New ‘Doctor Who’ companion? Samuel Anderson joins Season 8 cast

Feb. 24, 2014 | 1:14 p.m.

The Doctor might be getting a new companion. Samuel Anderson, who was in a brief scene in the “Doctor Who” 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor,” will be playing a new recurring character in the show’s eighth season.

Anderson is set to play Danny Pink, a teacher at Coal Hill Secondary School and colleague of Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman), according to BBC America’s blog. The school has been a recurring setting for “Doctor Who” since the classic science-fiction adventure series’ first episode, “An Unearthly Child.” In the 1963 episode, the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan Foreman attends the Coal Hill School while the Doctor (William Hartnell) repairs the TARDIS, and two teachers discover their secret.

The Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) revisited the school in 1988’s “Remembrance of the Daleks,” and last year’s anniversary special revealed that current companion Clara Oswald is now a history teacher at the school.

"Doctor Who" actor Samuel Anderson as Danny Pink. (BBC America)

“Doctor Who” actor Samuel Anderson as Danny Pink. (BBC America)

“For the fourth time in ‘Doctor Who’ history, Coal Hill School is coming to the aid of the TARDIS,” lead writer executive producer Steven Moffat said. “In 1963, teachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright accompanied the First Doctor. These days it’s the turn of Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald. And very soon now, Sam Anderson as Danny Pink will be entering the world of the Doctor.”

Anderson, of course, won’t be the only new actor on set. Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith left the series, and Peter Capaldi’s tenure as the Twelfth Doctor began in the Christmas special, “The Time of the Doctor.” The Scottish actor, best known for his role as a foul-mouthed spin doctor in the political comedy “The Thick of It,” has appeared as a minor character in a previous “Doctor Who” episode (“The Fires of Pompeii”) and in the “Torchwood” miniseries spinoff “Children of Earth” before debuting as the Doctor’s latest incarnation.

Anderson, whose previous credits include “The History Boys” and “Doctors,” has also worked with Coleman; both are alumni of the long-running British soap opera “Emmerdale.” Coleman played Jasmine Thomas, the niece of the local vicar, and Anderson portrayed police officer Ross Kirk. The pair shared several scenes together.

“I was so excited to join ‘Doctor Who,’ I wanted to jump and click my heels, but I was scared I might not come down before filming started,” Anderson said. “It’s a quintessential part of British culture and I can’t believe I’m part of it. It’s an honor to be able to work alongside Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman, and I can’t wait to show people how my character becomes involved with such a fantastic duo.”

If Anderson’s character Danny Pink is indeed another companion, he won’t be the first man to time-travel with the Doctor, who has had his fair share of male companions through the years, including Ian Chesterton (William Russell), a science teacher at Coal Hill School who traveled with Hartnell’s Doctor.

Some of the more recent male companions include Captain Jack Harness (John Barrowman), who became the star of the spinoff series “Torchwood”; Wilfred Mott (Bernard Cribbins), who was companion Donna Noble’s grandfather; and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill), companion Amy Pond’s (Karen Gillan) husband who became a hero in his own right.

The series is to return later this year.

– Noelene Clark | @NoeleneClark | Google+

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