Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Joseph To Be First Black Doctor?

David Tennant hasn't yet abandoned his starring role in the BBC SF series Doctor Who, but rumors have already begun circulating that Paterson Joseph--who guest-starred in the first season--may be the leading candidate to replace Tennant as the 11th Doctor. Joseph would be the first black actor to assay the iconic role.

Joseph's agent reportedy denied the Doctor Who rumor when approached about it last week. When SCI FI Wire contacted Joseph directly, his initial response was a text message that said, "I am on a list of God knows how many others, but flattered to be considered."

That was followed by an e-mail a day later, saying, "The news on Who was news to me as of last Wednesday, when my agent said they'd had lots of journos asking if the rumors were true. That's all I know, and I'm very pleased to even be thought of in this way. It's a blast!"

The rumor, which should be taken with a grain of salt, was first reported by British journalist Richard Johnston last week in his online column "Lying in the Gutters."

Joseph played Roderick in the Doctor Who two-part episode "Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways."

Joseph's recent TV appearances include the U.K. series Peep Show, Green Wing and Hyperdrive, but he is probably best known to genre fans for his scene-stealing performance as the Marquis de Carabas in writer Neil Gaiman's short-lived 1996 BBC series Neverwhere.

Perhaps more germane to this particular story is the actor's work in last year's Jekyll miniseries, which was created by Steven Moffat, who will be taking over as the new Doctor Who show runner in the upcoming fifth season in 2010. Did that role give Joseph the inside track? Only time will tell.

While many Doctor Who purists are already resisting the notion of a black actor taking on the role, the biggest obstacle could actually be Joseph's role as Greg Preston in the BBC's upcoming revival of the 1970s post-apocalyptic drama Survivors. According to the show's producer Adrian Hodges (Primeval), "He's a lovely actor, and he has immense likeability on screen. To me, he has hero written and integrity written all over him, and he's a great actor. We're very pleased with him, and we won't kill him off any time soon, I promise you that!"

The fourth season of Doctor Who will be released in the United States on Nov. 18. The series is currently on hiatus in the United Kingdom but will continue with a series of one-off specials, after which a new production team will take over with season five in 2010. --Joe Nazzaro

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