It turns out having a female Doctor won’t be the only huge departure from the tried-and-true formula new ‘Doctor Who’ showrunner Chris Chibnal (taking over for Steven Moffat) will be making. Since the series was revived in 2005, the Companions have usually been depicted by attractive, younger females like Pearl Mackie, Jenna Coleman, Freema Agyeman and Billie Piper. At times (though not always), part of the allure was the romantic tension that brewed just beneath the surface between certain Companions and Doctors, particularly when David Tennant and Matt Smith occupied the latter role. But now with the first female Doctor, Jodie Whittaker boarding the TARDIS, fans have wondered what type of Companion she would have, with the most obvious option being a younger attractive male. Well, the part has been cast and… he is male at least.
The Mirror is reporting that 57-year-old Bradley Walsh has reportedly been cast as Whittaker’s Companion. Whittaker is 35, making Walsh old enough to play her father. This is sort of a flip-flop from the dynamic between departing 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi and Clara Oswald (Coleman) and Bill Potts (Mackie), wherein The Doctor acted as a mentor and guide to the Companion, who served as more of a pupil or assistant. Of course, that will most likely still hold true, but having a younger woman mentoring a man more than 20 years her senior is a unique concept, which should be interesting to see explored. (Okay, yes, I know The Doctor is actually hundreds of years old, I just meant visually.)
As for Walsh, he may not be familiar to American audiences, but in the UK, he has had a lengthy career as a footballer (soccer player), actor and television host. In his native country, this casting has caused quite an uproar, as he isn’t regarded so much for being an actor as a TV host for reality competition ‘The Chase’ and game show ‘Cash Trapped’ as well as other game, variety and awards shows and for being a former athlete (in other words, he can’t act).
But he was nominated for several awards for his role as Danny Baldwin on the long-running soap opera ‘Coronation Street’ and has won twice. However, it was his role as Ronnie Brooks on ‘Law & Order: UK’ that probably landed him this gig, as Chris Chibnal served as head writer for that series.
A Jack-of-all-trades, he also released an album last year which was the best selling debut from a new artist in the UK, beating out the first solo release by former One Direction member Zayne Malik.
According to a source:
“Bradley is super excited to be joining the cast of Doctor Who in such a key role.”
BBC has yet to officially confirm this casting and production of the new series has not yet begun. ‘Doctor Who’ is not expected to return until autumn of 2018.
What do you think of this development? A younger female Doctor and an older male Companion? How do you think that will work out?