When it was first rumoured that TV entertainer Bradley Walsh was in the frame to be a Doctor Who companion, most people’s initial reaction was bemusement. Would the BBC really cast the host of The Chase as the co-lead of one of its biggest franchises? And wouldn’t they prefer to get a more serious actor to join Jodie Whittaker in the Tardis?
But of course, this fear didn’t last long. By the time Walsh’s casting was officially announced (alongside Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill and Sharon D Clarke), many fans had discovered his long and successful acting sideline with roles in the likes of Coronation Street, Law & Order: UK and even Doctor Who spin-off the Sarah Jane Adventures.
And now it’s emerging that Walsh has an even longer association with the series than anyone realised, after a childhood that was fairly focussed on a certain Time Lord.
“I thought as a kid that I was The Doctor’s biggest fan, so my mum and dad bought me a battery-operated Dalek,” Walsh recalled in an interview with the Telegraph. “I must have worn it out, I played with it so much.
Doctor Who stars Mandip Gill, Bradley Walsh, Jodie Whittaker and Tosin Cole (BBC)
“Now here I am, 50 years later, and possibly going to meet them for real and all of a sudden I’m eight years old again. Time travel is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?”
Describing his new galaxy-hopping gig as “the stuff of dreams” Walsh also recounted happy memories of watching William Hartnell’s First Doctor in black and white, as well as queuing outside the Carlton Picture House in Watford to see Peter Cushing’s film version, and he was confident that fans wouldn’t be disappointed in his performance.
“A lot of comics make good actors,” Walsh said. “Actors make bad comics. They can’t do it the other way round.”
So all looks good for Whovians when it comes to Bradley Walsh’s time in the Tardis – but that doesn’t mean he’s turned his back on his other fans, confirming that he intends to keep shooting episodes of ITV quiz hit The Chase despite his new commitments.
“I love it, it’s like going to the fun factory every day,” he said.
With all these commitments, Walsh might need a Tardis trip or two himself to fit everything in.
Doctor Who returns to BBC1 this Christmas