Michael Jackson was first in line to play Doctor Who in a troubled 1980s movie production from Paramount Pictures — and Bill Cosby may have been second choice. That’s the claim being made in a new book by Charles Norton called, Now On The Big Screen: Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who at the Cinema.
The BBC television series Doctor Who is one of the longest-running and most beloved TV shows of all time. It will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its first show on November 23, 2013.
The show’s long life is partly possible because the character of the time-traveling Doctor Who periodically undergoes transformations into a different body. At one point in the late 1980s, the television show was furloughed — causing the producers to consider making a movie to reawaken interest in the series.
However, the history of the attempts to produce a Doctor Who movie is a highway lined with broken dreams.
And maybe some of the bizarre movie concepts described in the book are the reason why the late 1980s-era movie didn’t get made.
The Guardian commented that Michael Jackson would make a better Doctor Who villain like Davros, which is maybe a little harsh but still gives you the flavor of the public reaction.
Apparently, Paramount bosses thought of Jackson because of his huge success in 1988’s Moonwalker.
As for their second choice?
Bill Cosby was at the height of his fame for NBC’s wildly successful The Cosby Show, which ran from 1984-1992. It’s difficult to imagine that he would have found much time for a British-themed science fiction movie, even if Paramount had wanted to meet his price.
Despite the repeated rumors over the years that a Doctor Who pick might be a little different from the usual crop of pale males, there has never been a black or female doctor in the role.
With Matt Smith soon leaving, the renewed speculation for the part of the Doctor has centered on an another unlikely character. In response to the rumors that she would be the next to play the part, Helen Mirren told ITV’s Daybreak:
“I’m not going to be the first female Doctor Who, no, no, no, absolutely not, I absolutely wouldn’t contemplate that…but I do think it’s well over-time to have a female Doctor Who…I think a gay, black female Doctor Who would be the best of all.”
My guess is that we’ll see the resurrected corpse of Michael Jackson himself in the Doctor Who role before we hit that trifecta.