As The Doctor once said in the Doctor Who 2016 Christmas special, The Return of Doctor Mysterio: “Everything ends and it's always sad, but everything begins again, too. And that's always happy. Be happy.”
After airing the trailer for the upcoming holiday special, Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks, the folks behind Doctor Who have made those words ring painfully true after revealing some bittersweet news (the type of news the show seems to specialize in). In a virtual live Q&A earlier this month with stars Jodie Whittaker and Mandip Gill, along with showrunner Chris Chibnall, Whittaker confirmed that, while the holiday special will see the return of John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness, it will also see the departure of Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole as Graham and Ryan.
“The fam as a four is no more,” said Whittaker, who currently plays the 13th Doctor. Walsh and Cole have been part of the show’s core cast since the debut of Whittaker as the Doctor in 2017 in the Season 11 premiere episode, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth.”
Although careful not to reveal any dreaded spoilers for Revolution's story, Whittaker did admit that Walsh and Cole had to carry her to her trailer “just purely when knowing it was last scenes with ... those actors.”
“When you realize it’s the last moment these four characters [will be together], I felt incredibly bereaved,” Whittaker added. “All of our journey’s been together as a family.”
Gill, who plays Yaz on the show, added that since the cast still communicates regularly via the WhatsApp chatting app, it’s “too soon to miss them.” She did however admit that she still felt a sadness realizing she’d never film scenes with them.
“I can tell you it’s very emotional,” said Chibnall, while being careful to not disclose how the characters leave. “I can tell you that 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 humor, lots of Daleks, and lots of emotion. So, without spoiling anything, 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."
Added Chibnall: "I hope it feels like a good send-off for those two characters.”
Walsh and Cole confirmed their impending departure from the show in a separate interview posted by the BBC, with Walsh calling their final episode “quite sad and poignant,” while Cole described his final scene as “emotional.”
And as for whether Revolution leaves the door open for them to return in the future, Chibnall simply said: “You’ll have to see, won’t you?”
Revolution will also see the return of Chris Noth, who'll reprise his role as the Trump-inspired Robertson from the fourth episode of Season 11, “Arachnids in the UK.”
“We loved his character, he loved being in the show and was really keen to come back,” said Chibnall, adding: “His character’s story wasn’t at an end.”
In Revolution of the Daleks, the fam (with the help of Captain Jack) take on a plot to destroy the world involving the Daleks — but without the Doctor, since she’s locked away in space prison.
Revolution of the Daleks airs New Year's Day 2021.