We are less than two weeks away from the debut of the new TARDIS team. When Doctor Who returns, it will look a bit different. Jodie Whittaker will take on the role of the Doctor, and she will have three companions. One of those companions is veteran actor Bradley Walsh.
Walsh tells the RadioTimes that it took some coercing to convince him to take the role.
“I remember what the phrase was which helped sell it a while after I found out it was Doctor Who,” he says. “They said: ‘It’s an ensemble piece, Brad. You’re not going to be the Doctor.’ I went, ‘well that’s good because I don’t understand any gobbledegook’. I said, ‘Who is going to be the Doctor then?’ And they went ‘We don’t know yet, we haven’t chosen them.’ I went, ‘Oh, OK, fine. OK, cool.’”
But comparing the new feel of the show to his favorite sci-fi franchise certainly helped.
“A week later – who’s the Doctor? ‘Dunno, we haven’t chosen them yet.’ And that went on and on and on. And I said ‘How can I gauge what I’m going to do with the part?’ And they said ‘You’re gonna be like an older companion. And it’s gonna be a bit like the bridge on the Enterprise. It’s gonna be an ensemble piece. It’s gonna be like…’ And I went ‘I’m in!’ as soon as they said that because I’m a massive Trekkie. I went ‘I’m in, I’m in, that’s it, OK done it’.”
Having the show feel like Star Trek was enough for Walsh to sign on, but the cherry on top was Whittaker getting the Doctor gig.
“I found out [about Jodie] with the rest of the world,” he says. “I got a phone call in the morning – ‘make sure you’re watching the tennis’. I sat watching the tennis. And I’d watched Broadchurch, with Jodie in it, and I think Jodie’s brilliant. And I went ‘Oh my god it’s a girl! It’s female! Fantastic, I love it!’
“And now, the lightbulb… it went ‘Now I get it!’ They were going ‘Oh we’re gonna change it, it’s gonna be this, it’s gonna be different… it’s gonna be seen as groundbreaking. I went ‘I get it, I totally get it.’”
For those that missed it, during a tennis match last summer, this trailer played, revealing the 13th Doctor to the world:
The show has varied in number of companions. It usually is between 1 and 3. The original incarnation of the show in 1963 had 3 companions. Most recently, the 11th Doctor (played by Matt Smith) had 3 companions at times too, if you count River Song.
Star Trek and Doctor Who have more of a history than people think. There was actually a crossover comic a few years back!
How close the show will be to Star Trek remains to be seen. But there is no denying that it will feel different. Just watch the newest trailer. It has a fresh feel to it.
Doctor Who returns on October 7 with a US/UK simulcast.