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Doctor Who and the politics of casting

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This article argues that while long-running science fiction series Doctor Who (1963–89, 1996, 2005–present) has started to address a lack of diversity in its casting, there are still significant imbalances. Characters appearing in single episodes are more likely to be colourblind cast than recurring and major characters, particularly the title character. This is problematic for the BBC as a public service broadcaster but is also indicative of larger inequalities in the television industry. Examining various examples of actors cast in Doctor Who, including Pearl Mackie who plays companion Bill Potts, the article argues that while steady progress is being made – in the series and in the industry – colourblind casting often comes into tension with commercial interests and more risk-averse decision-making.
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Keywords: LGBTQ+; actors; colourblind casting; diversity; inequality; race; television industry

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Northampton

Publication date: 01 June 2018

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