Peter Capaldi recently let the cat out of the bag while on a press tour of Mexico. When asked about the recent casting of the new Doctor Who companion, he said:
“I think the companion has to be someone who’s not so impressed by the Doctor – she’s not an assistant, she’s not a servant, she can’t be that – she has to be someone who really says ‘are you sure that’s the right thing to do? What are you doing?’ and also doesn’t take him seriously.”
So, she’s a she, then? Another female companion.
Some people are complaining that this means the dynamic inside the TARDIS – a male doctor, and a female companion – will remain unchanged; but did we really expect anything else? After all, four months ago Capaldi himself argued against the concept of a male companion replacing fan-favorite Clara:
With the best will in the world, I don’t want a bloke, because I’m frightened that they’ll give him all the action and I’ll be standing around spouting scientific gobbledygook… ‘Oh, Peter’s not up to chasing those Zygons down the corridors, let the chap do it.’ And that would be awful. I want to chase the Zygons!
It’s also worth noting that without a female companion, Doctor Who would be a major sausage-fest of a show. Given how frequently people complain about the lack of female characters and diversity in popular shows, it would be kind of ironic to ‘correct’ the sexism of a female companion by writing women out of the core cast altogether!
Who will replace Clara Oswold?
Capaldi’s other clues suggest that this new companion will be a lot more outspoken than Clara and even Amy – who were both headstrong, but generally didn’t challenge the Doctor. I imagine this might mean she’s a little older – more in the mold of Catherine Tate, who was a fantastic foil to David Tennant in the role of Donna Noble.
Hell, maybe – hoping beyond hope – it will be Donna Noble. One of the tragedies of David Tennant’s last season was that the amazing character of Donna Noble was basically lobotomized to prevent her head exploding. After a fantastic arc of character development, she was reverted back to the role of a gormless chav; and it was absolutely heartbreaking.
If I had a star to wish on, it would be that Capaldi’s Doctor somehow manages to ‘fix’ her head-explody problem and let her rejoin him in the TARDIS. Donna Noble deserves that – and I think the interplay between her and Capaldi would be electric.
Sadly, though, that’s an unlikely bet – but at least with this news, we can look forward to somebody who’s more than just a pretty face; and willing to stand up to The Doctor.