As with any news where the source is the Daily Mirror, take this one with a massive grain of salt, but they are reporting that both Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole, who play Graham and Ryan respectively, will be leaving Doctor Who after the upcoming holiday special later this year. Mandip Gill, who plays Yaz, will be staying on the series, as will Jodie Whittaker.
The holiday special is a tradition since Doctor Who relaunched in 2005 and is either used as a fun aside or for major storylines, lending some credence to the idea that the exit of two of the Doctor’s companions could be imminent. The episode has already been filmed, but there are no details on how or why the pair would be leaving. The series has struggled to use and evolve all three companions since the trio joined Jodie Whittaker starting in her first season, so it might be a creative decision. But the Mirror article uses the word “quit,” and that makes it sound like the actors decided to leave.
Chris Chibnall, the series’s showrunner, needs to do something to dig himself out of the hole he’s dug after two seasons of declining ratings that have seen the series hit its lowest viewership in over 30 years. His first season changed the show’s format drastically, and his second just concluded with an anger-inducing twist. Given that the ending has fans up in arms, has confused non-die hards, and seems to have alienated a solid chunk of the fanbase in general by carelessly destroying years of Doctor Who lore in a poorly plotted reveal, the show might be staring down a long road of low ratings. Maybe reducing the companion size and refocusing in on the Doctor as an adventurer can deliver something that will draw audiences back in.