Most of the chatter about Doctor Who season 11 concerns Jodie Whittaker’s first female Doctor, but what about her companions? You’ve probably noticed that she’s set to have three of them, an unusually high amount of friends for the Time Lord to squeeze into the TARDIS. So why was this the direction the production team went in?
Well, Digital Spy spoke to new showrunner Chris Chibnall and he explained that each of the three companions represents a different entry point for the audience, with the hopes that everyone will find someone in the TARDIS to relate to.
“I love Doctor Who as a big, popular, mainstream, accessible show. So I wanted to make sure that every member of the audience felt they had a relatable character, an access point. Hopefully it means that the show can resonate with the broadest possible audience.”
Fans who know their stuff will also be aware that having three companions to hook the audience is actually the oldest trick in Doctor Who‘s book – William Hartnell’s First Doctor travelled with three others back when the show first started.
“And of course, three companions with the Doctor… we’re really going back to 1963 – that’s the format of the show! You’re not changing the format, that’s how it started, really – which I only realised afterwards.”
So, who are these three companions? First we have Yasmin Khan, as played by Mandip Gill, who Chibnall describes as being “in absolute awe of the Doctor.” On the other hand, Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole) “challenges the Doctor from time to time, gets it right sometimes, but wrong a lot of the time.” And finally, rounding out the group is Graham O’Brien, portrayed by Bradley Walsh.
Cole, who also spoke to Digital Spy at SDCC, summed up the electric bunch by saying:
“Ryan’s 19, Yaz is 19, and then you’ve got Graham who’s the oldest of the bunch, so we’ve got different generations, different genders.”
Finally, Mandip Gill added her thoughts on the three companions, explaining that each character has their own “individual voice.”
“People have an ‘in’, in three different ways. We all bring something different to the group, with gender, race, everything. And just the personalities of the three characters are very different. They each have a very individual voice, where I think certain people will be able to instantly relate to Bradley Walsh’s character, instantly relate to Tosin’s… and hopefully just love us all!”
Due to the BBC’s tight hold on spoilers for season 11, we’ve hardly got any information on these characters as of yet, but what Chibnall and the cast have said about them being very different people coming together for adventures in time and space does leave us hopeful that this new Doctor Who TARDIS team will have a pretty unique dynamic that differs from what we’ve seen before.