Exciting news, Whovians! Turns out the TARDIS will be built for three in its upcoming eighth season, as actor Samuel Anderson (he of The History Boys and Gavin & Stacey fame) has been tapped to join the cast of Doctor Who. Is this a new companion for the Doctor? A potential love interest for Clara Oswald? A mirroring of the first series of the show? So many questions! Let’s take a look at the facts and suss out some potential answers, shall we?
Anderson has been slated to join Doctor Who as a recurring character during the forthcoming new season. So, not only are we getting a new Doctor in Peter Capaldi — a 100% rebel Time Lord according to his costume reveal — but we’re also getting a second time traveling human. Anderson will play Danny Pink, a teacher at Coal Hill School where companion Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) also teaches.
Fans of the classic series will remember that Coal Hill School is where original companions Barbara Wright and Ian Chesterton came into the fold (they were the teachers of the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan back in 1963. Considering we're rebooting the show without Matt Smith but with an as-yet-unprecedented new cycle of regenerations, the mirroring is a nice touch, and perhaps not only an homage to the series origins, but showrunner Steven Moffat’s attempt to bring the show back to its roots.
Which is why it’s no surprise that Moffat had this to say on the recent addition: “For the fourth time in Doctor Who history, Coal Hill School is coming to the aid of the TARDIS. In 1963, teachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright accompanied the first Doctor. These days it’s the turn of Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald. And very soon now, Sam Anderson as Danny Pink will be entering the world of the Doctor. But how and why? Answers are coming later this year in Peter Capaldi's first season of Doctor Who!"
So we know that this mirroring is purposeful rather than happenstance, but there’s still no word on the how or why that is — mystery, after all, is New Who’s best friend. We're going to have to wait and see on this one, then.
Speaking on the new role himself, Anderson said: "I was so excited to join Doctor Who I wanted to jump and click my heels, but I was scared I might not come down before filming started! It's a quintessential part of British culture and I can't believe I'm part of it. It's an honor to be able to work alongside Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman and I can't wait to show people how my character becomes involved with such a fantastic duo!”
And there’s a good deal of additional information regarding the co-starring, one assumes, baddies of the upcoming season. The press release also mentioned that filming recently began on episode four of the new series. The co-stars include Robert Goodman (Gangs of New York, Game of Thrones) in episode four, and Jonathan Bailey (Broadchurch, Groove High) and Pippa Bennett-Warner (The Smoke, Death in Paradise) in episode five.