Who Is Doctor Who’s Rumoured New Companion Varada Sethu?

This wouldn't be her first Russell T Davies show.

Varada Sethu
Photo: Mike Marsland/WireImage

No official announcement has yet been made by the BBC or production company Bad Wolf, but that hasn’t stopped Variety confirming, or IMDb listing, that Millie Gibson’s successor as Doctor Who companion will be Andor and Jurassic World Dominion actor Varada Sethu.

Sethu is rumoured to be filming with Ncuti Gatwa on series 15 already, and to fulfil the role of the Doctor’s new companion in all eight episodes of that series. So… who is she?

Cinta Kaz in Star Wars Andor

Tony Gilroy’s live-action Cassian Andor prequel series Star Wars: Andor aired in late 2021 on Disney+. Set five years before 2016 movie Rogue One, it’s about the formation of the Rebel Alliance in opposition to the fascistic Galactic Empire. In it, 32-year-old Sethu plays Cinta Kaz, a member of a rebel cell operating on the planet Aldhani who works alongside her partner Vel Sartha, a cousin of Senator Mon Mothma.

(Coincidentally, Sartha is played by Faye Marsay, who appeared as Shona in Doctor Who Christmas special “Last Christmas” opposite Peter Capaldi and Nick Frost, and who was rumoured to have been in contention for a permanent companion role on the show following Jenna Coleman’s departure.)

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Interviewed in 2022 about her role on Andor, Sethu explained that her work on Sky’s Strike Back was good preparation for the part, and that while she’d happily continue to be a self-described “action babe”, she would also “love drama and comedy and tragedy, whatever there is – everything!” She’ll get all of that plus aliens and more in Doctor Who.

From Sket to Strike Back and Jurassic World Dominion

Before Andor, Sethu played wildlife worker Shira in 2022 movie Jurassic World Dominion, and a series of police officers, army operatives and a CIA analyst in a variety of shows including Sky’s Strike Back, BBC One’s Hard Sun and Annika, and Prime Video’s Hanna. She also appeared with Jodie Comer in a couple of episodes of BBC One adultery hit Doctor Foster series two in 2017, and her first film role was in 2011 girl gang movie Sket.

You may also have seen Sethu as pregnant Naz in 2022 crime thriller I Came By starring Hugh Bonneville, and in an episode of Mrs Sidhu Investigates in 2023 (coincidentally, a show on which Sethu’s non-identical twin sister Abhaya Sethu worked as a casting assistant).

(Briefly) Already Appeared in an RTD Show

In 2016, Sethu starred alongside Maxine Peake in Russell T Davies’ BBC adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with a score by Doctor Who composer Murray Gold. She played fairy queen Titania’s attendant Peaseblossom, a supporting role with only four lines in the original play, but in this one, a bow and arrow to make up for it.

A Former Miss Newcastle

In 2010 and going by the first name “Vee”, an 18-year-old Sethu was crowned Miss Newcastle after a competition organised by Tyne Tees Models which involved photo shoots and fundraising for local learning disability charity the Percy Hedley Foundation.

According to the Chronicle Live, Sethu went on to academic success in her A Levels and earned a place to study veterinary science at Bristol University.

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Went to the Star-Making Drama School That Produced John Boyega, Letitia Wright, Regé-Jean Page…

Sethu’s attendance at the Identity School of Acting (IDSA) puts her in very good company. Femi Oguns’ schools in London, Manchester and LA offer part-time training and are famed for producing stars. They count I May Destroy You’s Michaela Coel, Star Wars’ John Boyega, Black Panther’s Letitia Wright and Bridgerton’s Regé-Jean Page, and now a rumoured new Doctor Who companion among their alumni.

Doctor Who returns in May to BBC One in the UK and Disney+ around the world.