Subtle thing worth noting, I think: the current production team has changed up the terminology again. As suggested by the trailers, it’s no longer the Doctor and companions. Officially, in retrospect, all allies of the Doctor – companions, regulars, semi-regulars – are now referred to as friends.
Which I guess is an upgrade of sorts, much as companion is a step up from assistant. It’s a bit nondescript, but I guess that’s the point. It’s just interesting to see it projected backwards, and to observe what happens as a result.
Like, all these little quibbles over whether the Brig was a companion or not, they’re gone now. He was a friend, much as Jo and Wilf and Ian and Barb and Katarina and Mickey Smith were friends. The show is an ensemble again, as it once was.
Melting down the special status is probably a good thing. It makes things more expansive, as they should be. And the daftness of excluding the Brig, who was a series regular for years and one of the Doctor’s very closest allies, just because he didn’t regularly take trips in the TARDIS, while including someone like Katarina who was around for, like, 75 minutes before she kicked it and had no idea what was happening around her, seems absurd.
Anything to undermine the fan pedantry, I’ll get behind.