It was recently announced that Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole will be joining the show as the new companions – Graham, Yasmin and Ryan, respectively – opposite Jodie Whittaker’s 13th Doctor.
Now the excitement has settled and we’ve had time to discuss the news and develop our opinions, here’s our team’s initial reactions to the new companions.
Ben (Assistant Editor)
My very first reaction to the news was pretty much: “Bradley Walsh! Who are the other two? I don’t know. But still… Bradley Walsh!”
As for Mandip and Tosin, I’ve not seen either of them before, so I can’t really comment on their acting chops. I do like not having seen them though, as I’ve got no idea what they’re going to be like.
Anyway, it’s exciting that we’re now at the point where bits of information are being revealed about series 11 and overall I’m quite excited to see how the new companions – Walsh in particular – get on aboard the TARDIS.
(Also, is it just me or does Jodie’s hair look a little reminiscent of the Eleventh Doctor’s trademark quiff in that photo?)
The surprise to me that apparently wasn’t a surprise to many is the inclusion of Bradley Walsh as a Doctor Who companion. I had heard the rumours but thought them to be a joke as I can’t see a guy from an afternoon game show having too much pedigree as a companion! In all honesty I’ve heard a couple of negative things about his previous attempts at acting so let’s hope he is able to prove pre-disposed critics wrong!
All we know about the new companions are that there are three, two males and one female. We know the actors playing the roles but aside from giving us an idea of their level of skill in acting, it does not give us any insight into the companion characters themselves.
Unlike my instantly positive reaction to Jodie Whittaker’s casting, my thoughts on last week’s companion announcement are somewhat more mixed. It’s undoubtedly a smart move from Chris Chibnall to choose a combination of actors capable of appealing to an incredibly broad demographic, and the diversity of casting is to be applauded – as a British woman of Indian origin, I particularly welcome the show’s introduction of someone from a similar background as a regular companion for the first time.
It’s also great to see Doctor Who shake things up by announcing a team of companions rather than the single one we’ve become used to in the modern era. However, whilst I’m pretty sure the TARDIS has room for them all, I do worry that the introduction of several companions at once may split the focus that each character deserves as well as overshadow the Thirteenth Doctor’s debut. I am, as always, prepared to wait and see – and hopefully to be proven wrong!
I must confess to being totally unaware of Tosin Cole before the news, and have only a passing familiarity with Mandip Gill through her work on Cuckoo and Doctors. However, as with Pearl Mackie before them, it’s quite refreshing not to have any preconceptions and I really look forward to seeing what they’ll bring to Doctor Who. Having said that, I’m glad to see those Bradley Walsh rumours confirmed! His public persona as an entertainer and host belies his natural acting ability, and I found his performances in Law and Order UK to be consistently warm, convincing and engaging.
Overall, I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about Doctor Who‘s new TARDIS team and have faith that, if nothing else, Chibnall has chosen a strong ensemble cast to join Whittaker for what is shaping up to be a very intriguing Series 11!
So, that’s what our team thought. If you’d like to share your initial thoughts on the new companions, you can do so in the comments below or send us a tweet on Twitter.