On Doctor Who Day, fans of the long-running BBC sci-fi series were given a treat in the form of a trailer for the upcoming New Year’s Day special “Revolution of the Daleks”. However, the excitement was made bittersweet with the announcement that the special will be the last episode featuring companions Ryan and Graham, played by Tosin Cole (Doctor Who, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens) and Bradley Walsh (The Chase, Coronation Street), respectively.
Cole and Walsh have made up half of the TARDIS family since Jodie Whittaker’s (Doctor Who, Broadchurch) debut as the thirteenth Doctor in 2018. Their characters are also literal family in the context of the show, with Walsh playing Graham, the step-grandfather to Cole’s Ryan.
“The fam as a four is no more,” Whittaker is quoted regarding Doctor Who‘s upcoming joint departures, via Yahoo! News, “This will be the last time we see Bradley and Tosin.” Though Mandip Gill (Doctor Who, Hollyoaks) will continue to travel with the Doctor as Yaz in the show’s upcoming thirteenth season, the foursome’s adventures will come to an end in “Revolution of the Daleks”.
“I’ve not cried like that for such a long time” Whittaker commented on shooting the duo’s last episode “when you realise that it’s the last moment these four characters will have, I felt incredibly bereaved – all of our journey has been together and we clicked like a family” (Yahoo! News). According to Yahoo! News, the tight-knit nature of the Doctor Who cast and crew led to an emotional atmosphere on the set of the New Year’s special, with Whittaker nearly collapsing in tears.
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According to The Wrap, Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall (Doctor Who, Broadchurch) commented on the unique relationship cultivated on the set. Without spoilers, Chibnall said of Graham and Ryan’s departure: “we don’t shy away from what it means for this family to have its final moments together” (The Wrap). Chibnall promises the results were equally emotional on and off-screen.
Despite tearful farewells, BBC promises that “Revolution of the Daleks” will bring excitement with the return of companion Jack Harkness and iconic Doctor Who villain, the Daleks. “Working with the Daleks is sort of like working with Doctor Who royalty,” Cole said of the experience “you have to respect them because they are so iconic” (BBC).
After defeating the Daleks on New Year’s Day, Cole and Walsh will leave Doctor Who to pursue starring in roles in upcoming projects, via Yahoo! News. Cole is heading to the States to star opposite Courtney B. Vance (Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Dangerous Minds) in the courtroom drama 61 Street at AMC. Meanwhile, Walsh will remain in the UK, to star in ITV’s Darling Buds of May reboot.