Don’t call him a Companion. Samuel Anderson may be joining the cast of BBC America’s “Doctor Who” on August 30, but he’s very clear on one thing: he’s not the Doctor’s trusty sidekick, he’s something else.
“I’m not really a Companion,” Anderson told MTV News when we caught up with the actor over the phone. “I think I can say that without it really being a spoiler.”
Anderson joins the cast as Danny Pink, a former army man who has become a teacher at the Coal Hill School, where actual Companion Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) also works.
“His experiences in the army have molded him to be the kind of guy who stops to smell the roses,” Anderson said on the role. “He’s a normal bloke.”
And though that normal bloke may not be joining the Doctor for adventures on the regular, he will get involved with Clara in a very different way.
“She’s very attractive, he’s not the worst looking guy,” Anderson joked about a possible relationship for the two. “There are a few speedbumps in the road, in the world of ’Doctor Who’ it’s not always plain sailing.”
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Doctor’s new “I’m not your boyfriend” rule, established in the first episode of the new season, extends to Danny Pink, too. When we asked whether Pink might be the first man to have a romantic relationship with the Timelord, Anderson replied, “Imagine! It would be beautiful, but I don’t think the world is ready for that one yet.”
Instead, Danny will be providing a helpful counterpoint for a Doctor in crisis. Though we know the Doctor is a hero who has saved the universe multiple times, the current incarnation – played by Peter Capaldi – is wondering whether he is, in fact, a good man at all. And while Anderson did admit that characters like Danny Pink have often seemed ancillary to a show about a time and space traveling alien, he feels that his character provides a crucial role.
“[Pink] raises little questions for the Doctor, and the audience,” Anderson said. “He’s a very useful tool, and a very clever thing that [Executive Producer] Steven Moffat has created. In terms of the kind of philosophical debates they’re trying to create on the show, yeah, he’s useful.”
And Danny won’t just be playing counterpoint. Though Anderson didn’t come right out and say how, it seems that the character has deeper ties to the mythos of “Doctor Who.” When we asked, given his army background, whether Pink was tied to classic Doctor allies U.N.I.T., Anderson gave a startled reply.
“Ooooh, you are up to school on your ’Doctor Who,’ aren’t you?” Anderson said, surprised. “Wow, you’re the first one who’s asked me that. I could answer that, but I won’t. But it’s a good question.”
We’ll go out on a limb and say we might have been right on the money there, though there was another connection Anderson was able to cop to. The Coal Hill School where Pink and Oswald work was the main setting of the very first episode back in 1963, and has turned up time and again throughout the show. And, it seems, Pink has deeper ties than just being an employee.
“Of course, it would be a huge oversight to have it any other way,” Anderson said. “These guys know what they’re doing. So yeah, definitely.”
That all aside, there’s one thing Anderson’s character definitely won’t have a tie to: a Brazilian children’s show host who also happens to share the name Danny Pink.
“I did get a tweet saying, you’re not Danny Pink!” Anderson said, laughing. “In Portegeuse, I didn’t quite understand. I imagine there’s going to be a lot more confusing situations when [the show] kicks off.”
You can catch Anderson’s first episode of “Doctor Who” on Saturday, August 30 at 8 p.m. ET, on BBC America.