The Crowded TARDIS Again

thirteen doctor tardis team

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

Well, we’ve had the announcement that Jodie Whittaker is the new Doctor in ‘Doctor Who’ back in July 2017. Now we’ve had the announcement of the new TARDIS team. That’s right! Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor will be joined by not one, but THREE companions in the series! You can find more about this in the BBC News link here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-41716877

Wait a minute! This all sounds familiar, doesn’t it? My first reaction to this was: It’s like the Peter Davison era all over again! Even someone on ‘BBC Breakfast’ said the TARDIS will be getting crowded. Like that’s never been done before! Well…it’ll be a first for the new series of ‘Doctor Who’, won’t it?

The new TARDIS team of ‘Doctor Who’ for 2018 will consist of Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor, Bradley Walsh as Graham, Tosin Cole as Ryan and Mandip Gill as Yasmin. The fact that we have a new crowded TARDIS for the 2018 series of ‘Doctor Who’ is pretty exciting and something I am okay with.

As I indicated, this is an ensemble set-up that has been done before. The previous TARDIS team of one Doctor and three companions was in the Peter Davison era when his Doctor was joined by Janet Fielding as Tegan; Sarah Sutton as Nyssa and Matthew Waterhouse as Adric (and still my favourites!)

But it goes even before Peter Davison’s era in 1982. In fact, it happened right at the start with William Hartnell’s Doctor in 1963 when he was joined by William Russell as Ian Chesterton, Jacqueline Hill as Barbara Wright and Carole Ann Ford as Susan for ‘Doctor Who’s first season on TV.

And of course it happened with Patrick Troughton’s Doctor when he had a full complement of TARDIS companions for his first year in the TV series in 1966/67. This included Anneke Wills as Polly, Michael Craze as Ben and Frazer Hines as Jamie. So there! It’s all been done before in ‘Doctor Who’.

I’ve talked about my thoughts and feelings about ‘The Crowded TARDIS’ in ‘Doctor Who’ through the Peter Davison era when it was Season 19 with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric. I’ve shared what I thought was positive about that TARDIS set-up as well as negative after I enjoyed Season 19.

The fact that we have a crowded TARDIS for this era of ‘Doctor Who’ is another brave move by new showrunner Chris Chibnall when he’s setting up a new season now consisting of 10 episodes of 50 minutes as well as a 60 minute special to begin with. And it also seems to make a lot of sense to me.

Jodie Whittaker’s announcement as the new Doctor has divided fan opinion. Some like it; some don’t. These opinions I appreciate and sympathise with. So to have three companions added into the mix with Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor is supposed to ease the tension for fans that watch the TV series.

I’m sure many ‘Doctor Who’ fans back in 1982 were uneasy about Peter Davison, who was a young man as opposed to an older man, playing the Fifth Doctor for Season 19. Hence it proves the theory that producer John Nathan-Turner added three companions with Peter’s Doctor to ease the tension.

Any ‘Doctor Who’ fans that are uncomfortable with a new female Doctor in the series are likely to engage with a company of one older male companion and two younger companions before they get engaged with a female Doctor. This is all just a theory on my part but it sounds plausible, doesn’t it?

Don’t get me wrong. A crowded TARDIS in ‘Doctor Who’ isn’t without problems. Even Sarah Sutton stated it in ‘The Crowded TARDIS’ documentary on the ‘Castrovalva’ DVD. In the Peter Davison era, Sarah stated that by having four companions in four-episode stories is not going to be very achievable.

In all likelihoods, you’re going to split the TARDIS team up by having the Doctor joined by one companion whilst the other two companions have an adventure on their own. Now this would be easier to enjoy and engage with if the ‘Doctor Who’ stories were long as in the William Hartnell era.

But this is a new series of ‘Doctor Who’ where you’re telling stories in either one-hour stories or two-part one-hour stories. Telling fast-paced stories as they are now with a crowded TARDIS of one Doctor and three companions is going to be more challenging than one Doctor with one companion.

This is all speculation on my part and if Chris Chibnall can deliver compelling adventures with this new TARDIS team for us to enjoy, I’ll be happy to be proven wrong that a crowded TARDIS in the new series ‘Doctor Who’ could work. But it’s hard to deny this approach isn’t without problems.

Saying that, I’m looking forward to seeing Jodie Whittaker’s new TARDIS team for ‘Doctor Who’ especially with whom they’ve cast. It was speculated that Bradley Walsh will be a new companion in ‘Doctor Who’ with Jodie. All those who had speculated were right, except without the two additions.

I’ve seen Bradley Walsh before since he was the host of the ITV game show, ‘The Chase’, which I loved watching when it was on TV and when my Nana was still alive. But does that mean Bradley Walsh can be a good actor as well as a good presenter. Well yes, since I’ve seen him in acting before.

Before he was a game show host, Bradley Walsh starred in ‘Coronation Street’. And I know that because I’ve seen him in episodes of that soap opera. He’s also starred alongside Peter Davison and Freema Agyeman in the ITV series, ‘Law & Order: UK’ at some point during his career. And let’s not forget that he guest starred as Odd Bob in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ tale, ‘The Day of the Clown’.

So yeah, the fact that Bradley Walsh is an actor as well as a game show presenter proves that he can be a reassuring presence in ‘Doctor Who’ with Jodie Whittaker. Would he make a good companion though? Well that’s yet to be determined, since I haven’t seen him star as Graham in the series yet.

But the idea of having an older male companion with a younger female Doctor is interesting. It’s a switch from having Evelyn Smythe as an older female companion to Colin Baker’s Doctor in Big Finish. Will it make interesting drama to see Bradley Walsh with Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor? I think so!

And it would also be remiss of me to mention that Bradley Walsh is a ‘Doctor Who’ fan himself. So to have someone who has an interest in the TV series as well act in it is a reassuring thing. I’m pleased Bradley Walsh is a ‘Doctor Who’ fan. I look forward to how he delivers his performances in the show.

I can’t really say much for the other two companions in Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill, as I don’t really know much about them. They’re obviously new talent and if Chris Chibnall has confidence in their acting to play companions in ‘Doctor Who’, then I’m happy to go with it while I watch the new series.

By the way, Tosin Cole has been in ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Force Awakens’ if anyone’s interested. The fact that Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor has two young companions as well as one older male companion helps to reassure the target audience in kids who want to see young talent in this.

So all in all, I’m looking forward to this new TARDIS team in Series 11 of ‘Doctor Who’ with Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill. It won’t be like Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding and Matthew Waterhouse, but I’m pleased Chris Chibnall has gone with this approach.

I only hope that the storytelling will be as good as the acting in the new TV series under Chris Chibnall, since I feel the Steven Moffat has been such a mix bag these past seven years. This is my current opinion on the subject for now, but the way things are I can’t help but be optimistic about it.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

6 thoughts on “The Crowded TARDIS Again

  1. Timelord 007

    Sorry Tim i just can’t share your optimism mate, I’m against all what Chibnall doing here, i don’t think a female Doctor right for the show & having three companions is overcrowding & surely will take away from Jodies debut, maybe Chibnall & Jodie will prove me wrong but i can honestly say with a heavy heart i doubt I’ll watch the new series.

    Should have kept Bill for another season, Pearl Mackie was like a breath of fresh air & was a excellent companion.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Sorry to hear you can’t share my optimism about the new era of ‘Doctor Who’. I’d like to give this new era a chance before I can make a judgment on it. Hence why I’m looking forward to watching Series 11 with Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor. You’re more than welcome to check out my reviews when I watch Series 11 next year, then you can see whether my opinions change or not.

      I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this subject anyway about the new crowded TARDIS. Like I said, the crowded TARDIS isn’t without its problems and it’ll be interesting to see how Jodie will cope with having three companions to contend with in her TARDIS like Peter Davison did back in 1982.

      I would like to think you can give this new era a chance by watching the first episode of Series 11 to see whether Jodie Whittaker’s portrayal of the Doctor will change your mind. But it’s up to you in the end.

      Tim. 🙂

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  2. Paul Morris

    Although Hartnell, Troughton and Davison had three companions, the stories of Hartnell and Troughton were longer an allowed each companion to have their own adventure and develop. But, with Troughton, they got rid of Ben and Polly returning to two companions. With Davison, they realised their mistake of three companions by killing Adric.
    It’s not going to work with a crowded TARDIS.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Paul.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

      I won’t deny a crowded TARDIS isn’t going to be perfect and I’m amazed Chris Chibnall has gone with this approach. It’ll be interesting how they do it in the new series, considering the limitations the new series has with shorter one hour stories as opposed to say seven-part or six-part adventures with William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton.

      I wonder if they’ll end up with just Jodie Whittaker and Bradley Walsh in the TARDIS or have one of the companions killed. It’ll be interesting to see, no doubt.

      Tim. 🙂

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  3. DaveR

    Hi Bradley,
    I share your opinions on this matter -well put and even handed. I am sure Chris C has put some thought into this. The series needs to be ‘mainstream’ and yet appeal to older Who fans. This keeps all demographics of the audience on board with someone to identify with, just as we had Ian and Barbara way back alongside the ‘unearthly’ Susan and the Doctor. Back in those early serials, the larger cast enabled a broader perspective of events within the story setting, but with the focus on one of two characters whilst the others had a smaller input in some episodes. Sometimes a character would appear to be sidelined, but in fact it allowed as sense that other things were happening, further causes for dramatic tension, than in one particular scene/train of events featuring the Doctor and his one companion, for example. This is why so many writers sought to separate the Doctor and his companion to allow for better drama, Terry Nation being a good case in point.
    In fact i feel the biggest issue the new series has is the delay between seasons. I found it a tough stretch with the 1985/86 hiatus even with a returning crew whom i was fully on board with as a young fan. As a school teacher with several young fans in my classes, my worry is these prolonged gaps will lose them. A year 7 pupil will for example not get another run of new episodes until year 9.
    Change is better than more of the same dynamics and i look forward with an open mind to see what the new team puts together. If we don’t like it, then there is more than enough in terms of old episodes and Big Finish drama to satisfy the more conservative of fans.
    Lets remember that Chris Chibnall was vocal on his views as to how the show may be improved or of its faults on Open Air way back in the late 1980’s. I am sure he has had a few years to develop his thoughts further as he has gone on to make a name for himself in the industry, and will be all too aware that naysayers will be waiting to see him fail. I find this mean spirited. As JNT said – no one sets out to make Bad Doctor Who. The worst the show can be is predictable and stale – this is when it becomes tired and at risk from termination.
    Regards,
    Dave

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Dave.

      Thanks for sharing your interesting and comprehensive thoughts on this subject. Glad you share my opinions on this matter as well.

      I’m sure Chris Chibnall must have put some thought into this TARDIS set-up unlike John Nathan-Turner did when he set up his companions. Now I’ve never seen ‘Broadchurch’, but I’m wondering if Chris Chibnall is adopting some of the approaches he used in that series to create his new era of ‘Doctor Who’.

      Interesting thoughts you have about the companions’ development during the William Hartnell era, especially with Terry Nation writing for them. I’m surprised that they didn’t have Graham, Ryan and Yasmin feature in the upcoming Christmas episode to help the transition between one Doctor into the next, like say with Tom Baker’s Doctor when he had Tegan, Nyssa and Adric. It’ll be a task to get introduced to four regular characters in the very first episode of Jodie Whittaker’s TARDIS. But I suppose we should be thankful that there’s a one-hour special to begin Series 11.

      I agree with you about your thoughts on the gaps between seasons. I appreciate it’s to allow time for fans to take in and get used to a new Doctor as well as allow the production team to make the new season after the previous era has finished. But it’s such a long wait for ‘Doctor Who’ to return in the autumn of 2018 with Jodie’s debut. At least we’ll have the Big Finish audios to occupy our ‘Doctor Who’ time as well as books, comics and such.

      Yes, it’ll be an interesting change and freshness to the series by having a female lead to play the Doctor. I suppose I’m optimistic about it because I’m hoping that this new change will be something better to what we’ve had with the Steven Moffat era since I personally think that’s been a let-down after the RTD era. I hope something can be salvaged with good storytelling by Chris Chibnall since I enjoyed his stories in the David Tennant and Matt Smith eras. And as you said, we have old episodes and Big Finish audios to enjoy and fall back on if this new approach doesn’t work.

      I haven’t seen that ‘Open Air’ item on ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ DVD in a long while, but I recall that Chris Chibnall was vocal about how the series could be improved upon. And considering he was showrunner on ‘Torchwood’ for its first two seasons and I was engaged with the characters and the writing, I have confidence in how the new show will turn out. I don’t want to be mean-spirited either as I’d like to give both Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker a chance in how their first season turns out next year.

      Thanks again Dave.

      Tim. 🙂

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