Monday, October 23, 2017


So, one of the things about Doctor Who that has been annoying me more and more as the years go on:

The lack of south Asian representation.

People from the Indian sub-continent form the largest ethnic minority in the UK at 4.2 percent per the last census (2.3% Indian and 1.9% Pakistani, so this may be a low ball as they seem to have forgotten about Bangladesh). This is compared to 3% African descent (counting Caribbean blacks).

Doctor Who is over sixty years old.

It says something, and not a good thing, that in over sixty years the show has not had a single major character of Indian or Pakistani descent. (And very few bit parts, for that matter).

And it's finally changed.

Meet Mandip Gill

The only thing we know about her character is the first name: Jasmin. Gill herself has only played one significant extended role - Phoebe Jackson in a soap opera called Hollyoaks. Essentially, the only option for Asian British actors is: Be in a soap opera or go to Bollywood. It's been this bad for a long time. I found a clip of her and she's at least as solid as Pearl Mackie.

But finally Desi kids watching Doctor Who will get to see a Companion who looks like them... No pressure, Mandip.

...except, there's more.

Chibnall has apparently decided that he likes the idea of a more crowded TARDIS. It's not like there isn't plenty of space. Gill will be joined by:

Bradley Walsh

He's playing "Graham" - and will be the oldest companion we've seen in a good while (Nardole is older, but doesn't look it). More of an Ian type, maybe? I've not seen this guy act, but I've seen him as...a quiz show host. Which is why I thought the rumor was wrong - he seemed to be busy, but apparently he's been a fan longer than I've been alive. Which is a frighteningly long time.


Tosin Cole as "Ryan"

Lt Bastian in The Force Awakens, btw.

So, Chibnall decided to settle the argument as to whether the new Doctor should have a male companion or a female one...pretty much the way I would have.

The only information about the three new characters we have so far is their first names.

Oh, wait, and there's more, in a major Doctor Who infodump. Sharon D. Clarke will be joining the series in "a returning role."

A returning role? So, not a new character? The obvious (and thus probably wrong) conclusion to jump to is that that might be...the new face of the Master.

The bad news? We won't see them until fall 2018, and the series will be shorter - one 60-minute episode and only nine 50-minute episodes (a net loss of 30 minutes of air time. I suspect the delay and the time cut are related - it's a lot of work taking over something like this and Chibnall might not have got as much put together as he hoped).