TV

For Asian Whovians, Mandip Gill's TARDIS breakout means real representation

Mandip Gill went from 'Hollyoaks' to 'Doctor Who' in 2018 in a real whirlwind of a year for the the UK's best new TV actors

My breakout year

It has been an absolute whirlwind. I would go to work, then they would fly us off to San Diego for Comic-Con or to film in South Africa. Now I can reflect and appreciate the journey I have been on. You are part of Doctor Who forever. And to be an Asian character that is part of a sci-fi show and is not a stereotype of an Asian character – for me, that was a big deal.

How did it happen?

There are a million people you can get on well with. But me and Jodie [Whittaker], from the first audition, absolutely hit it off. [Showrunner] Chris Chibnall told us, “It is not about finding a new best friend”, but Jodie was like, “It is, it is.” We are fortunate we all get on so well. We spend a lot of time and intense hours together.

Series highlights?

There were two episodes I knew I was going to love. When we first spoke about Rosa Parks and Demons of the Punjab I knew they would hit home with me. But I was still so taken aback with how beautiful they were. So many people learned something new from those episodes. There are also so many people saying, “That is my history.” It is amazing to see that on mainstream television.

Reaction to Doctor Who?

When I was younger, there were Asian people on television – the whole cast of Goodness Gracious Me, which is what me and my family watched together – so there were Asian people on screen, but there was no one my age or who felt like a representation of myself. For a lot of Asian Whovians, they see Yas as a real representation of them. It is really important. Television is there to entertain, but it is also there to teach people things. And it is easier to do that when you can relate to a character.

What’s next?

The Doctor Who New Year special is really explosive and ties up a lot of the loose ends from the series. It touches on themes we have already explored, friendship and family and love, but it is even bigger than the other episodes.

Cultural highlights of 2018?

I love a good drama and the BBC has been absolutely amazing this year. Bodyguard and Informer – and now Dynasties as well, which is like a drama. But if I had to pick one, it would be The Cry. The twists! My film of the year is A Star is Born. I was absolutely blown away by Lady Gaga.

Doctor Who returns on New Year’s Day on BBC One

Support your local Big Issue vendor

If you can’t get to your local vendor every week, subscribing directly to them online is the best way to support your vendor. Your chosen vendor will receive 50% of the profit from each copy and the rest is invested back into our work to create opportunities for people affected by poverty.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Jenna Coleman on policing the town that MeToo forgot in The Jetty
TV

Jenna Coleman on policing the town that MeToo forgot in The Jetty

Spent star Michelle de Swarte: 'Someone had to tell me I was homeless – I was in such denial'
Michelle de Swarte
TV

Spent star Michelle de Swarte: 'Someone had to tell me I was homeless – I was in such denial'

Karen Gillan: 'It's better to tell the story of Douglas is Cancelled than not tell the story'
TV

Karen Gillan: 'It's better to tell the story of Douglas is Cancelled than not tell the story'

Supacell star Calvin Demba on race, male bravado and breaking the modern superhero formula
Calvin Demba, star of Netflix's Supacell
TV

Supacell star Calvin Demba on race, male bravado and breaking the modern superhero formula

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know

Support our vendors with a subscription

For each subscription to the magazine, we’ll provide a vendor with a reusable water bottle, making it easier for them to access cold water on hot days.