Was Chiwetel Ejiofor the black actor offered the role of the 11th Doctor ahead of Matt Smith?

Sources assure RadioTimes.com that the 12 Years a Slave star was the actor Steven Moffat says turned down the part

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Outgoing Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat has revealed that a black actor was offered the role of the Doctor but turned it down. And we think we know who that person was.

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According to sources involved in the show at the time, it was Chiwetel Ejiofor, the British star who went on to global acclaim in the film 12 Years a Slave.

RadioTimes.com understands that Ejiofor was offered the role of the Eleventh Doctor by the BBC but was unable to agree terms with the Corporation. The part was eventually handed to Matt Smith.

In an interview this week, Moffat confirmed the story about a black actor being offered the role – something that has been speculated on for a number of years – adding that he still believed a non-white star should play the Doctor in the future.

One Doctor Who writer, Neil Gaiman, said on his blog three years ago that the role of the Doctor had been offered to a black actor.

“Would I like a person of colour as the Doctor? Absolutely. I have no doubt there will be,” he wrote. “I know one black actor who was already offered the part of the Doctor, and who turned it down. You can ask [who it is], but seeing that it was something I was told in confidence by the actor in question, you won’t get an answer.”

Before Peter Capaldi landed the role as Smith’s successor, it was again claimed that a black actor might get the role, with Ejiofor one of the rumoured candidates alongside Idris Elba, David Harewood and Paterson Joseph.

However, RadioTimes.com understands Ejiofor was not offered the role again before it was handed to Capaldi.

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A Doctor Who spokesperson declined to comment on the alleged offer to Ejiofor.