The White Knight

THE BBC HAVE announced that the eleventh actor to play the role of the Doctor in world's longest-running science fiction drama series will be twenty-six year old Matt Smith.

The news broke yesterday in a special edition of Doctor Who Confidential, the behind-the-scenes documentary which normally follows first run episodes of a new series. Initially, the news is disappointing on several levels. It's the eleventh Caucasian actor to play the role in the last forty-five years. There is no reason why the character of the Doctor should always be Caucasian - the character is an alien with the ability to "regenerate" his physical form when it reaches the end of its life, or suffers fatal trauma. In theory, the Doctor can take on the physical appearance of anyone. Doctor Who throughout its earlier run, from 1963-1989, was blindingly white. British television in the sixties and seventies was more or less exclusively Caucasian, and this only really changed in the eighties. In Doctor Who, non-white faces were rare. Following its demise in 1989, a re-tooled Doctor Who was relaunched in 2005 by Queer As Folk creator Russell T. Davies, and was a huge success. The character of bisexual Captain Jack (played by John Barrowman) was introduced, and the first non-Caucasian regular character in the show's history made his debut in the form of Noel Clarke's Mickey Smith. Since the 2005 relaunch, three actors have held the role of the Doctor, all of them Caucasian. At best, it's a lost opportunity to redress the balance. At worst, it's blatant racism. Why oh why does the BBC - famously a white, middle-class bastion - always cast a white actor in the role? Don't get me wrong - there's nothing I hate more than positive discrimination. As social evils go, it's right up there with ethnic cleansing (flipside of the coin anyone?) - but really, why didn't we seize this opportunity, why didn't we take a different road? Paterson Joseph was the bookies favourite to take the role, and I can't help but wonder at the possibilities his interpretation of the role would have broached. Oh, it's a shame.


Anonymous said...

Oy - dude, cut the crap! You're a white dude! Stop with the afro-centric bullshit. Nothing more intolerable than a 'wigga'...
As a black dude, I have the right to say that white folk have no right or reason to be so permeated in the black man's struggle. Get a life and stop the bullshit.

Tim in Kenya said...

Totally agree with you - David Tennant's departure was the perfect opportunity to both revitalise Doctor Who itself, and to allow a non-Caucasian actor to the forefront of the BBC's entertainment scheduling.

Instead, they choose a tall, skinny Caucasian for the role - hardly breaking the recent mould, is it? It seems Auntie really is stuck in her ways.

ka-os said...

Anon - how do you know I'm white? (I'm actually mixed Irish/Asian) I'll tell you what's more intolerable than a wigga: an angry, separtist "brother" with a chip on his shoulder. Now run along and jack off to James Earl Hardy.

"Black man's struggle" - ha! Not only are you a joke, you're a cliche.

Finally, I'm not afro-centric, I'm just people-centric, and not a posturing, separtist racist like you.

(P.S. Dude? As a "white dude" I have the right to say black folk have no right or reason to be so permeated in the surfer dude's struggle).

(P.P.S. Are you the afro-centric brother on BGCLive who has "No White Dudes" on his profile, and sends me messages like "You're pretty fine for a white dude" on the DL? Yeah, I think you are.)

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