I’ve seen quite a few posts about the Doctor’s new companions recently, and one comment about them stuck out to me. So, today I’d like to discuss it. Let’s talk about Graham.
I’m actually really looking forward to seeing these new companions and their dynamic with the Doctor. I’m particularly interested in seeing if they can avoid it being too much of a crowded TARDIS. Chibnall is a good character writer, but we’ll have to see.
I’m afraid I don’t know much about Tosin Cole so I can’t comment on Ryan, but I like Mandip Gill so Yasmin will hopefully be cool. Those two are also the springboard for my discussion today.
People have complimented the diversity of the cast, and I agree with the compliments! I know enough about the cast to compliment them on their talents, and yes, they’re diverse and it’s awesome.
Comments regarding Graham have been a little different, I’ve noticed. And I stress: What follows is about a particular argument, so I’m not generalising Who‘s audience.
When I was researching the new companions for some content, I came across criticisms of Graham as being undiverse. The least diverse of the cast. And, yes, he is indeed a white middle-aged cis man and it’s not exactly a stretch to call that group a pretty well-represented group overall. (I understate, yes.)
The thing is, though, that this is a new move for New Who. As time went on, the show became increasingly criticised for having young women from London as the companion over and over again. Now, Amy was Scottish and from a small town, and Bill from Bristol, but they still fit firmly into the young women category. And how much of a change is Bristol from London, anyway?
Graham is definitely not a young woman. An older guy is a new type of companion for Who, so definitely an added bit of diversity to the cast within that context. I for one am looking forward to seeing how he does, and how he interacts with the cast. I mean, it’s fair not to like Bradley Walsh (though I do) but criticising him as a lack of diversity almost seems to be looking for something to complain about. Older male companions have always been very short term in New Who until now.
My concern with Walsh is that the change in companion wasn’t motivated by a desire to change up the type of companion, but rather by an unwillingness to have a young woman be the sole companion to the new woman Doctor. Of course, there’s no way to confirm that. We can only wonder.
But hey, what are your thoughts on the new companions? Drop me a comment below! I’d love to hear from you. And remember, you can follow my Twitter to keep up with me.