The Doctor has a new companion… and she is openly gay. Actress Pearl Mackie just revealed that her character, Bill Potts, will be the first openly gay companion in the long-running BBC sci-fi series “Doctor Who.”
“Yeah, Bill’s gay. It shouldn’t be a big deal in the 21st Century. It’s about time isn’t it?” Mackie told the BBC. “That representation is important, especially on a mainstream show.”
While this marks the first time that The Doctor’s main companion is openly gay, in the past the series has featured gay and bisexual characters. Such is the case of Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), Vastra (Neve McIntosh) and River Song (Alex Kingston).
According to the BBC, Bill’s sexuality will be revealed “pretty much straightaway in her second line of dialogue,” when the series returns April 15. “It’s important to say people are gay, people are black – there are also aliens in the world as well, so watch out for them,” Mackie joked. “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 recognize yourself on screen is important.”
Mackie made it clear that being gay is not what defines Billy. “[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,” she concluded.
“Doctor Who” returns to BBC America on Saturday, April 15 at 9 p.m. This will be the last season in which Peter Capaldi will portray the 12th Doctor. A successor has yet to be named.