Doctor Who: "Best of Yaz" Compilation Video Lets Yaz Down

The Doctor Who YouTube Channel was quick in releasing a "Best of Yaz" compilation video highlighting current companion Yazmin Khan, played by Mandip Gill. There's an awful lot from the 13th Doctor's (Jodie Whittaker) first episode here. And the Doctor does a lot more talking and doing than Yaz. She just stands there reacting to the Doctor, which might sum up a lot of how the show has treated Yaz so far. Yaz went through her first series without much of a personality, frankly.

Doctor Who:
Mandip Gil as Yaz in "Doctor Who", BBC

Those blank spaces were filled by Gill's own charisma and personality, which is usually what happens with an underwritten character. She was a community liaison in the police force, undervalued and underutilized, and frustrated with that. She had a loving but quarrelsome family that crimped her style. She was overshadowed by Graham (Bradley Walsh) and Ryan's (Tosin Cole) story as they coped with the death of Grace and tried to establish their own familial relationship.

The seminal story "Demons of the Punjab", written by playwright Vinay Patel, tackled the violence and tragedy of India's partition from Pakistan and focused on Yaz's family history and how she came to be. The terrible irony of this compilation video is that virtually all the other characters, including the Doctor, have more screentime and stuff to do than Yaz. It's like a summation of the Chris Chibnall era – the title character ends up sidelined in her own program!! The clips focus more on plot than the actual character the video is supposed to be about! Did Chibnall oversee the compilation? Even the Steampunk Dalek shows up and overshadows everyone! Why show the "Timeless Child" segments that Yaz isn't even in or part of?? Where are the scenes that showed Yaz' feelings towards the Doctor that gave rise to the "Thasmin" 'shippers? Why end the video on The Master (Sacha Dewan) instead of Yaz?? Did a new person take over the editorial policy for these compilation videos? It's really strange to start reviewing this compilation videos when they're really just promotions for Doctor Who proper as the show is back.

Yaz spent her first season mostly reacting to situations. Her second series saw some insight in her backstory: she has a history of depression and ran away from home as a teenager and was helped by a kind police officer, which inspired her to join the police force. But that doesn't give her anymore of a personality than before. It's just background. Chibnall has a tendency to write types, ticks, catchphrases and quips in place of actual character. Doctor Who: Flux shows a bit more to Yaz, but these seem to be just traits: "from Yorkshire", "annoyed with the Doctor", "jaded", but at least the show is letting Gill show some of her comic timing.

Doctor Who: Flux is on Sundays, then streaming on BBC America and BBC iPlayer.

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About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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