Doctor Who cast says there’s “less pressure” heading into series 12

Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole also hint at the "massive" ambition of the new episodes

Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who series 12 (BBC)

The cast of Doctor Who series 12 have suggested they feel “less pressure” ahead of the show’s New Year’s Day launch, now that their version of the show is established.

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Jodie Whittaker (the Doctor), Mandip Gill (Yaz) and Tosin Cole (Ryan) told RadioTimes.com that any early “uproar” over changes to the show has now faded and been replaced with a positive fan reaction.

“Last year was new showrunner, new Doctor, new companions, new time of the show, so everything was just brand new – now that we’ve done that, everyone survived, everyone’s OK, the fans have loved it,” Cole said.

“So there’s still a pressure there, we’ve still got to deliver, we’ve still got to make sure that the quality is still there and that we better it, but it’s less pressure because we know what we’re doing now.”

Gill agreed: “There was a bit of uproar or whatever while we were doing it, but [the fans] proved that they do change with the Doctor – and they stay. So there’s not that pressure of ‘Are they gonna leave now?’ – they’ve already committed to that journey with us.”

“It is a show that’s run for so many years and with history and hindsight, there’s bits people love and bits people don’t love,” Whittaker added. “But you can’t cater for all that, you’ve just go to tell the stories you want to tell.

“With [showrunner] Chris Chibnall, we feel like we’re in very safe hands. But then also, if you don’t go in different directions, what’s the point of keeping making the show?”

In a separate interview with RadioTimes.com, Chibnall echoed the comments of his cast. “There was more pressure last year,” he said. “Launching Jodie, launching a whole new family of companions, a new look, a new composer – it was a whole new team last year.

Mandip Gill, Tosin Cole, Jodie Whittaker and Bradley Walsh in Doctor Who (BBC)
Mandip Gill, Tosin Cole, Jodie Whittaker and Bradley Walsh in Doctor Who (BBC)

“And just the pressure of being the first female Doctor – there was no way we were going to let that fail. That was the pressure. There was no way we were going to let people say, as a female Doctor it’s rubbish. Absolutely not.”

Having established a new look and feel for the long-running BBC sci-fi series, Doctor Who in 2020 will be “much bigger” with “massive… ambition”, according to the cast.

“Even from the first two episodes, you see the scale of what we’ve done,” said Cole.

“There’s a difference between the first year of a Doctor, and the second,” Chibnall said. “There’s different types of stories you want to tell, there’s different rhythms. Different structures.

“What’s so great is that the way that Jodie and the gang were accepted and taken into people’s hearts, then you feel like you can build on that. And obviously we know more about making it, making this particular version of the show, what we want to do, the ambition – we’re challenging ourselves.

“So yeah you can enjoy it in a second year, but also we’ve set some quite high demands of ourselves. You have to keep moving and keep developing and keep evolving.”

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Interviews by Huw Fullerton

Doctor Who will return to BBC One on New Year’s Day at 6:55pm. The new series will begin with a two-parter entitled Spyfall, with part two airing on Sunday 5th January.