Whoopi Goldberg Pitched an American Doctor Who Series

Goldberg was up for playing the iconic lead of Doctor Who in an American adaptation of the series.

Whoopi Goldberg

There are so many reasons why it’s a great time to be a Doctor Who fan. First, we, in The Year of Our Time Lord 2019, get to watch the first female Doctor on our TV screens. (Well, technically, we’re not getting anymore new Doctor Who in 2019, but you know what I mean…) Second, former Doctor David Tennant just started a new podcast in which Doctor Who seems to come up all of the time.

In the second episode of David Tennant Does a Podcast with…, Tennant chatted with Whoopi Goldberg, who revealed that she once pitched an American adaptation of Doctor Who in which she would have starred as the Doctor. While American versions of the iconic British TV series don’t exactly have the best record, it would have been pretty cool to see what Goldberg’s reimagining would have looked like, especially as it means we would have gotten our first female Doctor and first Doctor of color way earlier.

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“I don’t know if I told you this last time, how I wanted to be the first female Doctor Who,” Goldberg told Tennant. “And the American version of Doctor Who ends up in New York and is me. Because to me, we don’t have a Doctor Who. We [Americans] don’t have that character who is traveling through dimension and time … The idea of that just so made me happy, but they were like, ‘Um, no.’ So it’s like, ‘Okay. I’m cool. I understand.'”

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Goldberg is obviously a science fiction nerd. During the podcast, she also tells Tennant about how seeing Nichelle Nichols in the role of Lt. Uhura in Star Trek: The Original Series as a kid inspired her. It’s what eventually led her to request a role on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Goldberg played Guinan, an El-Aurian bartender in Ten Forward, as a recurring role through Seasons 2-6.

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Reminiscing about asking Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry if she could be on the show, Goldberg recounts: “He said, ‘Why do you want to do this?’ and I said, ‘Because, do you not know that, before Lt. Uhura, there were no black people in the future?’ He said, ‘What?!’ I said, ‘I’m telling you, before this character, there was no representation of a person of color in the future!'”

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Like other actors who have worked in the Star Trek franchise, the role meant a lot to Goldberg: “For me, it was one of the best gigs ever because Star Trek was to me a really meaningful show,” she said.

It sounds like Goldberg might still be up for appearing on Doctor Who in some capacity. Elsewhere in the podcast, she told Tennant: “I like the idea of doing things the way y’all do them, you do some really fun stuff like Black Mirror or, you know, I’m still dying to do Doctor Who.” Make it happen, BBC.

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Listen to the whole podcast episode here, and stay tuned for future episodes. Doctor Who‘s Jodie Whittaker (who co-starred with Tennant on Broadchurch) will appear on a future episode of David Tennant Does a Podcast with… It will become available on February 11, so mark your calendars!

Kayti Burt is a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.