When Doctor Who concluded its ninth season at the end of 2015, the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, was left without a companion in the TARDIS. Jenna Coleman, who played Clara Oswald, left the show in order to work on another BBC drama, leaving fans wondering who could replace "The Impossible Girl".
Various rumors have surfaced since; not only about who the companion might be, but also over when they could appear. The Doctor was in mourning for the loss of Clara for the final few episodes of season 9, so it made sense not to introduce another companion then - and he was still flying solo when the Christmas special aired, as River Song accompanied him on his festive adventure instead. Following on from the news that a new companion has now been cast, the big reveal of exactly who that companion is, will be made this Saturday, April 23rd, on BBC1.
The announcement will be made during half-time of the soccer match between Everton and Manchester United, at approximately 6pm GMT. The news will be posted on all Doctor Who social media sites as it's announced, enabling viewers across the world to all find out who has been cast at the same time.
— BBC America (@BBCAMERICA) 21 April 2016
Of course, speculation turns to what name might be unveiled; it was rumored that Eastenders actress Rakhee Thakrar had been eyed for the role, but it really is speculation since there hasn't even been so much as a hint from official sources. Interestingly, Capaldi failed to mention the gender of his new companion when he confirmed they had been cast, simply saying "I know who that is and we’ve been doing a bit of work together already and it’s very exciting.”
It seems as though every time a companion leaves, or a Doctor regenerates, talk turns to whether they could be replaced by a person of the opposite gender. It's a volatile subject, and one which prompts much heated discussion (to say the least). Capaldi has, himself, said he would prefer for the Doctor to have a female companion. Certainly that seems to make sense in terms of balance but... let's throw this out there... if Capaldi leaves Doctor Who when showrunner Steven Moffat departs at the end of season ten, as many are speculating even though he's been asked to stay on, might he be replaced by a female Doctor? In which case, could we see a male actor being announced on Saturday?
To be honest, it's doubtful, even if it is fun to wonder about it. Doctor Who is a show with a tried and tested format which keeps fans coming back for more, and the friendship between the Doctor and his companion has always been the source of much interest. It seems unlikely that Moffat, or incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall, would want to end or begin their tenures by making such a drastic change. With that in mind: who do you think might join Capaldi in the TARDIS?
Doctor Who will return to BBC1 and BBC America with a Christmas special in December 2016. Season 10 will air in 2017.