New. Doctor Who. Companion. Now, this news is coming from the UK’s Mirror, and it hasn’t yet been confirmed by the BBC, so this is all firmly in Rumor Territory. Whew! Now that that’s out of the way, let’s freak out about it and speculate!
According to the Mirror, unnamed sources say that 57-year-old actor and game show host Bradley Walsh has been cast as the 13th Doctor’s first companion. As we know, Doctor Who recently made history by casting the first female Doctor when showrunner Chris Chibnall cast Jodie Whittaker in the role.
Now, it seems that he’s trying to go even more unexpected by not only casting a male companion for the first time in decades, but having him be much older, basically pulling a Capaldi/Coleman in reverse.
The Doctor has always been “older and wiser” than his companions in the past, and while the Doctors have gotten significantly younger in the current incarnation of the show (David Tennant was around 34 when he took the role, Matt Smith was around 27 when he was cast), the companions have gotten younger still (Billie Piper was 23, Freema Agyeman was 27, Karen Gillan was 23, Jenna Coleman was 26), certainly always younger than the Doctors they traveled with.
So, having an older companion with a “younger” Doctor (let’s remember that the actual character of the Doctor is millennia old, so they’ll always be older than any human companion) certainly changes things up a bit. It’s an interesting choice, for sure.
However, and maybe I’m just having residual feels over seeing Clara and Ashildr fly off in the TARDIS/Diner, but a part of me really hopes that we get another female companion so that we can *gasp* see two women on the screen at the same time! Wanna cast an older companion? Great! Cast an older woman!
We’ve had male Doctor/female companion, and we’ve had male Doctor/male companion. Perhaps having female Doctor/male companion seems like the natural next step? However, the reason why a female Doctor is so important is in large part because women aren’t proportionally represented on television. Having two women traveling in the TARDIS for a while would’ve gone a long way toward pushing against that.
There’s also the matter of the new companion being an older white man. In the twelve years of New Who, we’ve had two full-time female companions of color and one some-time male companion of color in Mickey, neither of the full-time companions lasting beyond one season. So yeah, it might have been nice to have not only a female companion, but a female companion of color. Now, I know we “just had Bill,” but believe it or not, just as you can have two female lead characters on the screen at the same time, you can also have two companions of color in a row.
It’s a whole thing where these people exist more often in real life than we pretend they do on TV shows!
If Walsh has indeed been cast, I’ll obviously watch and hope for the best. Doctor Who is one of my favorite shows, so I don’t want it to fail. However, it’s because it’s one of my favorite shows that I want to continually hold it to a higher standard. The Doctor would do better. The show and its creative team should, too.
(via io9, image: screencap/BBC)
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