Former Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston has some opinions about diversity in Hollywood. Per Deadline, it’s the actor’s belief that right now not enough white, middle-class, male, straight actors are not being given the same opportunities they once had. Which, for anyone who doesn’t fall into one of those categories, is frankly laughable. For years and years, and still today, the stars taking center stage are predominantly white, and – although this may come as a shock to Eccleston – many women become cast as the mother type before men of the same age move out of the young man stage.
But, Eccleston’s right about one thing – the entertainment industry is beginning to see a shift. According to a research report done by the UCLA College of Social Sciences, since 2018, films with a diverse cast have sold more tickets than those without. And that makes sense. People like to see themselves on screen so whether that means more people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, or women, those groups are more likely to hit up a movie theater or begin streaming a series if they see a part of themselves in it. You could even take Doctor Who for example.
Back in 2017, it was announced that after the incredibly long wait of five decades, the world would be getting its first female time lord. Jodie Whittaker took over the role as the 13th Doctor in the series to much critical acclaim. While other women held down strong supporting roles in Doctor Who during the years prior, fans of all backgrounds loved seeing a strong female-led show with Whittaker at the forefront.
Whittaker’s takeover of Doctor Who was such a success that, according to Refinery 29, her premiere episode brought it a whopping 9 million views which means that somewhere around 40% of people in the U.K. were watching Whittaker’s Doctor time hop all over the place. The Doctor prior to Whittaker brought in over 2 million fewer views, drawing in only 6.8 million viewers to the show’s premiere. And before that? The numbers never broke the 8 million mark, with most landing somewhere between 7-8 million views.
To be fair, Eccleston raked in the most views at 9.9 million, but part of this was certainly due to the fact that he was the first Doctor brought back when the series earned its reboot in 2005. The fact is, people were ready for a change when Whittaker came along. They wanted more representation and a fresher take on the entire world surrounding Doctor Who as a whole. And with Whittaker’s reign as the time lord coming to an end, hopefully the series will continue full steam ahead by continuing to put inclusive and diverse actors at the forefront of their series.
As for Eccleston, who admits that he’s “lived off the fat of the land for 30 years,” it’s hard to feel sympathy. Sure, everyone needs a job and times are tougher than ever out there, but at the same time, he’s had an illustrious, well-paying career even beyond the realm of Doctor Who. While he and the other white, straight, “middle-class,” actors wait in the bread lines to get their next part, we’re excited to see new stories told on screen. After all, there’s space for everyone on the boat and still plenty of roles out there for actors who have the talent, determination, and willpower.