It’s not only the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor, the first woman to play the part, that’ll be different about Doctor Who season 11. As you no doubt know, she’ll also be surrounded by a bunch of companions as opposed to the usual one or two, with the new TARDIS team consisting of Yaz (Mandip Gill), Ryan (Tosin Cole) and Graham (Bradley Walsh).
Of the three, Walsh is the most famous to British audiences as the actor and presenter’s a regular face on UK TV screens. In order to make sure they could secure him for the season, then, showrunner Chris Chibnall contacted Walsh earlier on in the process.
And at this point, the writer was so secretive that he couldn’t even tell the actor which project he wanted him for. He did give Walsh an exciting pitch, though, about how he wanted to change the perception of a certain famous series.
“They said, ‘It’ll be a fantastic journey and will hopefully change the way everyone perceives a certain show’. I had no idea it was Doctor Who, I had no idea!”
A couple of weeks later, Walsh finally learned what job he was up for – a role as a companion in Doctor Who – and he was promised that there would be a major shift in direction for the show.
“They explained to me what the job was and how they wanted to change the direction [of the show].
It was this bold new approach to the sci-fi institution that made it impossible for Walsh to turn the offer down, as Chibnall was so keen to try something new and accept the risks.
“[He said], ‘This journey we’re gonna go on, it will be fantastic. We’ve got a whole new team. We don’t know how it’s going to come out, we’re gonna change it, we’re gonna really give it a new platform. It might miss, it might hit, but it’s gonna be a journey and we’re gonna change it’.”
All this meant that Bradley Walsh was signed up before he knew who the new Doctor would be, or even that she would be a she. The star was “thrilled” when he eventually found out, though, telling Digital Spy:
“I thought it was a stroke of genius actually, I really did. I was just so thrilled.”
Well, Chibnall managed to convince Walsh, so let’s just hope the rest of the world will be equally as impressed when Doctor Who season 11 finally arrives with its premiere episode “The Woman Who Fell To Earth” on Sunday, October 7th.