Doctor Who series 11: showrunner explains the number of companions

When Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor debuts in the autumn she will be joined by three brand new companions, Graham, Yaz and Ryan, making the first female Doctor’s TARDIS the busiest since the classic era. Showrunner Chris Chibnall has now shed light on why Whittaker has so many companions.

“I love Doctor Who as a big, popular, mainstream, accessible show,” Chibnall told Digital Spy. “So I wanted to make sure that every member of the audience felt they had a relatable character, an access point. Hopefully it means that the show can resonate with the broadest possible audience.”

“And of course, three companions with the Doctor… we’re really going back to 1963 – that’s the format of the show! You’re not changing the format, that’s how it started, really – which I only realised afterwards.”

Chibnall dislikes the term “companions” and describes Yaz, Ryan and Graham as the Doctor’s new friends. He says calling them friends is “a bit more natural” but “is in no way a rule or edict from now on”.

We also got a smattering of details about the Doctor’s new friends. Mandip Gill’s Yaz is 19 and “in absolute awe of the Doctor” while Tosin Cole’s Ryan, also 19, is someone who “challenges the Doctor from time to time, gets it right sometimes, but wrong a lot of the time”. Bradley Walsh’s Graham is “the oldest of the bunch, so we’ve got different generations, different genders.”

“People have an ‘in’, in three different ways,” Gill adds. “We all bring something different to the group, with gender, race, everything. And just the personalities of the three characters are very different.

“They each have a very individual voice, where I think certain people will be able to instantly relate to Bradley Walsh’s character, instantly relate to Tosin’s… and hopefully just love us all!”

The trailer for series 11 of Doctor Who recently landed and we expect the series to debut on our screens in the autumn. We’ll bring you more Doctor Who news as we hear it.