Doctor Who: Why a Smaller ‘Fam’ is Good for the Show

You couldn’t really say the same for Yaz, Graham and Ryan, none of whom have had an episode off – or a proper solo adventure – since joining the show in 2018. You can partly blame the format of the show for that: back in Tennant and Tate’s day, there would be 13 episodes per season, and Russell T. Davies had to get creative to cram them all into a humanly-possible shooting schedule (hence the one-handers, which would be shot at the same time); whereas now, we have 10 episodes per season (and next year, due to Covid-19, only eight), and Chibnall has been cramming the whole gang into all of them.  

But with the ‘fam’ reduced from four to two, after ‘Revolution of the Daleks’, hopefully, we could see a return of two-handers. And perhaps one-handers at a push. Let’s not forget that Peter Capaldi, as recently as 2017, was running around that space castle thingy on his own. 

I’d settle for two-handers, though: adventures where the Doc and Yaz show up somewhere, work the room, interact with the locals, and start putting the puzzle pieces together. You could have an A-plot for the Doc and a B-plot for Yaz, or you could even keep them together throughout and stick to one narrative throughline.  

Compare that to the last couple of seasons: Chibnall has generally split the ‘fam’ into at least two teams per episode, and giving them each something to do has resulted in A-plots, B-plots, C-plots and sometimes even D-plots fighting for focus.  

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This, I’d argue, is why the show has recently resorted so often to quick fixes, which serve only to remind us of a character’s personal life (Ryan spending a few seconds with a basketball, or Graham spending a few seconds grieving) rather than diving deep – because there simply aren’t enough minutes in an episode to do it all justice. But with some of these subplots leaving with Walsh and Cole, Chibnall will have freed up some time and space for different sorts of stories to be told. 

Guest stars could have a greater chance to shine 

Doctor Who Revolution of the Daleks John Barrowman

About the author


Joseph Ellis

Joseph is an experienced freelance journalist. He has worked as a journalist for a few online print-based magazines for around 3 years. He brings together substantial news bulletins from the field of Technology and US. He joined the Sunriseread team for taking the website to the heights.

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