In an interview in the special issue of Doctor Who Magazine: Guest Stars, Andy Pryor, who has been Doctor Who’s casting director since 2005 and will continue into specials to air in 2023, has revealed plans to make future Doctor Who more diverse than ever before.
“I like to cast as inclusively as possible,” Pryor told DWM. “It’s more interesting. Also, if you can’t cast diversely on Doctor Who, what show can you do it on? It goes everywhere, on this planet and others, and you don’t want to see the same kind of people all the time. You don’t want it to be exclusively middle-class white people speaking with RP accents.”
“I know Russell [T Davies, past and future showrunner] feels the same way I do about this. We’ve always been, I like to think, quite good at casting inclusively, but we’re more keen than we’ve ever been. So right now we’re casting more diversely in terms of ethnicity. We’re casting more disabled actors… But there’s always more we can do. Certainly, there’s absolutely no excuse to not cast a disabled actor in a disabled role nowadays.”
“Also, we’re trying to cast disabled people in roles that aren’t necessarily written as disabled. We don’t always want disabled casting to be ‘issue’ casting. So our horizons are widening. I want to see more disabled people on screen.”
Deaf actress Sophie Stone played Cass in Under the Lake/Before the Flood in Doctor Who Series 9, Rachel Denning, an actress with dwarfism, played scientist Erica in The Pyramid at the End of the World in Series 10, Blind actress Ellie Wallwork played Hanne in It Takes You Away in Series 11 and Nadia Albina, whose right arm ends at the elbow, played recurring character Diane Curtis in Series 13.
There are rumours that Ruth Madeley will join the cast for the 60th anniversary and possibly portray her marine biologist character Hebe Harrison from Big Finish Doctor Who audio adventures.
There are also rumours of a wheelchair-accessible TARDIS interior.
“There’s a push to make the show bigger and bolder,” Pryor concluded to DWM. “Russell’s back, and he’s having huge fun writing it again, so you want to honour that. But we’ve never, I don’t think, rested on our laurels, because the show always needs to be refreshing itself.”
Doctor Who will return in October of 2022 with its BBC centenary special written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Jamie Magnus Stone.
Russell T Davies has written and is producing Doctor Who 60th anniversary content, thought to be three specials, to air in 2023 and will continue to produce series beyond.