Bradley Walsh was persuaded to sign up for the new series of Doctor Who because of similarities to the original series of Star Trek.
Speaking to the Radio Times, Walsh was initially hesitant to take the part of Graham O’ Brien – mostly because new showrunner Chris Chibnall wouldn’t reveal the identity of the new Doctor – but was sold on the idea of the new series thanks to the idea of going where no woman has gone before.
“I remember what the phrase was which helped sell it a while after I found out it was Doctor Who. They said: ‘It’s an ensemble piece, Brad. You’re not going to be the Doctor.’ I went, ‘well that’s good, because I don’t understand any gobbledegook’. I said, ‘Who is going to be the Doctor then?’ And they went ‘We don’t know yet, we haven’t chosen them.’ I went, ‘Oh, OK, fine. OK, cool.’
“A week later – who’s the Doctor? ‘Dunno, we haven’t chosen them yet.’ And that went on and on and on. And I said ‘How can I gauge what I’m going to do with the part?’ And they said ‘You’re gonna be like an older companion. And it’s gonna be a bit like the bridge on the Enterprise. It’s gonna be an ensemble piece. It’s gonna be like…’ And I went ‘I’m in!’ as soon as they said that, because I’m a massive Trekkie. I went ‘I’m in, I’m in, that’s it, OK done it’.”
In the original series, the Enterprise was staffed by crew members with specific roles with Captain James T. Kirk, played by William Shatner, giving the final order based on the counsel of his crew, which seems to suggest we’ll be getting a similar dynamic with Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor operating as the de facto captain.
Walsh did eventually find out who the next Doctor would be like the rest of us: by watching the reveal after the 2017 Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Marin Cilic.
“I found out [about Jodie] with the rest of the world,” he says. “I got a phone call in the morning – ‘make sure you’re watching the tennis’. I sat watching the tennis. And I’d watched Broadchurch, with Jodie in it, and I think Jodie’s brilliant. And I went ‘Oh my god it’s a girl! It’s female! Fantastic, I love it!’
“And now, the lightbulb… it went ‘Now I get it!’ They were going ‘Oh we’re gonna change it, it’s gonna be this, it’s gonna be different… it’s gonna be seen as groundbreaking. I went ‘I get it, I totally get it.’”
Doctor Who returns on Sunday 7th October on BBC One.