Di­ver­sity on the Tardis:

The chang­ing face and na­ture of Doc­tor Who.

The TV Guide - - CONCERT -

At six, Mandip Gill dreamed of play­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer on a tele­vi­sion drama. Twenty four years later, she is fi­nally play­ing that cop – as Doc­tor Who’s time-trav­el­ling com­pan­ion PC Yazmin Khan.

Gill, who cut her teeth with roles in Hol­lyoaks, Doc­tors, The Good Karma Hospi­tal and, most re­cently, Love, Lies And Records, is rel­ish­ing ev­ery minute of her time lost in space.

“I couldn’t think of a bet­ter show for me to be do­ing right now,” she says, of play­ing Yaz, one of three com­pan­ions to the first fe­male Doc­tor (Jodie Whit­taker).

This sea­son’s com­pan­ions – Yazmin, Ryan (Tosin Cole) and Gra­ham (The Chase’s Bradley Walsh) – are the most cul­tur­ally di­verse in the show’s 50-year his­tory.

“I think it’s well needed and it’s cor­rect as well,” Gill says. “It is a re­flec­tion of Eng­land, New Zealand and the rest of the world.

“While we’re not do­ing any­thing that’s ground-break­ing, it feels amaz­ing to be part of the change.”

The 30 year old says there were Asian ac­tors on screen in Bri­tain when she was grow­ing up – in shows such as Good­ness Gra­cious Me – but not many of them.

“They’re the ones that paved the way. I said to my­self then, ‘I am go­ing to be the first Asian po­lice of­fi­cer’ on this show that we had back then. It even­tu­ally went on to have a lot of Asian peo­ple on it but when I was about six or seven I thought I was go­ing to be the first.

“So, to be part of some­thing so iconic, chang­ing stereo­types, is a very big deal for me.”

Gill also wel­comed the chance for her and Whit­taker to use their na­tive York­shire ac­cents – de­spite crit­i­cism from some peo­ple that sub­ti­tles would be needed to en­able the se­ries’ Amer­i­can view­ers to

prop­erly un­der­stand what was be­ing said.

“I have a very strong North­ern ac­cent so I do tend to drop a lot of let­ters. Even peo­ple in Lon­don of­ten ask me, ‘What did you just say?’ ” Gill ad­mits.

“There was an em­pha­sis in the be­gin­ning about be­ing ar­tic­u­late – the same as for any show re­ally – but there was never ever a ques­tion about be­ing north­ern.”

In fact, she be­lieves the fact they are both York­shire lasses cre­ated an in­stant bond be­tween her and Whit­taker with the two hit­ting it off right from their first meet­ing.

“I think the chem­istry and the re­la­tion­ship hap­pened re­ally quickly. I even joked to her at the au­di­tion and said, ‘Jodie, it’s not about mak­ing a friend’ be­cause we got on re­ally well,” Gill says.

“I guess part of it would have been be­cause we were able to talk about be­ing north­ern and when you’re in Lon­don that doesn’t of­ten hap­pen.”

Gill is just as en­thu­si­as­tic about her fel­low com­pan­ions who she says have be­come firm friends. They are still in touch now even though film­ing has fin­ished. “We have a What’s App group now where we mes­sage each other pic­tures that we’ve found or ar­ti­cles about each other – just re­ally to keep in touch and have a laugh,” she says.

“There’s noth­ing forced about it. In fact, maybe the chem­istry was too much in the first few episodes be­cause we got on so well and in the story we didn’t re­ally know each other.”

Gill and Cole worked to­gether on Hol­lyoaks sev­eral years ago and have re­mained friends but nei­ther had met Walsh be­fore.

How­ever, it seems that he has won over his co-stars in the same way he has be­come so pop­u­lar with Kiwi fans of The Chase.

“He is the fun­ni­est man I’ve ever had the plea­sure of work­ing with,” Gill says of her quiz­mas­ter co-star.

“If he takes a day or two off for The Chase, which is not very of­ten, he’s com­pletely missed. We call him ‘Dad’ on set – not that he acts like a dad, pretty much the op­po­site – but we’re like, ‘Dad’s not here to­day’.

“He is ab­so­lutely amaz­ing and I envy any­one that has a chance to work with him be­cause he just lights up the whole room.

“He just loves be­ing the joker, the cen­tre of at­ten­tion. He’s very good at it and he loves do­ing it.” Gill says Walsh has even sug­gested that his Doc­tor Who co-stars could field a team to com­pete on The Chase.

“I was just like, ‘I’d be no use to you’,” she says, laugh­ing. “I’m not very good at stuff like that.”

Mandip Gill, Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.