New Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker will be joined in the Tardis by a familar face and he’s former Coronation Street actor!
Since the series rebooted in the 2000’s, The Doctor’s companions have been portrayed by the likes of Freema Agyeman, Billie Piper and Jenna Coleman.
But with the first female title role played by Whittaker, 36, the new showrunner Chris Chibnall has chosen former Corrie star Bradley Walsh, 57 – who you may recognise from ITV’s The Chase and Cash Trapped.
According to tabloid newspaper The Mirror, Chris Chibnall decided to make the change from young female sidekicks by picking a man who is old enough to be Whittaker’s father, to help tackle the Daleks and other enemies.
Bradley Walsh and the writer go back a long way. In 2008 Chibnall was the lead writer on ITV’s Law & Order UK, which starred Walsh as DS Ronnie Brooks and ran for a very successful eight series.
The BBC casting is still top secret, but Walsh has told pals he’s thrilled to have landed the plum role – even if it means he’ll have to lighten his ITV presenting workload in the coming year.
One source said: “Bradley is super excited to be joining the cast of Doctor Who in such a key role. It means that his schedule over the coming months will be jam-packed – so he won’t be able to continue with the full range of programmes he currently makes for ITV. But – crucially – it won’t affect his role as presenter of The Chase. He loves that show with a passion and so do the audience so he’s delighted to have found a way to make it all work together.”
The shows he’s set to ditch include sports quiz Play to the Whistle and daytime quiz Cash Trapped – which he himself created and presents.
Dad-of-two-Walsh’s biggest acting roles have been as Mike Baldwin’s nephew Danny in Coronation Street for three years from 2004 and later in Law & Order UK.
Walsh has had a very varied career, with roles in TV Series, on Gameshows, Panel Shows and he has even released his own music album, which proved very successful.
His album, Chasing Dreams became the only debut recording to sell more than 100,000 copies, beating the likes of One Direction’s Zayn Malik.
The comic turned actor was born in Watford, Hertfordshire, and now lives in Essex with his wife Donna – A marriage that has spanned more than two decades.
Male assistants have scarcely featured in the rebooted Doctor Who series, which returned with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Billie Piper the assistant in 2005.
The original series, however, which broadcast for 27 years from 1963, before being axed in 1989, had several.
They included Frazer Hines as Jamie McCrimmon, Ian Marter as Harry Sullivan and Matthew Waterhouse as Adric.
Walsh may be regarded as a strange choice to be the assistant, but he does have a connection to the show. In 2008, he worked alongside Elisabeth Sladen, whose character Sarah Jane Smith regularly tops polls of most popular Doctor Who companions.
Walsh also appeared in two episodes of her spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures.
The BBC are yet to comment on the speculation, but we anticipate an announcement will be made soon.