The guest cast list for the sixth episode of Doctor Who, Series 11, Demons of the Punjab was released:
Shobna Gulati: Najia Khan, Yaz’s mother
Ravin J Ganatra: Hakim Khan, Yaz’s father
Bhavnisha Parmar: Sonya Khan, Yaz’s sister
Leena Dhingra: Nani Umbreen, Yaz’s grandmother
Amita Suman: Umbreen, Yaz’s grandmother 1947
Shane Zaza: Prem
Hamza Jeetooa: Manish
Shaheen Khan: Hasna
Barbara Fadden, Almak, likely a demon
Isobel Middleton: Almak (voice)
Nathalie Curzner: Kisar, likely a demon
Emma Fielding: Kisar (voice)
It reveals that Yaz will be reunited with her family once again after her ordeal with the Pting in the high-tech hospital in The Tsuragna Conundrum. I hope she remembers to pick up the promised bread on the way back to her family’s flat.
A new member of Yaz’s family is introduced, her grandmother (or Nani), Umbreen, a woman who is reluctant to reveal secrets of her past. Current-day Ubreen is played by Leena Dhingra, who played Miss Chandrakala, the family maid, in the The Unicorn and the Wasp.
What does Yaz do when curious about her grandmother’s hidden history? She turns to her friend, the Doctor to take her Graham and Ryan back in time to 1947 Punjab to find out.
Be careful what you wish for. 1947 Punjab is embroiled in Partition, a bloody period of conflict and mass migration in India, when it was divided into two countries, Hindu majority India and Muslim majority Pakistan, after the dissolution of British colonial rule.
Umbreen about to be married on the day that Lord Mountbatten declares Partition.
1947 Umbreen is played by Amita Suman.
If that isn’t enough of a problem, there are also demons haunting the land and two of them appear to be named Almak and Kisar.
Almak and Kisar are physically played by creature actors Barbara Fadden and Nathalie Curzner. The two demons are voiced by Isobel Middleton and Emma Fielding, respectively.
Rounding out the cast list for the Punjabi adventure are Shane Zaza as Prem, Hamza Jeetooa as Manish and Shaheen Khan as Hasna.
Some more scenes from the trailer:
Graham: “We’re in 1947 Pakistan”
Doctor: “Tread softly. You’re treading on your own history.”
Ryan: “Umbreen, she’s your nan, right?”
Hasna: “How can we bring Demons on ourselves?”
Doctor: “I don’t know, But I’ll find out”
Alison Graham of the Radio Times describes Demons of the Punjab as a combination of “Back to the Future and Who Do You Think You Are?”
Graham also describes the episode as, “deeply sombre and tragic” and, “the Doctor and her friends become burdened with a dreadful foreknowledge. There are monsters – demons – who might not be what they seem.”
Demons of the Punjab was written by Vinay Patel and directed by Jamie Childs and airs on Sunday, November 11 at 7:00 p.m. on BBC One and 8:00 p.m. on BBC America.