Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Shades of Dr Who

I suspect that Peter Capaldi will make a very good Dr. Who. I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool Dr Who fan, haven't followed the series constantly from its first TV appearance in Britain in 1963 - in fact didn't watch the very earliest seasons at all - the show was intended, primarily for children. I dipped into various seasons, haphazard fashion, sticking with the show more regularly after arriving in the USA, oddly enough, and with the coming of David Tennant as Dr Who. I enjoyed his portrayal, and many of the story lines. I exited again after the first couple of Matt Smith's episodes, couldn't warm to him.

All in all I much prefer Torchwood, a Dr Who spin-off, with John Barrowman as Captain Jack as the draw, for me.

There've been a few arguments fermenting around the net as to why Dr Who hasn't yet been cast as a non-white guy or a female - of any colour. I'm not clear whether the debaters on this topic are mainly American, it's hard to tell online unless specifically stated, but I get a US tinge to many of the "why shouldn't the Dr be black?" arguments. It's understandable. Race has been front and centre of so many arguments in the USA for centuries. I'd be quite interested to see a black Dr Who, but the fact that we've had 12 white ones in a row doesn't fill me with liberal angst.

It's a fictional character, more fictional in its abilities than most, in fact. Dr Who was written as an eccentric British white guy; so was Sherlock Holmes, and many other beloved characters. Characters from fiction are not usually prone to change of colour or gender. I cannot imagine a black or female Sherlock Holmes, for instance. Dr Watson's colour or gender could be switched with less problem though. Likewise, if racial equality is going to be a part of Dr Who's message, the casting of a black and/or female assistant, as already happened with his side-kick Martha, is a much better way to go. The Dr's fastastical ability, as a Time Lord, to re-generate does put him in a rather different category from Sherlock Holmes too.

Idris Elba's name was thrown around as a possible new, black, Dr Who. From his photographs he doesn't look nearly lanky, or eccentric, enough. If Dr Who were going to be black he'd have to retain the other personality characteristics as written. Black, lanky, eccentric ......Eddie Murphy? He'd be too expensive. Nick Cannon? Mos Def? (Any more?) They are American, but if colour were to change, why not nationality?

I can't, at the moment, think of a female, of any colour or nationality, who would fit the Dr's characteristics exactly. Lily Tomlin in her younger days would've been a cinch; Emma Thompson perhaps? Tracy Ullman?

By the time Peter Capaldi's run is through, maybe there'll have arisen an obvious choice to take over as his successor - of whatever colour and/or gender.


mike said...

I would vote for Don Gilet aka Lucas Johnson in "East Enders". He was in an episode of "Dr. Who"..."The Runaway Bride". He's just quirky enough.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I don't know of him, am out of touch with Brit TV these days and don't recall the episode "Runaway Bride" in detail - looked at photos of him in Google Image....looks fine, will take your word for his quirky factor. :-)

Another name came to mind just now - I think he's of mixed race: Keegan-Michael Key. He used to be on MAD TV was versatile and great fun to watch, does a comedy series now of which I've seen only clips.
He seems to be naturally quirky and a fun guy - I bet he'd make a superb American Dr Who. :-)