Anytime a Doctor is about to leave the TARDIS and people start speculating about the next incarnation of the United Kingdom’s favorite time-traveler, the BBC turns into MI-6—trying to keep any possible clues or secrets of what future seasons of Doctor Who might hold out of the public’s consciousness. So while a lot of times you know actors are lying when they say they aren’t sure what’s in store for their characters, it’s really easy to believe the actors playing the 13th Doctor’s current companions when they say they have no idea—but they’re also open to the idea.
Mandip Gill, who plays the Doctor’s longtime companion Yaz, and John Bishop, who joins season 13 as the new companion Dan Lewis, both seemed to have mixed feelings about the possibility that they would outlive Jodie Whittaker’s tenure as the Doctor. In an interview with Radio Times, Bishop said, “In some ways, this [season 13] was so good I wouldn’t want to risk trying to do it again. I just feel so lucky to have had that time with those people. But also, if someone phones and says Dan Lewis has got a place with the new Doctor, you think… it’s a conversation to be had, isn’t it?”
“When I started, I didn’t realise how significant it was taking over from other people, but now it’s happening to me,” Gill told Radio Times. “You’re not part of it, in that you don’t know what’s happening. Who are the companions? What are they going to do?” Whether that’s a fun way to dance around her staying or not, Gil said “never say never,” but that she considers Who is going to be in “safe hands” with returning showrunner Russell T. Davies, “For me, it’s so exciting and a relief.”
So they might. Now the question is, should they? Personally, I’ve always liked when the Doctor’s companions stuck around because it adds a layer of narrative continuity beyond the premise. When Doctors only stick around for a few seasons before getting regenerated into a new British actor with a very different personality and shtick, I think it’s incredibly effective to have characters who still have enough connection with their “new” Time Lord friend to ground the transformation emotionally. Certainly, keeping Clara (Jenna Coleman) on when the Twelfth Doctor arrived helped ease viewers into the major tonal shift between the portrayals of Peter Capaldi and Matt Smith.
So, yeah, Yaz! Stick around a little! If you want! As for Dan, I’ll reserve my judgment until after we finally meet him on October 31, when the six-part Doctor Who: Flux premieres on BBC America.
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