Doctor Who Series 11: most compelling performances

Jodie Whittaker

Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor in a still from the Resolution trailer, BBC

From the moment she literally crashed onto the scene in The Woman Who Fell to Earth, Jodie Whittaker hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped. Whittaker’s thirteenth Doctor embodies all the energy, cleverness and heroism of the Doctor. I’d like to see her face more challenging villains and monsters but there’s no doubt ‒ she’s the Doctor.

Bradley Walsh

Bradley Walsh as Graham, It Takes You Away, BBC America

Bradley Walsh is by far the standout companion actor in Series 11. Who could forget Graham’s poignant expressions of grief? Graham also proved to be wise when he advised other characters. Walsh also deftly delivered some of the funniest lines in the series.

Sharon D Clarke

Sharon D Clarke as Grace, It Takes You Away, BBC

We all know a superb actor when we see one. Sharon D Clarke made Grace real frome her very first scene. She was able to breathe life into Grace in a way that let us know who she was almost immediately.

Susan Lynch, The Ghost Monument

Susan Lynch as Angstrom, The Ghost Monument, BBC

Angstrom is a very different character from Anna in Killing Eve. I didn’t recognise her as the same actress at first. Susan Lynch played Angstrom’s grit, determination and, ultimately, empathy in a way that you couldn’t help but root for Angstrom to win the Twelve Galaxies Space Rally.

Vinette Robinson, Rosa

Vinette Robinson as Rosa Parks in Rosa, BBC

Vinette Robinson’s performance was the highlight of what I felt was an episode with a weak narrative and a pathetic 79th century villain. I don’t think this episode would have become a fan favorite if weren’t for Robinson’s masterful performance as Rosa Parks.

Trevor White, Rosa

Trevor White as James Blake in Rosa, BBC

Trevor White managed to play a notorious antagonist without making James Blake a two-dimensional caricature. Blake stands out as the true threat in Rosa, with Krasko being an easily-thwarted interloper.

Jack Shalloo, The Tsuranga Conundrum

Jack Shalloo as Yoss Inkle, The Tsuranga Conundrum, BBC

Jack Shalloo gave a moving, life-affirming performance as a young man who becomes a father by giving birth.

David Shields, The Tsuranga Conundrum

David Shields as Ronan, The Tsuranga Conundrum, BBC America

David Shields gave an unforgettable performance as the devoted android Ronan. Shields portrayed Ronan’s calm, ethereal manner pitch-perfect.

Leena Dhingra, Demons of the Punjab

Leena Dhingra as Nani Umbreen, Demons of the Punjab, BBC

Yaz’s sassy Nani Umbreen was played by the delightful Leena Dhingra. Her performance, though brief, was engrossing.

Ellie Wallwork, It Takes You Away

Ellie Wallwork as Hanne in It Takes You Away, BCC

A month before principal photography for Series 11, Andy Pryor, the casting director for Doctor Who, put out a call for a blind actress to play a teenage girl in a then-unnamed BBC drama. His call cast a wide net as it didn’t require prior acting experience. Ellie Wallwork, a talented actress who did have prior experience, answered the call and won the role. She gave a masterful performance as Hanne, an imperiled yet determined, intuitive and resourceful girl younger than Wallwork’s actual age.

Daniel Adegboyega, Resolution

Daniel Adegboyega as Aaron, Resolution, BBC

Daniel Adegboyega had the difficult task of making a character who had made so many poor decisions that hurt others sympathetic. He effectively conveyed something to which we can all relate without appearing insincere. Aaron’s prior absences were due to shame because he wrongly believed that his past mistakes were irredeemable and unforgivable.