We Talked To Doctor Who’s New Companions About Their First Season On The Show
In just over a week—if you care to concern yourself with trivial concepts like time—Season 11 of Doctor Who will debut the first female Doctor, lucky number Thirteen, and a trio of new companions. Graham (Bradley Walsh), Yasmin (Mandip Gill), and Ryan (Tosin Cole) will join Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor on her adventures through time and space. The first episode, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth,” drops the Doctor right into their laps—with no memory of who she is or why she’s there.
We talked to the new cast members about their soon to be iconic roles and how they feel about joining a sci-fi TV dynasty.
Can you tell us a bit about the audition process? We’ve heard that Chris Chibnall is notoriously secretive—did you experience that when you were auditioning for your parts?
Tosin Cole: The Audition process was pretty simple for me. I did one with the casting director then I got a recall and did one for Chris Chibnall. I did that read and the next thing you know, like a week or two later, they offered me the gig and here I am today!
Mandip Gill: In terms of secrecy—I don’t know about Tosin or Brad—but when I got the audition, I wasn’t told what it was for, but I knew who the casting director was so obviously I looked up his work. I could only assume that it would be a new show or something he was currently working on. It was always kept a secret what we were doing. And to be honest I asked all winter! While I was doing the process, I didn’t even know what part I was going for or how many episodes.
Bradley Walsh: The thing was, when I was asked to do the job, I didn’t actually audition. Chris Chibnall is an old friend of mine. I did a show called Law & Order with him, which is an American TV show. So Chris Chibnall asked me if I fancied doing the job. And I agreed!
How are you handling the pressure of coming into a show with such a storied history and such high fan expectations?
Walsh: I’d like to answer that first! I’m not. I’m not going in with any expectations because I haven’t seen it. I’m 58 years of age. I stopped watching the show when I was about 10. So I only remember William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, the first two Doctors to ever do the show—and it was in black and white. I haven’t seen the show in basically almost 50 years so I have no expectations at all. I think sometimes you are better off doing that, having not seen anything, so you’re coming to it with fresh eyes as an actor and you’re basically being told, in collaboration with the other actors and the director and the producers, what to do and how to do it. And that’s what I like—it’s been a very organic and very collaborative process between us all.
Gill: I think it’s a bit risky to put that pressure on yourself and to think about what will happen after. Like Brad said, we had an amazing team who we completely trusted to do the right thing, and so we just had to go along with it, hoping that it works out well, but yeah, not to put that pressure on yourself because what will happen will happen. We’ve done our work.
Cole: I’m just going with the flow. Wherever the flow takes me I shall go.
The flow brings Doctor Who back on Sunday, October 7. Don’t miss it.