!

    @ Bree: you don’t think the Doctor didn’t return her affections? He had some feelings for her. Rose was weird in her return visits, even in the series 4 shows. Just awkward.

    @MM, good point, especially considering there are only two Black women in the Commons, and one (IIR) in the Lords. But the Guardian just had an interesting take on whether Obama would have succeeded in Europe, considering most western European countries say they’re more liberal than the US.

    I wonder if we’ll see more of the woman he actually partnered with.

    Now I just have to figure out how to see the unveiling of the new Doctor…

    I am way too excited right now, and no one in my close circle even knows why. :,o(

    Okay, back to being geeked!

  22. Rob Hansen says:

    Alas, it seems unlikely Martha is headed for Torchwood as Freema Agyeman has signed on as one of the leads in the forthcoming ‘Law & Order: London’. Makes sense from a career point of view as it’s a bigger role, but it deprives us of more Martha. Oh well, at least we got to see Freema hosting ‘Doctor Who at the Proms’ over the holiday.

    There’s been a spate of last-minute betting on the relatively-unknown Matt Smith to be the new Doctor. Has someone in the know let the cat out of the bag, I wonder?

    And here’s a fun Doctor Who v Star Trek mash-up:

  23. the angry black woman says:

    I hate the Doctor Who people right now. Who the hell is Matt Smith and why, WHYGODWHY will I be forced to deal with teen emo Doctor for lord knows how many seasons? Ugh. Makes me never want to watch again.

    Also, Freema is going to be on L&O London, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be on Torchwood. If L&O follows the pattern most British TV does, there will be a chunk of episodes and then a break and nothing again until a new season. It’s possible for an actor to be on a couple of shows at once, if the timing is right.

  24. Rob Hansen says:

    I’ve seen Smith in a couple of shows over here, and he’s actually a pretty good actor, and a suitably quirky. I’m not sure yet that I can see him as the Doctor, but he was Steven Moffat’s choice and I trust Steven Moffat, so…we’ll see.

    And, yes, it’s true that actors over here can and do star in more than one show at a time (see Julie Graham in BONEKICKERS and SURVIVORS, Zoe Tapper in SURVIVORS and DEMONS, Philip Glenister in DEMONS and ASHES TO ASHES, etc), but I’d heard the filming schedules for TORCHWOOD and L&O: LONDON do in fact clash. If so then no more Martha, which would be a shame. Still, being a companion has *made* Freema’s career and she’s been showing up on quite a few shows recently.

  25. the angry black woman says:

    If there’s no Martha, there’s no real reason for me to watch Torchwood, I’m sure someone will youtube all the scenes where jack and ianto get squishy with each other, but if I have to suffer through EVEN MORE GWEN with the added bonus of less POC? Count me out. Tosh was a major reason I stuck with that show, though they made her character annoying. And it was so clear that Martha would fit in really well… sigh.

    Also, I’m sure this new Doctor is a fine actor, but it’s obvious they aren’t going for interesting or gravitas here, they’re going for fangirl love. I am so sick of Doctor fangirls. Next thing they’ll be announcing he has a 16 year old companion named Mary Sue. I honestly wouldn’t put it past them, because Stephen Moffat is the King of Mary Sue DW stories on my television.

    I like him as a writer, but I do not trust him an ounce. The only really good thing about him being the head writer is that he can finally stop shoehorning in DW episodes that do not belong in the continuity he was stuck with. Now he can choose his own continuity. Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me if there was NO companion at all, so he could write endless stories about the Doctor meeting up with women, falling in love with them, and losing them in some tragic way.

    Because that’s so very, very Doctor Who.


  26. Mindmatters says:

    Rumor has it that the BBC was all set to cast a black actor as the Doctor — specifically Paterson Joseph or Chiwete Ejiofor. But neither men wanted to commit to the demands of the series. This is plausible because Dr. Who is a very demanding show. Remember Eccleston quit after the first year. Ejiofor has a major movie career and Joseph is following in his footsteps. The ideal person to take the role is someone good, but not too well known. Matt Smith certainly qualifies. I’m disappointed that Joseph didn’t get it, but I’ll still watch the show. As for Freema, I wish her well on her new show. Guess that makes her too busy to accept my marriage proposal…

  27. Rob Hansen says:

    From today’s Outpost Gallifrey news page:

    Both Teletext and The Sun and reporting today that Freema Agyeman will return to Doctor Who for one more appearance as Martha Jones before David Tennant leaves the role. Agyeman is, according to the reports, scheduled to appear in one of the four upcoming specials that Tennant will appear in before turning over the role to Matt Smith. Says the Sun, “Freema’s on board. It’s early days so it’s unclear what exactly Martha will be up to in the new show.”

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