Why The New Doctor Who Companions Are a Mixed Bag

On Sunday night, Doctor Who released the identities of who will join the TARDIS crew for Jodie Whittaker’s first series as the nation’s favourite time-traveller.

Rumours initially linked actor and presenter Bradley Walsh to the role of the companion and these were proven correct as he will be playing a character called Graham. The remaining companions are both alumni of Hollyoaks, with Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole taking on the roles of Yasmin and Ryan.

When I first saw the news, I saw huge potential in the line-up, but I also immediately saw a couple of glaring problems that I hope the show doesn’t fall into.

First – The Positives

When I saw the news, my eyes were drawn directly to Mandip Gill, who played Pheobe McQueen on Hollyoaks when I was watching the show. I always thought that she did well with the material she was given but was underused and subsequently was killed off in a terrible storyline (as is often the case with that soap opera in the past few years). I have high hopes for her character in the show.

Tosin Cole was also in Hollyoaks but I don’t recall his character doing much apart from getting killed when a minibus exploded. I hope that he can show his true acting chops in a show like this. It is good that the show is continuing to pick relatively unknown young actors to star in Doctor Who as there is a lot of sparkling talent in the acting business that sadly is underused.

I am also mostly positive about Chris Chibnall’s decision to include more than one character that enters the TARDIS. There are only so many storylines the show’s producers can do with one companion and three gives a chance to go for different angles. I just hope that Gill and Cole’s characters aren’t in a relationship; I’m done with romantic drama in the TARDIS (no more time babies please).

But – The Elephants in the Room

People reading this will notice that I have omitted to discuss one of the chosen companions. I have nothing against Bradley Walsh at all. I think he is brilliant on The Chase and was pretty good on Law & Order: UK. The main issue I have is that by having an older companion, there is almost a sense that he is going to undermine the power the Doctor has in a scene, especially given that this is Jodie Whittaker’s first series. He is a good actor for the show but in a companion role? I reserve further judgement until more details on his character are released but I’m a bit nervous for now.

My second qualm is with the decision to give the new Doctor three companions. This may sound like I am being hypocritical given how I praised the opportunities for storylines but this comes at a cost. People will be quick to point out that a few of the classic Doctors had three people in the TARDIS at once, the Fifth Doctor in particular. However, I have seen a lot of those episodes and the likes of Nyssa and Adric are pushed to the background. Given that there will only be ten episodes of fifty minutes in the upcoming series and the writers will simultaneously be trying to flesh out the new Doctor, I worry that at least one companion won’t be as developed.
So what do you think about the new companions for Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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