Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole will join the Tardis team for the Doctor’s new incarnation in Series 11 of Doctor Who. Just who are these new companions and how easily will viewers be able to relate to them?
The Doctor does tend to attract the people who need the Doctor most. To understand why these companions will be travelling along with the legendary Time Lord we first need to understand why they need the Doctor in the first place.
Chris Chibnall, Doctor Who‘s new show runner for Series 11, has discussed briefly actor Tosin Cole’s new companion character ( Ryan Sinclair). Chibnall has stated Ryan has something special about him that he hopes will help some viewers feel less like outsiders. It has recently been discovered after the preview for The Woman Who Fell to Earth that this special element is the character’s struggle with Dyspraxia, also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD).
Dyspraxia is a condition affecting physical coordination that manifests during childhood and for the majority of those affected by this condition there is no known cause. Recent research has suggested there may be a link between this condition and an immaturity of neuron development within the brain. Though those affected with this condition appear to have no clinical neurological abnormalities, according to the Dyspraxia Foundation.
“We did a lot of research into that, we worked with the Dyspraxia Foundation… it was important, because people live with these things. [. . .] It’s a relatively common thing among kids, so I think it’s important to see that heroes come in all shapes and sizes. That’s the most important thing about Doctor Who and you will see that [idea] happen a lot across this year.” — Chris Chibnall
Tosin Cole embraces his character’s look on life, suggesting, “it’s important to let people know that anything’s possible. You can overcome anything by just cracking on.”
Yasmin Khan, played by actress Mandip Gill brings her own unique dilemmas to the table. This Sheffield girl enjoys her job but can’t help but long for more. The character craves a bit of challenge and adventure in her life. “Then she gets a phone call through, which is more of a challenge when she meets the Doctor”, Gill explains.
“I’ll say what I think Yas brings to the TARDIS, and that is just a level of enthusiasm and someone who is up for a new challenge. She’s initially a little bit like ‘is the Doctor real, is this all real?’. These are all ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, so you can only imagine she questions everything that goes on, but by the end of it she’s really in awe of the Doctor. And I think she’s somebody, for the Doctor, she can give a challenge to, she can give a task to and she’s completely capable of doing that, asks the necessary questions but then is completely up for it.” — Mandip Gill
Gill explains that it is important for young people to see a true reflection of themselves in the media. By seeing characters who are able to represent who they are on some level, whether it be race, religion, sexuality or something else, Gill believes fans will be able to better relate to the characters in these shows. “So if you’re creating an art, should you not create something that’s going on that people can relate to and talk about?”, asks Gill.
The Tardis is going to be a bit crowded this year with the Doctor taking on three new companions. Gill suggests that the team is a bit like a “dysfunctional family”.
“We all bring different dynamics to the group, and I think for new audiences and old audiences, they’ve got [a] way in with so many different companions and the Doctor, there are so many points of relation that they can jump into. We’ve got the older one, we’ve got Tosin’s character who’s much younger and he’s male. We’ve all got different personalities that happen to complement each other, but also challenge each other.” — Mandip Gill
“We don’t all agree with the Doctor”, Gill explains. The actress explains that the new Tardis team really is like a family. Though she also suggests that despite this, the screen never seems too full. Each character appears to have their own story and they aren’t always attached at the hip in every scene.
The new series includes ten separate stand alone episodes. Each episode has its own individual story arc. This will make it easier for fans, particularly new fans, to enjoy each episode without fear of missing out on some key element if they missed a past episode. Chibnall has taken great care to make this new series readily accessible for fans who have no previous Doctor Who knowledge.
“I just think it’s a great British show where if you’ve never seen a thing like this before, you just want to see something that’s filmed amazingly and the acting is brilliant. There are some well known faces in it, we’ve got amazing guest actors and stuff like that. It’s just bold, it’s brave. Watch a few episodes and give it a try, because there’s so much heart and truth in each episode. The British love a drama, and this is full of drama and full of monsters. Just give it a try and you will literally be shocked.” — Mandip Gill
Series 11 of Doctor Who premieres Sunday, 7 October on BBC One and BBC America or 8 October on Showmax.