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Doctor Who finally broke with tradition not long ago and introduced the show's first female Doctor, but the groundbreaking event could've happened much sooner. Whoopi Goldberg recently revealed that she had approached The BBC about playing the character at one point, but was shot down. She shared her pitch with David Tennant on his podcast, and explained how she envisioned it would've gone down:
I wanted to be the first female Doctor… the American version of Doctor Who ends up in New York and it’s me. The idea of that so made me happy. But they were like ‘Um no.’ I was like, ‘OK, I’m cool. I understand.’
Of course, Whoopi Goldberg was asking for a lot to change in the Doctor Who universe. Her vision described on David Tennant Does A Podcast With... would've given the world not only its first female Doctor, but its first minority and American Doctor as well. The first two don't seem that far fetched these days, but The BBC has seemingly been a hard pass on American actors playing the iconic character since the very beginning.
It's not the first time Whoopi Goldberg has said she's wanted to be a part of Doctor Who, as the award-winning actress said in 2017 (via Radio Times) she'd settle for a role that isn't the famous Time Lord. It's possible Goldberg even appeared on David Tennant's podcast to further her effort, perhaps knowing he may put in a good word to showrunner Chris Chibnall for her. If she happens to pop up in Season 12, we may know why!
As for why Whoopi Goldberg wants to be in Doctor Who, she explained she's always loved sci-fi. That love led her to Star Trek: The Next Generation, and onto television at a time when few big screen actors were jumping between TV and film. Goldberg mentioned one of the things she loves most about the genre is its ability to "predict the future" and referenced a bunch of tech that existed in shows before they appeared in real life.
As the talk died down on Doctor Who, David Tennant did mention there could be another chance for Whoopi Goldberg to do sci-fi. Goldberg acknowledged she was aware of the upcoming Picard series on CBS All Access, but said that she had not received a call to reprise her role as Guinan. Tennant said that perhaps now that it's been put out there, her phone may ring. Unfortunately for Goldberg, he was referring to Star Trek, and not Doctor Who.
Production is underway on Season 12 of Doctor Who, but new episodes from the season won't appear on BBC America until 2020. For a bunch of things to watch in the interim, head on over to our midseason premiere guide.