Continuing the deluge of Doctor Who-related news of the past week, The A.V. Club can now confirm that the upcoming New Year’s special, ominously titled “Revolution Of The Daleks,” will be the last appearance of Bradley Walsh’s Graham and Tosin Cole’s Ryan as series regulars, marking the series’ first major casting departure since Chris Chibnall took over as showrunner. Walsh and Cole joined the show in 2018, alongside newly-anointed Doctor Jodie Whittaker and co-companion Mandip Gill.
Chibnall dropped the news during a virtual panel earlier this month, saying this about Walsh and Cole’s exit:
I can tell you that it’s very emotional, I think we’ve all been in tears watching it. It’s a really important part of the mix of the special, where you get lots of thrills, lots of spills, lots of humour, lots of Daleks, and lots of emotion. It’s hard, but we don’t shy away from what it means for this family to have its final moments together. And it was emotional off screen, it’s emotional on screen, and it’s an incredible thing.
In a statement released by BBC America, Walsh had this to say about his time on Who:
I have absolutely loved it, loved it. Wales has become like a second home to me, and being included in something so iconic and ground breaking with the advent of having a female Doctor, that whole thing where Chibnall sold that to me, it didn’t disappoint and I loved working with those guys. I love working with Chris Chibnall, that man is a genius but to also be working with Mandip and Tosin and of course Jodie is just extraordinary.
Similarly, Cole expressed appreciation for his time in the TARDIS:
It’s been an honour to work on such a cultural institution with fans across the world. The people like me on the screen come and go, but it’s the people behind the scenes and the fans that will always be there keeping the Doctor Who world alive and exciting.
It’s still unclear what Walsh and Cole’s departure means for Graham and Ryan’s in-universe fates. Will they leave the TARDIS willingly, or is something more sinister in store? When asked if the door will the be left open for them to return, Chibnall played coy, saying only, “You’ll have to see, won’t you?”
Regardless, this change-up means the TARDIS is about to get much less crowded. Mandip Gill’s Yasmin Khan is staying on as the Doctor’s sole full-time companion for season 13, marking the inauguration of Doctor Who’s first ever all-female TARDIS.
“Revolution of the Daleks” will premiere on BBC America on Friday, January 1 at 8 PM ET/PT.