*British actress Freeman Agyeman is best known as the first Black “Doctor Who” companion, and she is speaking out about the racist abuse she received over the role.
Agyeman played Martha Jones in the BBC sci-fi series opposite David Tennant’s Doctor, and she would go on to reprise the role after joining the spinoff series “Torchwood”.
Speaking at Ofcom’s Diversity in Broadcasting event as part of National Inclusion Week, the “New Amsterdam” star said she “didn’t anticipate” the racist response to her casting.
“It is a game changer. My life changed completely overnight,” she said of landing the role. “You go from obscurity to people knowing who you are, in a good way.
“And then we aired and I didn’t even mind that there was so much on the fact that I was the first black companion because I was. It never bothered me at all. It was something I was, and still am, so proud of.”
Agyeman continued: “What I didn’t anticipate – and maybe I was naive – was the racism from certain sectors of the fanbase.
“There was criticism leveled towards my contribution for other reasons, which I could handle. I could rationalize those away. I’m an artist, no one’s going to like your work all the time, people are entitled to their opinions, it’s all subjective. But the racism… yeah, I couldn’t rationalize that.”
In related news, the first woman to rock the “Doctor Who” title is exiting the popular British series after three seasons.
Jodie Whittaker will end her run in 2022. Showrunner Chris Chibnall will also depart the beloved sci-fi series after the new season airs.
“The Thirteenth Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, and Showrunner Chris Chibnall will be moving on from the most famous police box on Earth — and the universe,” announced the BBC on its Twitter press account.
Whittaker’s last season is slated to premiere at the end of 2021. She’ll also appear in several specials before the Doctor regenerates into a new form next year.
“My heart is so full of love for this show, for the team who make it, for the fans who watch it and for what it has brought to my life,” Whittaker told the BBC. “And I cannot thank Chris enough for entrusting me with his incredible stories.”
She added, “I will carry the Doctor and the lessons I’ve learnt forever.”
The BBC has yet to confirm who will take over the role after Whittaker.
Watch the trailer for the new season below.