With production on Russell T Davies’ second run on Doctor Who gearing up, rumours are rampant about who could be the next Doctor, with some strong contenders in the mix. But what about the co-lead of the series, the Doctor's partner in time, the all-important companion?
Well, since Davies announced his return, we’ve seen reports claiming that stars of It’s a Sin, Sex Education, Foundation, Being Human and even the return of former companions could be on the horizon.
Fans themselves have been speculating, theorising and fan-casting for Davies’ next season, with ideas of Georgia Tennant returning as Jenny, or perhaps the grandchild of Ian and Barbara boarding the TARDIS. Some fans have even suggested pivoting away from a contemporary earth companion and moving toward a non-human companion like Handles or Rusty, or a historical companion in the vein of Frazer Hines' Jamie McCrimmon from the classic series.
So who has been rumoured for season 14, and is there any evidence to support them? Check out our top candidates for the next companion below.
Who will be the new Doctor Who companion?
Best known for her role as Sex Education’s Lily Iglehart, Reynolds name was thrown into contention when reports suggested the BBC was eyeing her for a role in Davies' return to Who. Specifically, The Sun has claimed that producers are keen on Reynolds because she’d be a “unique sidekick”, comparing her to the likes of Billie Piper and Jenna Coleman. However, the report also notes the dilemma for Reynolds as it would require Lily’s role to be lessened for Sex Ed.
Reynolds certainly fits the mould for companions – while she's already a rising star in Britain appearing in Fanny Lye Deliver’d as well as Emma, Doctor Who could give her the same catapult to fame as Karen Gillan when she was cast in 2009.
On the other hand, Reynolds appears to have a busy slate over the coming months, with a role in HBO’s The Baby as well as filming Sex Ed’s fourth season this spring, around the time Davies' new take on Who will begin shooting. With that in mind, a 60th Anniversary appearance may be unlikely.
Still, you never know. The Baby is only a supporting role, and with Sex Ed’s production concluding in November, it’s entirely possible that Reynolds could board Doctor Who in time for later episodes – maybe even a full season 14, after the 60th celebrations have concluded.
More like this
Another possible name floating around is Being Human and The Split star Annabel Scholey. She actually screen-tested in the past as the companion to Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor, potentially for Amy Pond or Clara Oswald. More recently, she played Claire in Who's Flux miniseries, quickly becoming a fan favourite. In interviews, Scholey has claimed to know “nothing about anything” in regard to season 14’s companion, but she was very happy merely to be considered.
From her IMDb, Scholey seemingly has no projects currently in development, making her schedule quite free to be taken up by a project with long production shoots like Doctor Who. Likewise, Scholey is no stranger to fronting historical adventures, with her stints in Britannia and Medici proof of that.
Sure, she's already played a guest character in the series, but it didn't stop Freema Agyeman...
West has been one of the recurring names for the mantle of the 14th Doctor, but perhaps that’s an intentional smokescreen. Who's to say she couldn't be the new Doctor's best friend instead?
She already has a history with the show, voicing Vivien in the Big Finish story ‘The Sorcerer of Albion’, part of the ‘Donna Noble: Kidnapped!’ collection. West has also clearly caught the attention of Who showrunner Davies and ex-series boss Steven Moffatt, having worked on Years & Years and It's a Sin for Davies and Dracula for Moffat, as well as starring in his upcoming Inside Man.
Funnily enough, West is also set to star opposite Russell Tovey in upcoming romantic drama Text for You, one of the candidates posed as a potential 14th Doctor and a favourite of Davies’. Much like Donna Noble, the Doctor Who universe continues to swirl around Lydia West in the most perplexing of ways...
Similar to West, Miller also has a history with both Davies and Doctor Who. She first appeared as a regenerated Time Lord General during 2015's Hell Bent, and was recently cast in Davies’ Big Finish story ‘Mind of the Hodiac.’ She has also been rumoured as a contender for the 14th Doctor – however, Miller herself seemingly debunked these reports during a Cameo appearance back in February 2021, claiming to know the identity of the next Doctor, having worked with them and that “you will absolutely fall in love with them”.
Miller has worked on both Years & Years and Sex Education, so she could be referring to one of the actors on this very list; however, her recent comments contradict this, implying that if she did know the next Doctor, she’s not so sure now. Unless that’s exactly what she wants us to think...
In Summer 2021, rumours swirled that Alexander was set as the 14th Doctor – since then, both he and his manager have reaffirmed multiple times that this is NOT the case, but neither have directly denied a potential upcoming appearance. In fact, Alexander has stated in interviews that he’s a big fan of the show, and would like to make an appearance sometime in the future.
One caveat to Alexander as a potential companion is his recently-released 2nd album Night Call. He’s set to play a handful of dates that directly conflict with rumoured filming for the 60th anniversary rumoured in May 2022. However, as is the case with Reynolds, he appears to be free at the end of 2022, around the same time that a full season 14 could begin production.
Overall, we'd say we can't rule him out as a companion – after all, he's already faced the Daleks in a Russell T Davies production before thanks to a storyline in It's A Sin.
Alternatively, could a return from Rose Tyler be on the cards? Early in 2021, Piper claimed she wouldn’t go back to Doctor Who because of the lengthy shoots, mentioning that it “dominates your life”. However, speaking to RadioTimes.com back in September, she admitted that she would be open to returning “if the circumstances and the story were right”. Piper’s change in attitude comes at a remarkably coincidental time to the announcement of RTD’s return as showrunner, alongside the surprise rumours of her old co-star David Tennant's return.
Since then, Piper has been confirmed to return as Rose Tyler for Volumes 2 and 3 of ‘The Dimension Cannon’ from Big Finish, bridging the gap between Doomsday and her return in season 4. While this may seem a little bit of a stretch, it’s seems that something shifted Piper’s perspective over the course of 2021, and it comes at such a coincidentally close time to Davies’ return that there could be a hidden connection.
Of course, we could be looking at the wrong ex-Tennant companion. A ‘BBC source’ who supposedly leaked the casting of Sacha Dhawan’s Master in season 12, as well as the upcoming return of the Sea Devils, has claimed online that Tate is in negotiations to return to Doctor Who, tying directly into Tennant’s reported return. However, this wouldn’t be Donna Noble but an entirely different character – this is likely due to how Donna’s story concluded and the narrative gymnastics necessary to bring her back into the fold.
It wouldn’t be the first time an actor has returned as a different character – both Karen Gillan and Peter Capaldi returned after their appearances in The Fires of Pompeii, and Billie Piper herself came back as the ‘Bad Wolf Girl’ in The Day of the Doctor, embodying the conscience of The Moment. In other words there’s certainly precedent for this idea, and similar rumours have swirled that Tate's co-star Tennant could be back as a "new" Doctor rather than the same one again.
However, it's worth remembering that Tate was also rumoured to appear in season 13 back in March 2021 which turned out to be untrue, so it’s possible this may also be another dead end.
Overall, predicting the next Doctor has been a notoriously difficult endeavour, so uncovering who the next companion could be is even more so – just as T’Nia Miller has suggested, Davies is unlikely to go for the expected choice and it may even be someone we’re completely unfamiliar with.
Still, at the very least this feels like one of the strongest lists of companion contenders that’s emerged in a while, showcasing some of the best and brightest working in the British industry at the moment. Clearly, no matter who is cast as the Doctor’s next companion, they’re sure to be absolutely sensational.