- The BBC
Richard Ayoade for 12th Doctor: Make Richard Ayoade the 12th Doctor
Richard Ayoade is a talented character actor, as most Doctors were before playing The Doctor. Just look at him! He was born to play the Doctor! Furthermore, a man who can change his look to look like anything should have regenerated into a black man by now.
I realize that there are far more important things to petition for in this world. And I support those who want to promote much more important causes than mine. But there is a way in which it is important to show the world that a role model for heroic pacifism doesn't have to be white.
- The BBC
The Doctor is a being that can regenerate to have any physical appearance. He went from being an old, feeble, grey haired man to his current, youthful appearance. There are no bounds as to what the Doctor can look like. He has spent several regenerations hoping to become a ginger. But as we have now 11 Doctors (12, technically), we have to wonder how all 11 are white.
In the Sarah Jane Adventures episode, "The Death of the Doctor," the 11th Doctor confirmed that, yes, he could regenerate with black skin. In the Doctor Who episode "Let's Kill Hitler," we confirmed that a half-Time Lady, Melody Pond, could regenerate between skin colors, as she went from a white girl, to a black girl, to a white woman. Canon has determined that the Doctor can be black. So it seems extremely odd that he's always regenerated into a white guy. In making the Doctor white in every incarnation, the show is normalizing whiteness. Blackness is seen as so strange, that not even the greatest hero in the Universe, who is capable of changing his appearance, can become black. This has to be demoralizing, not only for black children who look up to the Doctor, but to any minority fan of the show. It's about time to show them that not only white people can be brave heroes.
There are any number of talented black British actors that could play the 12th Doctor, but none with the perfect background that Ayoade has. Richard Ayoade has a background in comedy, just as both Jon Pertwee and Sylvester McCoy did.
Ayoade is probably best known for his role as Maurice Moss on the hit British sitcom "The IT Crowd." His awkwardness and nerdiness combined with his character's unbridled confidence in himself is remarkably Doctorish. He would have to change very little of his mannerisms and costume from "The IT Crowd" to play the Doctor (although, we know he will have enough creativity to make the role his own). He's also known for his work with the sketch comedy duo, "The Mighty Boosh." While he was more extensively involved with The Boosh's radio show than their more popular television program, he is known on the TV show for his role as Saboo. He additionally co-wrote and directed the comedic Garth Marenghi stage shows and accompanying television program, as well as the comedic films "AD/BC: A Rock Opera," "Submarine," and "The Double."
Most Doctors have a background in theater, including William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Tom Baker, Peter Davidson, Colin Baker, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and Matt Smith. Unlike most of these Doctors, Ayoade did not go to school for acting, but while studying law at St. Catharine's College, Cambridge, he became president of Footlights, the college's dramatic club, for 3 years. He acted in many shows, but became more known for his writing, having won the Martin Steele Prize for play production.
He works as a writer, director, and actor, having also directed the live concert film for the Arctic Monkeys, "At the Apollo," and Tommy Tiernan's stand-up comedy tour film, "Crooked Man." He has proven himself to be not only a great comic actor, but a multi-talented artist of the highest caliber. His acting and comedic background rivals that of any of the past Doctors, and his familiarity with both sides of the camera would make him a great person to have on set.
When searching the web, I found that a lot of other people had already started Facebook groups and websites dedicated to making Richard Ayoade the 12th Doctor, meaning that I am not the first one to think of it. Anna Lowman, blogger for the website "The Stage," suggested Ayoade as a replacement for David Tennant in 2008, calling Ayoade a "left-field" but "perfect choice" for the role (http://blogs.thestage.co.uk/tvtoday/2008/11/who-could-be-who-3-richard-ayoade/).
To be clear, this petition is not calling for the early removal of Matt Smith from the role. Matt Smith has played the role admirably since he began in 2010, and should continue the role for as long as he sees fit. Nor is this petition to suggest that Richard Ayoade only deserves the role because he is black. Race aside, I cannot imagine a better actor to play the Doctor. Period.
It is unknown whether Ayoade would be interested in the role, but hopefully, if offered, he would see how great of an opportunity it would be. He would look natural behind the TARDIS console. As for the problems that a black time traveller would encounter in certain time periods, we would hope that these problems would not be ignored, but would also not be seen as a complete hindrance to a black Doctor. As the 10th Doctor told the first black companion, Martha Jones, when she asked about the difficulties of being a black time traveller:
"I’m not even human. Just walk about like you own the place. Works for me."
Doctor Who has always been a progressive show. Russel T. Davies broke new ground by suggesting that it was okay for a children's science fiction program to have gay characters. It wasn't preachy. Gay characters were simply inserted into the show without acting as if it was positive or negative. They were simply treated as normal, especially in the future where, we would hope, gay rights are more accepted.
It's 2013. Isn't it time for such a progressive show to have a black Doctor? And isn't it time for someone as brilliant and perfect for the role as Richard Ayoade? We think so.
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