‘Doctor Who’: Bonnie Langford Talks Mel’s Latest UNIT Work & Reuniting With Ncuti Gatwa

Millie Gibson as Mel, Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor, and Bonnie Langford as Mel in 'Doctor Who' Season 1 Episode 7
BBC / Disney+

“I think Mel’s got the best of every world, don’t you?” Bonnie Langford asks of her Doctor Who companion, who traveled with the Sixth (Colin Baker) and Seventh (Sylvester McCoy) incarnations of the Time Lord. She’s returned since, most recently in the 60th anniversary special, “The Giggle,” and now will be seen in the June 10 episode, “The Legend of Ruby Sunday.”

Mel’s presence at UNIT in “The Giggle” was a surprise to the Fourteenth Doctor (David Tennant) as she handed him a tablet. “I love the bit,” Langford tells TV Insider. “I love the bit where Catherine [Tate as companion Donna Noble] turned around and said, ‘I thought I was the only redhead.’ And I had to go, ‘No, I was the first,’ showing that there could be this kind of jealousy between companions. There’s almost a, ‘I was a better companion than you.’ I just love that. Because you think, yeah, that probably would be the case because he’s been around with so many different people.”

Mel was also present for the Doctor’s bigeneration, which split him into two and debuted Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor. And right from that scene, it’s clear how fun Mel’s dynamic is with him.

“Isn’t it great? I’d never met Ncuti before until he came on the set and he’s this ray of light and he’s very beautiful to look at as well,” Langford raves. “And we just connected. Isn’t that funny? I mean, just literally, I felt like I’d known him all my life or his life probably. There was just fun in the air, and yet there was a great sense of sincerity and authenticity, and we just laughed. And I loved the fact that that moment that could have been made into something very melodramatic and big and all these things, actually what we did was we laughed because it was a moment of celebration and joy and laughter, and there was this unexpected development where the Doctor didn’t have to die, he stayed around.”

She continues, “It was the best of every world. And then this new guy comes along with this great energy and this great outlook, and Mel is there, having not been around for years and years and years, I’ve been off doing my own thing. To be part of that was very exciting and to connect with Ncuti that way, and every time we see each other, either as Mel and the Doctor or as Bonnie and Ncuti, we just hug and laugh and scream of joy.”

Langford and Gatwa will be seeing each other again on Doctor Who in “The Legend of Ruby Sunday.” The official description reads: “As the Doctor and UNIT investigate Ruby’s [Millie Gibson] past, horrifying secrets from Christmas Eve are revealed, and the mysterious Triad Technology unleashes the greatest evil of all.”

As trailers have shown, Mel is still working at UNIT, and as part of that, Langford previews, “she has been placed in Triad because UNIT’s thinking that there is something quite suspicious about this enterprise. And so Mel is in there basically to get the intel on it all and report back. She’s very good at all that. She’s quite a nosy parker. She loves finding out other people’s business, but also she’s very good at her job and she shows how efficient she is. What she doesn’t let on is the fact that she’s not being efficient for Triad, she’s being efficient for UNIT.”

Once the Doctor becomes involved, “she’s absolutely thrilled because she knows that then we’re going to go up a level,” according to Langford. “She’s just there to do the right thing for the universe. And yet at the same time, she’s able to use her technical abilities and her way of charming people to get the information that she wants.”

It seems like Mel could be quite busy; after all, the end of “The Giggle” revealed that she and the Fourteenth Doctor, who settled on Earth with Donna and her family, did take a trip in the TARDIS.  “We go to the Gilded Age,” Langford recalls with a laugh. So is she still traveling with him while working for UNIT?

“I think Mel’s got the best of every world, don’t you? She can dip in and out of all these Doctors that she knows,” she says. “I don’t think she wants to go off traveling for good, but she loves the odd adventure here and there. It’s a bit like a holiday. She likes to keep that connection with the old and the new. Also anyone who goes and travels with the Doctor sees things beyond their wildest imagination, and once you’ve had that fire within you, it’s like traveling. You just want to do it again. When you get home, you think, ‘Oh, I think I’ll go somewhere else now.’ It gives you that bug, and she’s always had that in her.”

What are your theories about Triad? What are you enjoying most about having Mel back? Let us know in the comments section, below.

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