Doctor Who’s romance between Yaz & The Doctor due to fan support according to producer

The latest series of Doctor Who finally confirmed something fans have been speculating for some time – Yaz has feelings for The Doctor, and The Doctor knows it. But despite fan speculation that a romance between the two had been in the works since the beginning of Jodie Whittaker’s run as the Thirteenth Doctor on the show began, and Mandip Gill’s Yasmin Khan (Yaz) was introduced as one of The Doctor’s friends, Producer Matt Strevens corrected this assumption during panels at last weekends Gallifrey One, a fan convention that takes place annually in Los Angeles.

“Jodie had brought [the Thasmin – the portmanteau for the Thirteen/Yasmin ship – content] to set after the first season, and said ‘there’s speculation out there’ and we hadn’t really thought about it,” says Strevens. “But it became quite a big thing, and if you think about the history of Doctor Who since Russell [T. Davies] brought it back, every companion story with the Doctor is a love story.”

With the seeds of the idea planted in the creative teams heads by the fans, they slowly started to introduce the idea into the show. Starting with Gill, who says she began to change the way she played the character of Yaz and her feelings for The Doctor even before Chris Chibnall (Showrunner, EP) officially decided to take the pair in that direction, going so far as to play Yaz as falling in love with The Doctor.

That was only the beginning, and with a strong push from Whittaker, Chibnall finally started to work the relationship explicitly into the text when planning Season 12. “I think she thought it was quite funny that people had read that into it, and she thought it was fun, and it was something that [Chibnall] wanted to play with.”

The shift in the relationship could by some have been read by some at first as a simply a change in the dynamic in the TARDIS after the Season 11 departure of Graham O’Brien (Bradley Walsh) and Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole), but the newest addition to the TARDIS, Dan Lewis (John Bishop), quickly catches on and makes a point of confronting both Yaz and The Doctor about their feelings. “I think the way that Mandip did it and the way that Jodie’s Doctor reacts is brilliant,” says Strevens. “Yaz isn’t sure what these feelings are that she’s having, but they’re fundamental feelings. And I think it’s a testament to John Bishop’s performance that he’s sort of wheedling it out of them – which I think was brilliantly done.”

The Thirteenth Doctor’s time in the TARDIS is quickly coming to an end, with 3 specials already having been filmed to bring about Whittaker’s departure from the series, and the future of Doctor Who being handed back to the man who revived the show in 2005, Russel T. Davies. The first special, Eve of the Daleks, will air on Easter Sunday 2022. And Strevens assured those fans at Gallifrey One that there was “more to come” for Thasmin in these final episodes.

Whether or not that’ll include my theorized first time we see a companion actively reject a regeneration remains to be seen.

Doctor Who is produced by BBC Wales and airs on BBC One in the United Kingdom, and BBC America in the United States.