In one of the most acclaimed storylines in Doctor Who’s most recent season, fans saw Mandip Gill’s Yaz face up to the mental health issues that had almost seriously derailed her life some years before she met the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), with a series of flashbacks explaining what had happened to the future time-traveller.
A key part of the episode Can You Hear Me?, Yaz’s struggles struck a chord with many fans – and Gill has now revealed that this won’t be the end of the storyline, with Yaz’s mental health continuing to play a part in upcoming episodes of the BBC sci-fi series.
“Chris had phoned me and said ‘We’re going to delve into Yaz’s backstory and we’re going to look at mental health issues,’” Gill said during a New York Comic Con metaverse panel for Doctor Who.
“So obviously as an actor, for me that’s… I don’t want to use the word exciting, but it opens you up to loads of things.”
“I didn’t [draw on my own experiences], it’s just not the way I work as an actor. But I did work closely with MIND charity and we were able to ask lots of questions, like how would people react in certain situations? And maybe why Yaz hadn’t mentioned it running up to this, and why she’d gone to her sister and not her mum – because she’s obviously very close to her mum.
“For me, I’m really glad I got to play that part,” she concluded. “And it’s part of Yaz’s journey now. It will affect, basically, her choices in the future.”
In other words, any fans concerned that the series would just move on and sweep Yaz’s backstory under the carpet need not have worried. In fact, from the sounds of it Yaz will be put through the emotional wringer as soon as the next broadcast episode, with Gill noting her character will be in some distress by the time of festive special Revolution of the Daleks.
“Yaz is struggling a little bit,” Gill said, noting that the Doctor’s imprisonment at the end of season 12 left her friends somewhat adrift.
“We’re back in Sheffield, trying to get on with our own lives… I can speak for Yaz, she’s finding it very difficult, not being able to say goodbye or whether she’ll see the Doctor. Being thrown back into her normal life without being given a say.”
Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks come to BBC One in late 2020/early 2021. Want something else to watch? Check out our full TV Guide.