Actress Pearl Mackie has revealed that she will play Bill Potts, the first openly gay companion on the long-running British sci-fi series Doctor Who.
While the series has had openly gay and bisexual character’s before, such as Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and River Song (Alex Kingston), they’ve never cast an openly gay main companion. In an interview with BBC, Mackie summed up what we’re all thinking: “Yeah, Bill’s gay. It shouldn’t be a big deal in the 21st century. It’s about time, isn’t it?” said Mackie. The actress also spoke on the importance of representation in television and film, especially such a high-profile show like Doctor Who. “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,” she said.
According to BBC, Bill Potts’ sexuality will be revealed almost immediately at the start of the season. However, Mackie makes it clear that Potts’ sexuality is not her defining characteristic. “[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 said.
Doctor Who returns to BBC on April 15 at 9 p.m. This will be the final season to showcase Peter Capaldi as The Doctor. The next Doctor has yet to be announced, but a lot of people are suggesting a woman should be cast, because, as Mackie put it, it’s about time.