Pearl Mackie’s “Bill” becomes Doctor Who’s first openly gay companion


When Doctor Who returns to BBC One on April 15, the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) will meet a new friend, Bill Potts. Now, Pearl Mackie, the actress who plays Bill, has confirmed that her character is openly gay, saying that “…representation is important, especially on a mainstream show“.

It shouldn’t be a big deal in the 21st Century,” she told the BBC. “I remember watching TV as a young mixed race girl not seeing many people who looked like me, so I think being able to visually recognise yourself on screen is important. [Being gay] is not the main thing that defines her character – it’s something that’s part of her and something that she’s very happy and very comfortable with.

For series 10, ‘Bill’ and the Doctor will be joined on their TARDIS travels by Nardole (Matt Lucas), as they battle a horde of monsters old and new including the Daleks, the Ice Warriors, Missy (Michelle Gomez), and, wait for it…the original 60s vintage Cybermen!

The official synopsis of the premiere episode teases a “secret mission” for the Doctor as he finally comes face-to-face with his new companion. Series 10 will see The Doctor stranded on Earth taking a job as a lecturer which is where he meets Bill in a chance encounter.

Once the TARDIS becomes functional again, the Doctor takes Bill on the ride of her life in hopes of expanding her horizons as she begins to see her new friend in a different light.

He thinks she’s very clever, and deserves more than she has, but has to be encouraged to realize how valuable she is,” Capaldi said. “We keep saying she’s new but in a way she’s a classic companion, because she doesn’t know anything at all about the Doctor or his existence or space and time or Daleks.”

“He’s able to adopt an almost teaching role in showing her these delights that are available to him. But of course it spins out of control, as ever, because it’s the Doctor. He has to explain himself more, and explain the universe more, but in a way that’s more old fashioned, I think.

Doctor Who S10 returns with “The Pilot”, Saturday, 15 April on BBC1