Doctor Who does not have such a great track record when it comes to race. A while back, when David Tennant announced he was leaving the show, there were all sorts of ideas about who the next doctor should be. Some of these ideas included black and/or female actors taking over the show. Who got it? Another white man.
The show occasionally has dealt with race, as it did briefly when it had on as companion Martha Jones, played by the lovely Freema Agyeman, who is of Ghanaian and Iranian descent. Agyeman was a wonderful breath of fresh air and did a wonderful job making Martha a smart and captivating character. The show acknowledged her race, and showed characters, even supposed good ones, treating her badly because of it. I personally thought this was a great opportunity for a interracial romance to develop between her and the Doctor, who, despite saying that ethnicity was irrelevant to him, was still played by a white actor. When they instead married her off to Mickey, the one and only major Black British male character who was first romantically involved with a white woman, I was disappointed. The show did not develop a romance, between Martha and Mickey, it simply put them together as an afterthought. I wondered if people were uncomfortable with the idea of a Black British woman involved with a white-looking alien. Or with just a Black British woman.
Which is why I was surprised by the character Liz 10 on this past weekend's episode of Doctor Who. Liz 10 was played by Sophie Okonedo, who is most famous for starring in Hotel Rwanda. Liz 10 is the 10th Queen Elizabeth, and she's clearly black. Of course, she's also being lied to and manipulated by her own government (who are mostly white, natch) and by herself. I am glad that they decided to show a Queen of England of the future as black, instead of white, like every King or Queen of the past. Liz 10 is badass, the kind of character I would love to see as a bigger character on the show, but who I suspect we won't see, because, well, if the past years of this show is any indication, even if she did become a companion, she would eventually be written out of the show and married off to another Black character. Because only Black women can marry Black men; they can't have a romance with some white alien, because he's too busy pining for a white woman who is literally another universe away.