Rising star Samuel Anderson (The History Boys, Gavin & Stacey, Emmerdale) is set to join the cast of Doctor Who as a recurring character in Series 8, which will also introduce Peter Capaldi as the Doctor.
Anderson will play Danny Pink, a teacher at Coal Hill School where companion Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) also teaches. On joining the show Samuel Anderson said: “I was so excited to join Doctor Who I wanted to jump and click my heels, but I was scared I might not come down before filming started!”
He continued: “It’s a quintessential part of British culture and I can’t believe I’m part of it. It’s an honour to be able to work alongside Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman and I can’t wait to show people how my character becomes involved with such a fantastic duo!”.
Steven Moffat, lead writer and executive producer, added: “For the fourth time in Doctor Who history, Coal Hill School is coming to the aid of the TARDIS. In 1963 teachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright accompanied the First Doctor. These days it’s the turn of Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald. And very soon now, Sam Anderson as Danny Pink will be entering the world of the Doctor. But how and why? Answers are coming later this year in Peter Capaldi’s first series of Doctor Who!”.
My initial excitement at the announcement of a new character who is played by a person of color is immediately dampened by the knowledge that Steven Moffat has most of the responsibility in dictating who that character is and how they will behave. I’ve done my best to keep my feelings about the current showrunner separate from discussions because, they’re mostly irrelevant, but let me state for the record: I do not like Steven Moffat. Anything potentially exciting that is announced while Moffat is still in charge will be met with equal parts apathy and hesitation. So, while I’d love to celebrate the addition of a new character who is not white, I am reluctant to expect anything but disappointment. The one upside is that the new character is male, and thus will likely receive better treatment than Amy, River, or Clara. Danny Pink may be reduced to some of the lazier stereotypes, or — in true Moffat fashion — be a cardboard cutout of a previous companion (Rory). It’s not impossible for him to be a well-written, three-dimensional character with depth and a larger purpose, but it’s unlikely. If the writing for Mickey suffered, and he was handled by a writer who at least attempted to bring racial (and sexual) diversity into his work, Danny Pink will more than likely go far beyond disappointment and land firmly into “hate.” But, I don’t want to make all these assumptions about how this character will be treated and be right. I want to be proven wrong more than anything! So, I’ll hold out that modicum of hope I have left that he’ll be handled with respect.
Meanwhile, I am allowing myself to appreciate that Danny Pink is perfectly attractive, and that I’ll have someone to ogle; because, I’ve been missing that.