Thursday 13 December 2018

Bradley Walsh is the oldest actor in Doctor Who history to be cast as companion

Former Coronation Street star Bradley Walsh will be joined at the Time Lord’s side by Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole.

National Television Awards 2017 – Press Room – London
National Television Awards 2017 – Press Room – London

By Ian Jones and Ryan Wilkinson, Press Association Reporters

Bradley Walsh is the oldest actor in the history of Doctor Who to be cast in the role of a regular companion.

Walsh will be 58 when he makes his first appearance in the show in autumn 2018.

Historically, the average age of actors when making their debut as the Doctor’s companion is 28.

Jodie Whittaker and her companions (BBC/Chris Chibnall)

The second oldest actor to play such a role has been Matt Lucas.

He was 43 when he became a regular member of the Doctor Who cast in April 2017.

Walsh and Lucas are the only actors to date who have been over the age of 40 when they have joined the show’s permanent cast as assistants to the Doctor.

Two actors were 39 years old when they made their first proper appearance as a companion: Catherine Tate in 2008 (as Donna) and William Russell in 1963 (as Ian, one of the Doctor’s original assistants).

National Television Awards 2017 – Backstage – London

By contrast, three actors were in their teens when they joined the show: Deborah Watling (who played Victoria) in 1967, Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) in 1980 and Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) in 1981.

Walsh will be joined in the BBC series by Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole, who have also been unveiled as Jodie Whittaker’s co-stars when she becomes the 13th person to take on the role.

The trio will appear as the Doctor’s “companions” Graham, Yasmin and Ryan in the next 10-week series slated for autumn 2018.

Broadchurch and Trust Me star Whittaker will take over in the Tardis from Peter Capaldi when the Time Lord regenerates as a woman for the first time after the Christmas special.

Actor, comedian and quiz show host Walsh was widely tipped to be the Doctor’s new assistant, although further details of his role are yet to emerge.

A fan of the show for 50 years, he told the BBC: “I remember watching William Hartnell as the first Doctor. Black and white made it very scary for a youngster like myself.

“I was petrified, but even though I’d watch most of it from behind the sofa through my fingers, I became a fan…

“Am I thrilled to be part of this whole groundbreaking new dawn for the Doctor? Oh yes!”

Gill, who has appeared in Hollyoaks and Casualty, said she was “over the moon” to be appearing in the hit programme, while Cole, who has had roles in Star Wars and EastEnders, said he was excited to be “jumping in this Doctor Who universe”.

Writer and showrunner Chris Chibnall described them as “three of Britain’s brightest talents”.

Press Association

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