Doctor Who Casting Director Aims to Diversify with Disabled Actors in the Next Series

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In the diversity in media conversation, disability is usually forgotten. Doctor Who’s casting director wants to change that for the long-running sci-fi series.

In the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine casting director Andy Pryor spoke to the diversity message Steven Moffat had put into the world earlier this year.

“The area where I haven’t pushed hard enough is disability,” he said. “That’s something I want to address in the 2017 series.” He also said Moffat and executive producer Brian Minchin “are very much on board.”

I don’t believe I’ve ever written on Doctor Who and disability because well, there really isn’t much to talk about in that regard. If you google “disabled characters Doctor Who” you certainly get some interesting results. Last year’s episode “Under the Lake” featured the first deaf actress to appear on the series, Sophie Stone, so it’s good to hear they are keeping this kind of thing in the forefront of their minds.

Last year long-time Doctor Who collaborator Toby Whithouse remarked on the decision to cast a deaf actor after a talk he attended. He previously was going to cast someone who could lip read. “There were disabled actors on the panel, and they were saying that it has to be done in a kind of two-pronged way,” he said. “First, parts have to be written for disabled characters. And the other thing that has to happen is that disabled actors have to be cast in non-disabled parts.”

Do you think the TARDIS would get rid of all its stairs if a wheelchair user was granted access? Random thoughts aside, I do hope Doctor Who does cast more disabled actors moving forward as a lot of media needs to make progress in that area.

As to general diverse casting, Moffat previously said of new companion Pearl Mackie, “We decided that the new companion was going to be non-white, and that was an absolute decision because we need to do better on that. We just have to.” In DWM Pryor said, “I wholeheartedly approved of the decision to only audition non-white actresses. You don’t do it for the sake of it. You do it because it’s the right thing to do.”

He also echoed Moffat’s statement about needing to make a conscious effort. “Most actors in this country are white. Unless you are conscious about not always going in that direction you’re going to end up with the same cast all the time. And that’s not OK,” he said. “I always want to cast the best actors but I want the show to be interesting, to be attractive to a diverse audience and to reflect the world we live in.”

(via The Daily Star)

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  • Ooh, that’s intriguing…the thought of the TARDIS “liking” a passenger and customizing itself for access…we’ve never seen it actively change, have we? We’ve seen the before and after and flashes…or am I wrong?

  • JayFab

    Excellent news. And when Doctor Who say their going to do something they do it. The specifically looked for a woman of colour to play Bill, they also had a trans actress in the last series too.

    I don’t think it comes naturally to Moffat, I think he’s said he had to learn that open casting doesn’t work like he thought it would, but all we can ask is that people learn so good on him.