'Doctor Who' Could Lose Two Companions At This Year's Holiday Special

Team TARDIS might be going down two members this holiday season. According to a new report, Doctor Who stars Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole — who have played Graham and Ryan, the traveling companions to Jodie Whittaker's Doctor, for the past two seasons — are set to leave the series in this year's upcoming holiday special. But while Walsh and Cole will leave Mandip Gill's Yaz to stay on as the main companion, their exit won't be permanent, with the doors open for possible guest appearances in future episodes.

The Radio Times reports that Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole may be leaving Doctor Who following the upcoming holiday special "Revolution of the Daleks." Whittaker and fellow companion Mandip Gill are still set to continue their roles through the upcoming season 13.

According to the Radio Times, Cole and Walsh may have an "open-ended departure," meaning the door is open for them to make guest appearances in future episodes. This is similar to the exit of previous companion Freema Agyeman, whose Martha Jones left after acting as the main companion for season 3, but appeared several times in season 4 and in the show's spin-off Torchwood. Martha left of her own accord and got to live a (relatively) normal life afterward — which became weirdly uncommon for companions that followed her. Since the 2005 revival, the series has tended toward splashy tragic endings for its companions, from amnesia, to death, to getting trapped in alternate dimensions. It would be a relief for the companions to be able to just leave and not die horribly for once. Since showrunner Chris Chibnall has shown such an affection for the classic series, which saw very mundane departures for its companions, that will likely be the case for Graham and Ryan.

The Radio Times notes that Cole and Walsh's departure is "not set in stone" yet, and could change as filming begins for season 13. But with Walsh's commitments to other shows like the Chase and Cash Trapped, his full schedule with Doctor Who is becoming untenable. Meanwhile, Cole has booked a major part in the courtroom drama 61st Street.

Cole and Walsh will be missed — especially Walsh's Graham, who provided the central emotional core of season 11 and has become a reliable comedic factor. But both their characters have basically run through their separate character arcs, with both Graham and Ryan expressing doubts about continuing to travel with the Doctor in recent episodes. And since the beginning of Whittaker's run, the TARDIS has felt a little too crowded with three companions, with Graham, Ryan, and Yaz not having the same tight-knit dynamic of past big ensembles like the Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, and Alex Kingston combo during the Matt Smith era. I would love to see more time for Yaz to take the spotlight, especially with the series finally digging past her "action girl" persona and unearthing more of her insecurities and failings. Gill seems keen to stay on as well, telling the Radio Times in February that she'd " love to [come back]" for season 13.

Doctor Who will return with the holiday special "Revolution of the Daleks." A premiere date has not yet been set for season 13.