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'Doctor Who' producer on how the relationship between Yaz and the Doctor came together
So how did the Doctor's new romance work out behind the scenes?
In the wake of Yaz’s confession during the latest Doctor Who special, "Eve of the Daleks," that she’s in love with the Doctor, producer Matt Strevens has since revealed that actresses Mandip Gill (Yaz) and Jodie Whittaker (the Doctor) were a significant force behind making the Doctor and Yaz’s romance into reality on Doctor Who.
Yaz opened up (after some prompting from new companion Dan) in a tearful confession and revealed that her feelings for the Doctor are more than platonic - a reveal that was a long time coming for some fans, and an abrupt return for others. Though fans of the series have since engaged in heavy discussion about whether or not seeds for Yaz and the Doctor were planted as far back as Season 11, Doctor Who producer Matt Strevens (alongside Mandip Gill, who plays Yaz) revealed during panels at Doctor Who con Gallifrey One that Jodie Whittaker explicitly asked for a romance between Yaz and the Doctor to be explored in earnest.
When pre-production for Series 11 began, the writers didn’t have any romantic plans for the Doctor, but after Gill told Whittaker (who doesn’t have any social media presence) about the strong response to the Yaz/Doctor relationship, Whittaker allegedly pushed for more scenes between them moving forward, and (successfully) lobbied for romance heading into Series 12.
According to Strevens, “Jodie had brought it [‘Thasmin’ social media content] to set after the first season, and said ‘there’s speculation out there’ and we hadn’t really thought about it. But it became quite a big thing, and if you think about the history of Doctor Who since Russell brought it back, every companion story with the Doctor is a love story.”
When asked whether or not Whittaker bringing "Thasmin" content to set and discussing it with the writers prompted the show to integrate a romantic storyline into the series, Strevens replied “Yeah. I think she thought it was quite funny that people had read that into it, and she thought it was fun, and it was something that he [Chris Chibnall] wanted to play with."
At the Team Tardis Gallifrey One panel, Mandip Gill discussed her role in helping bring Thasmin to life even before the romance was explicitly explored, explaining that she intentionally played the role as Yaz going from admiring to falling in love with the Doctor.
Of Gill’s performance, Strevens added: “I think the way that Mandip did it and the way that Jodie’s Doctor reacts is brilliant. Yaz isn’t sure what these feelings are that she’s having, but they’re fundamental feelings. And I think it’s a testament to John Bishop’s performance that he’s sort of wheedling it out of them - which I think was brilliantly done.”
Fans can rest assured that "Eve of the Daleks" wasn’t the last we’ll see of "thasmin" — Strevens concluded by saying that “there’s more to come” between Yaz and the Doctor. The next Doctor Who special, "Legend of the Sea Devils" will serve as the second in a trilogy of departure specials for Jodie Whittaker and will air Easter Sunday 2022.