Doctor Who has hinted about before with companion’s sexuality. With Bill Potts, they are, for the first time, making it official.
Doctor Who made waves yesterday afternoon when a video interview with Pearl Mackie, who plays upcoming companion Bill Potts all-but-confirmed that the newest companion will be our first contemporary Earthling to be out of the closet.
Speaking to the BBC, Mackie stated it plainly:
“It shouldn’t be a big deal in the 21st Century. It’s about time isn’t it? That representation is important, especially on a mainstream show.”
You would think wouldn’t you? And yet, this interview was the top story on nearly every site yesterday, with fans screaming with joy (and a few dripping disapprovals from the usual suspects.)
“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. 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. …It 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.”
It shouldn’t be a big deal, and yet it is. Because though the show has tried to be progressive in this department, so far their efforts have been vague at best. Everyone will immediately point to Jack Harkness back in the Davies era. But he was not seen as the “main” companion, that was Rose. (Once he was shunted off to the more “adult” Torchwood, and became the main lead, that was different. It also wasn’t actually on Doctor Who, except for guest cameos.)
The show has tried to suggest here and there that some of our companions are more fluid than others since the late eighties. But those attempts have either been squashed by the BBC (as was done with Ace back in the last series of the Classic Who serials) or, more recently couched as jokes, like with Clara and the Jane Austen references. (After all, her “serious” relationship was with a man.)
Personally, I think this is great because it means neither of the companions will be making googly eyes at the Doctor this season. And if we can all avoid that cliché for Moffat’s final spin with the series, I think we’ll all be better for it.
Check out the character portraits released today ahead of the series arrival:
Doctor Who series 10 arrives April 15th, 2017, on BBC One and BBC America.