The Doctor has a new companion. After almost 60 years of Doctor Who and what feels like a legion of crewmates boarding the TARDIS to travel all of time and space, the arrival of a new one is still massive news. This year, it’s even more significant than usual as the show heads into an exciting new era, doling out surprise announcements as it goes.
Ncuti Gatwa’s casting as the Fifteenth Doctor set fandom alight in May 2022. Since then, we’ve been introduced to a shiny, retro new logo, learned the BBC’s entered a co-production deal with Disney-Plus, and seen a David Tenant-shaped blip materialize on screen before we get to meet Gatwa’s Doctor.
There’s still plenty of room for speculation with a year until the show returns, backed by what’s likely to be its highest budget. That’s 12 months for fans to imagine what the Fifteenth Doctor’s time aboard the TARDIS will be like as the dust settles on a series of specials in November 2023 to mark the show’s diamond anniversary.
With the next Doctor cast, one outstanding piece of the temporal puzzle was the identity of the Doctor’s companion. The Doctor can’t travel about alone — who would they talk to?
During the annual BBC fundraiser Children in Need, it was revealed that Gatwa’s Doctor would have, at least, to begin with, one female companion. Millie Gibson was announced as the Fifteenth Doctor’s new companion. Her initiation involved walking from the TARDIS on live TV, ending months of speculation about the trusty assistant’s identity. Gibson announced she will join the show over the festive season of 2023 as Ruby Sunday.
Where have you seen Millie Gibson before?
Hailing from Greater Manchester, England, scouts recognized Gibson’s talent when the young actor attended drama classes at Oldham Theatre Workshop. Before long, she was on the BBC children’s TV show, Jamie Johnson, with roles in BBC’s Love, Lies and Records, and ITV’s Butterfly following.
Audiences in the U.K. will best recognize her for playing Kelly Neelan in ITV’s long-running soap Coronation Street. Five guest appearances earned her regular role starting in 2020. In just over two years, her character Keely Neelan contended with a kidnapping, conviction for murder, and the death of her mother, earning the rising star a British Soap Award for Best Young Actor.
That star can’t help but soar even further when she and Gatwa head into the universe. Gibson is an exciting addition to the Whoniverse, bringing an impressive acting pedigree from her young career to build on.
At 18, Gibson’s Ruby is the youngest companion to step aboard the TARDIS for some time. Karen Gillan, now better known as Guardian of the Galaxy‘s Nebula, was 21 when she joined Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor. However, the show’s classic era (before the 2005 refresh) had a fine line in bringing younger companions aboard the ship. The actors playing First Doctor Companion Dodo and Fifth Doctor companions Nyssa and Adric were also 18.
As she’s accompanying one of the youngest actors to play the Doctor, Gibson’s casting is another great sign that the show is heading into a bold new future with some great nods to its legacy.