Doctor Who will no longer have companions accompanying the Doctor, at least not in those terms. The long-running series of course centers on the titular time traveler, who goes on adventures and saves the universe in a time machine called the Tardis. The eleventh season of the show has now officially begun, with Jodie Whitaker as the first female incarnation of the Doctor.
Doctor Who has been around since 1963, and has become a staple of UK culture. The show was incredibly popular in its initial run, and lasted for 26 seasons on the BBC. Between 1963 and 1989, a total of eight actors played the Doctor, with even more actors and actresses playing their companions. In fact, the first person to travel with the Doctor, played by William Hartnell at the time, was actually the Doctor's granddaughter. There have been many humans that have been companions of the Doctor, but there have also been several aliens and robots that accompanied him on his adventures. Even though the Doctor has had companions since the beginning of the series, the term didn't become popular until the 2005 reboot launched. Now it appears that the eleventh season won't use the term companion at all.
According to Doctor Who executive producer Matt Strevens, the Doctor's crew will no longer be referred to as companions, and will instead be called friends. The news broke at New York Comic Con, when Strevens was discussing the next season of the show. This was previously hinted at in the San Diego Comic-Con trailer, when Whitaker's character asks, "So if I asked really, really nicely, would you be my new best friends?," but the term has now officially been confirmed.
Doctor Who has become immensely popular not just in the UK, but all over the world. The show has found a new generation of fans, especially since the reboot, which kicked off with Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor. Many talented actors and actress have played the Doctor's companions since the reboot occurred, most notably Billie Piper, Karen Gillan, and Pearl Mackie. The Doctor Who season 11 friends will be played by Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole, and Mandip Gill.
Even though casting Whitaker as the Doctor received a lot of backlash - as has become the norm whenever a character is gender-swapped - early reviews for Doctor Who season 11 have praised the first female version of the iconic Time Lord. Since the character regenerates every few seasons, casting a woman as the Doctor never should have been out of the realm of possibility, but some fans just don't like to see their favorite shows changed in a big way. That being said, referring to the Doctor's companions as friends going forward shouldn't receive as much hate, especially since the term wasn't used often in the original series.
Season 11 of Doctor Who airs Sundays on BBC America and BBC One.