The role of a Doctor Who companion is one of the most sought after on TV. Apart from just being a fun part to play, joining such a beloved institution can act as an unknown actor or actress’ big break. As such, usually each new companion is only cast after a rigorous auditioning process. For example, the story of how Pearl Mackie was cast as Bill Potts was recently revealed in a behind-the-scenes featurette.
It’s a bit surprising, then, that one of Jodie Whittaker AKA the Thirteenth Doctor’s new companions didn’t even have to audition. Bradley Walsh, a popular figure on British TV thanks to his long career as a comedian and game show host, was the only person showrunner Chris Chibnall considered for the role of Graham, one of three characters hopping aboard the TARDIS for season 11.
Speaking on the BBC’s The One Show, Walsh was questioned about the process of joining Doctor Who and briefly talked about the stress-free way it came about. When asked if he had to audition, he explained: “No, Chris Chibnall[…] asked me if I fancied being in the show, so we went down to meet [at the first script reading].”
Ever since Walsh was first rumoured to be signing on to the show, some fans have been worried that the star isn’t the best fit for the companion role. After all, at 57, he’s the oldest companion to date. However, it’s worth remembering that Chibnall and Walsh previously worked together on Law & Order: UK, in which Walsh proved that he could be a serious performer, too. So the showrunner clearly knows what he’s doing and trusts Walsh to make a great companion. Enough, it seems, to not even audition anyone else.
Whittaker and Walsh will be joined in the TARDIS by Tosin Cole as Ryan and Mandip Gill as Yasmin, and the foursome will start their travels through the fourth dimension when Doctor Who season 11 kicks off next autumn.