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Mandip Gill on keeping secrets and techniques, the TARDIS team in lockdown and the mysterious future of Doctor Who

Whereas Doctor Who collection 12 was a fairly large yr for Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor, it additionally contained some revelations about Mandip Gill’s companion Yaz, whose new backstory drew plaudits from audiences as they unfurled alongside the larger arcs of the BBC sci-fi drama.

Lately we caught up with Gill to learn how she and the Doctor Who team (together with Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole) are keeping busy in lockdown, her collection 12 highlights in addition to what we will stay up for from future episodes – assuming, of course, that they will get filmed in any respect throughout the pandemic…

Good day Mandip! We’re right here to speak about Doctor Who, however right here’s an compulsory pandemic query first – how are you passing the time in lockdown?

Oh, I’m not doing something however time is passing. I’m actually good at not doing something. I would paint my toenails later and then I feel I’m completed for the month.

That’s a fairly full day in the present local weather.

Effectively it’s a totally cool day, however then we’ve been doing it for 5 weeks! Think about how thick my nail varnish is!

Have you ever been staying in contact with the different Doctor Who solid?

Oh, all the time. I’ve actually simply messaged Jodie. We nonetheless have our WhatsApp group, so we’re nonetheless sending memes, sending messages. Brad’s sending movies of his attractive place – and as quickly because it’s completed we’re going to fulfill up.

We’ll at all times keep in contact, as a result of we’re actually actually shut – we spend loads of hours collectively. And we’ve type of shaped… I do know this seems like a cliché, however a household. Me and Tosin are solid as the little children, Jodie’s the large sister, Brad’s the dad.

And clearly Jodie’s so needy, so she’s without end going ‘Guys, can we meet up quickly?’ – she needs to do a Zoom assembly really, that’s what she needs to do.

Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill, Jodie Whittaker and Bradley Walsh in Doctor Who (BBC)

Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill, Jodie Whittaker and Bradley Walsh in Doctor Who (BBC)

A TARDIS team Zoom assembly! What a thought.

I’ve stated to Brad, if he’s lacking The Chase then he can host a quiz for us.

Doctor Who followers appear to have come collectively throughout the lockdown to raise spirits – there have been watchalongs, quizzes, digital conventions and so on. Had been you shocked by how a lot the fandom has come via?

I really wasn’t shocked in any respect, as a result of I do know it’s so well-liked, I do know folks have at all times completed paintings of it and rewritten tales tales and whatnot. After I first began, I used to be stunned by how a lot fan artwork there was, however I’m used to it now.

However I feel the watchalongs shocked me. I’m not shocked however I’m actually shocked how many individuals are sitting at precisely the similar time and watching the similar episode, provided that we’re all on completely different timeframes as effectively.

You took half in one for BBC America, didn’t you?

I watched Spyfall 1 and 2 with everybody, and I can see why folks do it as a result of I had a lot to say! Beforehand I used to be like “Oh my God what am I going to tweet about?” However you keep in mind all the stuff that occurred if you had been filming it, and you discover new issues in it.

So I can see why individuals are watching them and rewatching them, as a result of there’s at all times little issues that you simply decide up on, little Easter Eggs which were left round that you simply possibly simply didn’t see the first time.

And the followers really feel an element of this, that is for them. They wish to know these tales – and even if you happen to instructed them earlier than, they nonetheless wish to hear them once more.

We must always speak about collection 12, which looks like one million years in the past now however solely concluded at the begin of March – it was a giant one for Yaz and her backstory, so was it good to search out out what made her tick?

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Oh, 100 per cent. I’d had a dialog with Chris [Chibnall] about the first collection, and he was very open to concepts. I solely went with, “I’d like to know extra about her.” And possibly she shouldn’t at all times agree with the Doctor, as a result of I discover in collection 11 she did naturally at all times agree, she was at all times trying as much as this particular person.

After which he simply padded it out into a extremely actually healthful background. It’s relatable, it’s sensible, and actually explains the place she is in collection 11, why she’d randomly meet these folks and go on this journey. She was actually up for it, actually eager…you already know when she went again dwelling she preferred seeing her household, however she was at all times actually fairly fast to go away.

So I feel her backstory for me type of defined collection 11, defined why she was so keen, why she wanted this journey. And simply why she wanted the Doctor a lot. It was additionally what I wanted as an actor, that I feel the character wanted.

Given these developments, how do you assume Yaz was feeling at the finish of the collection with the Doctor gone and the team again on Earth?

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I undoubtedly assume she’s gutted. If that’s her time completed in the TARDIS she’s undoubtedly upset. I don’t assume she’s prepared to return to Sheffield – there’s a lot extra for her to find out about herself, and about her being a police officer in house. So I undoubtedly assume at that time she’s actually upset. And I feel it’ll take a very long time for her to return to phrases with this. Like she’s created this new little household. Everybody needs to really feel needed and half of one thing.

And it was fairly abrupt actually. She didn’t have time to say the goodbyes that you’d wish to say. And she or he’s created a extremely intense relationship with this individual that she would possibly by no means see once more.

I see what you imply – and it’s not like she will be able to simply pop again and discover her on Gallifrey.

Precisely. It was not her selection, and she’s most likely considering “When am I ever going to fulfill an alien once more?”.

Talking of the finale, what was it wish to movie? You bought right into a Cyberman swimsuit, which will need to have been fairly thrilling, however then to see the response to it as effectively….

Yeah, I used to be actually trying ahead to the response. It’s so wonderful to work with all these items that individuals have been speaking about and affiliate with Doctor Who, and are actually iconic.

And dealing with the Daleks and the Cybermen, and even the Judoon is so thrilling. However I was a Cyberman! After I learn it I used to be so excited.  I used to be like “I’m getting in it? I’m getting in the Cyberman??” It was so thrilling for me.

However you already know, the followers are so intelligent. Someway there was fanart of me as a Cyberman earlier than it even occurred!

In the episode, it looks as if the Grasp might need escaped – would you wish to work extra with Sacha Dhawan in future episodes?

I feel he’s completely wonderful. An incredible particular person however other than that, as an actor he was so good to look at. He was so targeted and skilled, however we nonetheless actually had fun.

We noticed him on the day in the aeroplane scene the place he turns from O into the Grasp. We noticed that swap taking place. However if you see it onscreen, contemplating he’s labored so arduous at O, and you fully fall for O, and then this swap is simply…it was simply so immediate, you may see it onscreen.

I feel he’s a extremely good Grasp, and I actually loved working with him. And in addition we get on rather well as mates, so I’d love for him to be again as the Grasp.

When he was posing as O in the episode it appeared like he and Yaz had been variety of attending to know one another…

Yazter

Yeah! Sure.

…and then nothing actually occurred with that. Would you wish to see that dynamic explored once more?

Effectively I feel we thought it was heading that method and performed it like that! I believed ‘Oh my God I’m going to fall for O, and then it’s going to be the Grasp and he’s going to take me away with him!’.

Yaz can be travelling via house and time with somebody aside from the Doctor!

I do know! I couldn’t try this to her. Clearly that didn’t occur anyway. I feel the place it went to was the proper degree of.. .she’d began to have emotions, or assume “Ooh he’s actually fascinating” however… it felt like the place it stopped was proper.

There have been some large twists this collection as effectively – is it good to not have to fret about these secrets and techniques any extra, or are you already worrying about the subsequent lot of secrets and techniques for the subsequent collection?

No, you already know what, you do get fairly good at the secret factor. Generally you genuinely overlook your self, otherwise you haven’t filmed issues but so that you don’t actually slip up, as a result of not all the items are there.

And generally you’re nonetheless figuring it out! I’ve to learn the scripts one, two, 3 times and then generally solely on the day issues are slotting in collectively. As a result of sci-fi’s not my style and so generally even for me it takes a couple of goes for me to grasp the storyline.

So it’s very easy for me to maintain issues secret. And I really discover loads of folks don’t like spoilers. As a result of as a lot as folks wish to be the first to know issues, they don’t actually wish to watch an entire collection the place you already know the ending to it.

It’s not as a lot enjoyable – you variety of wish to discover it out with the characters.

Yeah precisely. And in today and age the place there’s Twitter, and everybody’s watching and discovering out collectively, and there’s an enormous dialogue about it, you wish to be half of that when it occurs. Issues have leaked earlier than, however they don’t get very far as a result of individuals are not open to listening to them.

Do you discover some followers wish to shut spoilers down?

Yeah, I see all the time folks going “Don’t come on Twitter if you happen to don’t need spoilers”, or giving spoiler alerts. So they offer the head’s up so folks can tune out – which is strictly what I’d do.

In phrases of being concerned about subsequent yr’s secrets and techniques it’s worrying generally, like after I noticed you at the Radio Instances Covers celebration I believed ‘Oh God, what can I say and what can’t I say?’ – however if you get there you keep in mind ‘I’m clearly not allowed to say that bit.’ So it turns into fairly straightforward.

That stated, the followers are actually good as a result of they’ll decide up on little bits and piece it collectively, whether or not it’s the reality or not. However that additionally retains me on my toes as an actor.

On the topic of secrets and techniques, I’ve to ask about the upcoming festive particular – I perceive you filmed that some time earlier than the lockdown?

I feel I’m allowed to say it has been filmed! Simply completely by pure luck. I assume it’s the method it at all times movies – they movie the particular with the collection.

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It’s excellent news for followers, as loads of festive drama that might have been displaying this yr could not have time to movie – Whovians nonetheless have this to stay up for.

You overlook really that masses of different festive specials received’t have been made -so yeah such as you say, it’s one thing to actually stay up for this yr, contemplating the most wonderful collection we’ve had as effectively.

Have there been conversations about whether or not filming for collection 13 shall be affected? 

The conversations are most likely taking place elsewhere! Everyone seems to be affected, so I assume we’re simply going to have to attend for tips.

I’ve variety of not even requested, as a result of I do know that I’ll get instructed after I’m alleged to know. I’m fairly laid again in that sense, it’s going to return to me when it’s supposed to return to me.

Earlier than you go, I’ve to ask…is there something you possibly can inform us about Revolution of the Daleks? Any hints?

No….sorry! I simply can’t! 

OK, however presumably we will assume there are Daleks? That looks as if a secure wager… what’s it like working with them once more?

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Oh, it’s good! They by no means get outdated. And it appears so way back we did it the first time [in 2019 special Resolution]!

Working with iconic monsters and whatnot, that individuals affiliate with Doctor Who, makes you’re feeling extra cemented in the collection.

After we work with issues like Cybermen, John Barrowman, the Daleks, the Judoon… you’re feeling such as you’re now correctly half of the Doctor Who household.

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The Doctor Who collection 12 DVD is on sale now

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