Graham O'Brien

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Graham O'Brien
Doctor Who character.
Graham O'Brien.jpg
Bradley Walsh as Graham O'Brien
First appearance"The Woman Who Fell to Earth" (2018)
Portrayed byBradley Walsh
AffiliatedThirteenth Doctor
Home planetEarth

Graham O'Brien is a fictional character created by Chris Chibnall and portrayed by Bradley Walsh in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. In the show's eleventh series, starting with the first episode, Graham serves as a companion of the Thirteenth Doctor, an incarnation of the alien time traveller known as the Doctor (portrayed by Jodie Whittaker). He is a retired bus driver in remission from cancer. Graham will return for the show's twelfth series in 2020.[1]



Graham O'Brien is introduced in the eleventh series premiere, "The Woman Who Fell to Earth" (2018)[2]. Graham is a retired bus driver and is married to Grace.[3] While travelling on a train in Sheffield, Graham and Grace are attacked by a strange creature, but are saved when the Doctor intervenes. Along with Grace's grandson Ryan Sinclair and PC Yasmin Khan, Graham helps the Doctor stop Tzim-Sha, an alien warrior on a rampage across Sheffield, but their victory costs Grace's life. After burying Grace, Graham joins Ryan and Yaz in helping to teleport the Doctor back to her missing spaceship, but they are inadvertedly swept along with her. After their consequential adventure in "The Ghost Monument", the Doctor agrees to take Graham, Ryan and Yaz back to Earth. They eventually return to Sheffield in "Arachnids in the UK", and Graham wrestles with his grief as he begins seeing apparitions of Grace in their home. Eventually, he decides to travel with the Doctor properly as he works through his grief.[4]

As they travel together, Ryan – who has always rejected Graham as a grandfather figure – thaws to him and their relationship improves. In "It Takes You Away", Graham is confronted by the apparent return of Grace while trapped in a mirror dimension. Despite the Doctor's pleas for Graham to recognise that Grace has been created by an alien force to tempt him away from the real world, he struggles to reject her; however, he comes to recognise her as an imposter when she is seemingly happy to leave Ryan in peril. After they escape, Ryan calls Graham "Granddad" for the first time.[5] In the series finale, "The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos", Graham is confronted by Tzim-Sha's return and vows to avenge Grace's death, despite the Doctor's threat that she won't travel with a killer. Graham does come face with Tzim-Sha, but with Ryan's help he instead apprehends him and locks him in a stasis chamber.[6]

Other media[edit]

In September 2018, three new novels were announced, one featuring Graham O'Brien. They are titled The Good Doctor, Molten Heart and Combat Magicks, with Graham appearing primarily in The Good Doctor.[7]

Casting and development[edit]

On 22 October 2017, it was announced that Walsh had been cast as a companion in the eleventh series of Doctor Who, and would appear alongside Jodie Whittaker in 2018.[8] Walsh had been a favourite for the role since rumours of his casting began in August 2017.[9][10] Walsh had previously appeared in spin off series The Sarah Jane Adventures two-part story The Day of the Clown as Elijah Spellman/Odd Bob the Clown.[11]

On 9 December 2018, it was confirmed that Walsh would return as Graham for series 12, with the series already in production and due to air in early 2020.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

Bradley Walsh has received very positive reviews for his performance of Graham by fans and critics alike. Radio Times Paul Jones said ‘of the rest of the Tardis team, Bradley Walsh as Graham is the stand-out, a really believable and likeable character and able to convey such a range of emotion in just a few looks.’ Kimberley Bond added ‘Bradley Walsh’s turn as Graham O’Brien has stunned pretty much everyone as he balances comedy with more tender scenes – reminding us that he actually is a proper actor and not just the host of The Chase.’ Huw Fullerton said that Graham has been the ‘surprise emotional powerhouse’ of the new series.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Doctor Who Series 12 Announcement". Doctor Who. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  2. ^ Writer Chris Chibnall, Director Jamie Childs, Producer Nikki Wilson (7 October 2018). "The Woman Who Fell to Earth". Doctor Who. Series 11. Episode 1. Cardiff. BBC. BBC One.
  3. ^ "Series 11, Doctor Who - Graham O'Brien - BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  4. ^ Writer Chris Chibnall, Director Sallie Aprahamian, Producer Alex Mercer (28 October 2018). "Arachnids in the UK". Doctor Who. Series 11. Episode 4. Cardiff. BBC. BBC One.
  5. ^ Writer Ed Hime, Director Jamie Childs, Producer Nikki Wilson (2 December 2018). "It Takes You Away". Doctor Who. Series 11. Episode 9. Cardiff. BBC. BBC One.
  6. ^ Writer Chris Chibnall, Director Jamie Childs, Producer Nikki Wilson (9 December 2018). "The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos". Doctor Who. Series 11. Episode 10. Cardiff. BBC. BBC One.
  7. ^ Marcus (21 September 2018). "New Thirteenth Doctor Books". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  8. ^ "Doctor Who: Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill and Sharon D Clarke join Jodie Whittaker as regular cast members". Radio Times. 22 October 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  9. ^ Fullerton, Huw (22 August 2017). "Is Bradley Walsh REALLY the new Doctor Who companion?". Radio Times. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Doctor Who: Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill and Sharon D Clarke join Jodie Whittaker as regular cast members". Radio Times. 22 October 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Bradley Walsh has already been in Doctor Who universe". Digital Spy. 23 October 2017. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  12. ^ "Doctor Who half-term report – how is Jodie Whittaker's first series doing so far?".

External links[edit]