Jodie Whittaker's first female Doctor won't be adventuring through all of time and space alone. The BBC announced that several new faces will join the cast of Doctor Who when Season 11 kicks off next year. Bradley Waslh, current host of ITV quiz show The Chase, will play Graham, Toison Cole will play Ryan, and Mandip Gill will play Yasmin.
Their names are pretty much all we know about these new characters at the moment. Are they total strangers? Friends? Do they all come from the same time period? Work in the same job? Are they even all technically human? And, maybe most importantly, are they all going to be in the TARDIS together?
The official BBC annoucement names this trio as the "new regular cast", but doesn't actually say the word "companion". Apparently new showrunner Chris Chibnall is "shaking up who will travel with the Doctor in the TARDIS" next season. Yet, that also doesn't say whether or not these folks will all be traveling with the Doctor at the same time.
It's an important distinction, because Doctor Who hasn't featured a true trio of companions in many years. Sure, there was Rose, Mickey and Jack back in the revival's first season. But Mickey only took part in a couple of advenures, and he and the Ninth Doctor had a pariticularly antagonistic relationship at times. Does that really count as a companion? (I'd say no, but YMMV.) These new folks seem like a much more permanent sort of thing. Or, at least, that's what I'm assuming.
If they are a true trio, it will be the first proper set of three companions since Peter Davison's Fifth Doctor era. (It also seems to deliberately recall William Hartnell's First Doctor, who originally traveled with three companions. Since the First Doctor will appear in Peter Capaldi's final Christmas special - played by David Bradley this time around - that doesn't exactly seem like an accident.)
A group photo of the new Team TARDIS was released via Twitter - and even though none of them are in costume, they still look fantastic together.
The BBC also confirmed a few other Doctor Who-related tidbits during this annoucement. Season 11 will broadcast in the Fall of 2018, officially. The season will be comprised of just ten episodes, which is a bit of a dip from recent seasons. (Capaldi's era ran to 12 episode seasons plus a hoilday installment, while former Doctor Matt Smith had 13-episode runs.)
The season premiere, at least, will be "feature length," while the rest of the episodes will clock in at around the 50-minute mark. That's actually a slight consolation for those of us sad about the reduced episode order - it's a tad bit longer than a traditional Doctor Who episode.
There's no official word on whether we can expect a Christmas installment in 2018, or whether that episode would exist apart from Season 11's ten episode order. Traditionally, the answer to those questions would be yes and yes, but there are a lot of big changes afoot next year, so probably best to wait and see on both counts. Fingers crossed!
Are you looking forward to the dawn of the Chibnall era and all these new faces on Doctor Who? (Or are you still too emotional about Capaldi's impending exit to really process all this Season 11 news yet?) Let's discuss!