No, New Companion Bill *Isn’t* From the 1980s

In the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine – #500, don’t you know! – Steven Moffat has talked about new companion, Bill, and has revealed that she’s not, as many have speculated, from the 1980s.

He says:

“She’s from now, yeah. I know there are rumours about her being from the 1980s, but she isn’t. She’s just wearing what young people are wearing now. I know that, because Pearl [Mackie] chose her outfit herself.”

Well, fashion – like all things – is cyclical, so I agree that 1980s trends are back “In” at the moment (a terrifying thought), so that does make sense. Nonetheless, it does feel somewhat like a missed opportunity. As you read this, you can no doubt hear the sighs of people who didn’t want just another modern-day companion. But it’s a bit unfair to judge already. Especially as, Moffat further reveals, we won’t meet Bill until next year:

“We’ll introduce her in the first episode of 2017, and she’ll run throughout that series. She’ll not appear in the 2016 Christmas special, because that would blow the series launch … So there’ll be somebody else – a different, guest companion – this Christmas, like how River Song played the companion role in last year’s special.

“How we first encounter her, and how we first encounter the Doctor next year, is very unusual for us…”

And as many suspected, Bill is short for Billie – unless Steven changes his mind – which is likely in tribute to Billie Piper, who played Rose Tyler in Moffat’s first televised story (apart from Curse of Fatal Death), The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances (2005).

The outfit Pearl Mackie wore in the short that introduced Bill to the world was quite a wonderful coincidence, featuring a Prince album t-shirt soon after he died. Brand manager, Edward Russell assures us:

So how does all this make you feel, dear reader? Annoyed? Excited? Nonplussed? Let us know below, won’t you?

  • TimeChaser

    1) So long as the Flock of Seagulls haircuts and the quarterback shoulder pads in women’s suit jackets don’t come back, I’m good.

    2) It really is time we had another non-contemporary companion.

    3) We don’t need any bloody tribute to Billie Piper! I prefer my notion that her name would be something like Wilhelmina, and she hates it so she goes by Bill instead. Sort of like the whole Dorothy/Ace thing.

    • Anonymous

      The problem is, name changing has been done so many times before. Rupert = Danny. Ace = Dorothy. Amelia = Amy. Even Clara said she hated her name. It just gets dull after a while.

      • TimeChaser

        True, but then it’s something people do in real life, so if it works I have no problem using the idea again.

      • FrancoPabloDiablo

        Amy isn’t a name change though. Rather, it is an abbreviation (Just like Mel was short for Melanie – though it could also be short for Melissa).

  • Dr. Moo

    BLOODY HEII DO WE NEED A TRIBUTE TO ROSIE-SUE?! ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • TimeChaser

      Billie Piper gave us the Moment, which at least partially made up for playing Rose. Let’s leave it at that.

      • Dr. Moo

        And even as Rose she did a good job. It’s the character I (rightly) despise, Piper is great.

        • y’vmtwthtrrblft

          NOOOOO!!! ROSE WAS THE BEST!!!!!

  • Dr. Moo

    Another companion from the present? For goodness sake change the broken record! When was the last time the companion wasn’t from the present? 1981 (Nyssa, Logopolis). Ugh!

    Well whatever. I’ll judge Bill on her own merits and the signs are good so far.

    • TimeChaser

      Although technically I suppose Nyssa was from the present, just on another planet? Unless all that entropy stuff was also timey-wimey.

      • Dr. Moo

        Still, not Earth. Ever since her second story there’s always been someone contemporary in the TARDIS.

        • TimeChaser

          Except for Jack, who was barely there for long, and Adam, who barely counts since 2012 is hardly “the future” even from the standard of 2005.

          • John McJ

            But as Moo said there was a contemporary there; Rose.

          • TimeChaser

            To split hairs, yes. 😛

          • Dr. Moo

            Like how Turlough and Kamelion were present when Tegan (later, Peri) was there.

    • FrancoPabloDiablo

      Turlough? He just happened to be on present-day Earth but wasn’t ‘from’ here.

      • John McJ

        But Tegan was still there.

  • John McJ

    Rose Tyler can drop dead and go to hell.

    • Dr. Moo

      Bit harsh – the people in hell have suffered enough without inflicting Rose on them!

      • TimeChaser

        She can join Hitler in the cupboard.

        • Dr. Moo

          Poor Hitler! (Did I really just write that???)

          • John McJ

            Don’t worry, it’s justified by context.

          • Mark North

            Considering that it’s Hitler, we’re giving you a lot of leeway…

          • Dr. Moo

            Lighthearted jest, that’s all it was meant to be.

        • FrancoPabloDiablo

          Wow, can’t believe we are actually comparing Rose Tyler to Hitler!?!?! 🙂

          Priorities a bit out of whack me thinks!

  • y’vmtwthtrrblft

    Rose was so awesome and she loved the doctor and she crossed universes for him!

    • Dr. Moo

      “She loved the Doctor.”
      He’s 9 centuries her senior!!! Look up the word Paedophile in the dictionary (probably best not Google it).

      “She crossed universe for him.”
      Like a creepy psycho-stalker! In the process she came close to destroying both universes. And how is it a good role example for young girls to teach them that their sole aim in life is to chase down that guy you fancy???

      • Edward Delingford

        That’s the bit about Rose I find the most unpalatable. Going from the independent young woman we see on the bus in ‘Rose’ knowing that there must be more to life than chips and hanging out with friends and the daily grind of life with a nagging mother. Rather than accepting that, she takes up the challenge of going with the doctor. During most of series one we see her fulfilling her potential and becoming an amazing human. Then in series 2 this is entirely reversed and she becomes an infantilised Mary Sue for RTD so that he can fawn over David Tennant’s doctor and fantasize about …. (we will just leave that sentence unfinished). Rose then becomes obsessed with the doctor, abandons her independence, she is written purely to purr over how awesome and ‘sexy’ this new doctor is and she becomes obsessively jealous over her ‘territory’ as seen in her encounters with both Reinette and Sarah Jane. Finally, as the story progresses, she treats the loyal Micky appallingly, turns her back on her mother who might be a bit of a nag, but who has given her a pretty great upbringing and is even willing to sacrifice humanity just so she can stay with the doctor, because she thinks he ‘belongs’ to her. Series 3 and 4 shows her stalking him creepily until she gets her reward with her sex toy doctor.
        I *love* how much Steven Moffat hated everything about series 2 Rose and wrote The Moment to show that Billie is a brilliant actress and tried to rehabilitate the character by delinking her from the creepy ‘relationship’ with the 10th Doctor. It’s not just that Rose after series one is written as about the worst kind of role model any young woman could have, but it also subverted and perverted how the 10th doctor was written, so rather than having an ancient alien travelling through space and time and occasionally encountering humans as just another species, we have the tumblr-friendly cool mockney dude who is all image and no substance and is a chick magnet who seems only to exist so young women can fawn over him and tell him how wonderful he is. The obsession with Rose cast a shadow over the entire 10th doctor’s era and hampered any character development for that incarnation from the start. I am sure David Tennant’s doctor wouldn’t be so widely despised by longer term Who viewers if Wose (the post series one version of Rose) hadn’t existed.
        As always, love and respect Billie, just can’t abide Wose and the messages that character sends to young girls about their self worth and autonomy. Given me Amy who doesn’t give a damn and is flawed and interesting, rather than set up to be perfect or Martha who learns to get out of an infatuation with a toxic narcissist and finds her own path to the future or even Clara who has a career, is sensible and intelligent and moves from the apprentice to the master under the guidance of first the 11th and then the 12th doctor. These are much better role models.
        Rose is a lot of what is good about new Who, while Wose is everything that is bad.
        Not sure what possessed Steven Moffat to call the Pearl ‘Bill’ but if it’s a way of poking further fun at the ghastly Wose, then fair enough, but why call back the worst written companion we have ever had in the show? Gigantic trolling on his part or a way of finally removing the dead hand of that character? Either way, we know we are in very safe hands with Peter as her doctor and the small snippets we have seen and the BTS material show that Pearl and Peter have a lovely low key chemistry and affection already. I think we may be in for a really fun pairing with lots of laughs.

        • TimeChaser

          I would love to save your comment for posterity, because you sum up the argument against the worst excesses of the RTD era perfectly.

          • Dr. Moo

            I’ve already copy/pasted it into the notes on my phone.

      • Mark North

        You’d be surprised how many young, and not so young, girls already chase guys…

        • Dr. Moo

          I get that; I’m just saying that this shouldn’t be their only motivation in life and that’s why Rose is a bad example.

          • TimeChaser

            Speaking of bad examples, I was just thinking today about Martha’s family situation. Now of course broken homes and divorced/separated parents is a reality, but I suddenly realized how terribly cliched RTD had made it all, with the father’s ditzy arm-candy girlfriend. It felt more like a bad sitcom than a serious presentation of a sad fact of life. “Oh, look at how messed up her family is. Let’s all have a laugh at their expense.”

  • FrancoPabloDiablo

    Whoever else appears next on Billie’s T-shirts – be very, very scared!

    • Dr. Moo

      “You are authorised to use Bill’s shirt.”
      “What?! NO, not Bill’s shirt!!!”

  • Ranger

    Hmm. Would prefer a non-contemporary, non-Earth companion. And a tribute to Billie Piper – just no.

    Did we ever get to the bottom of why after 2 series of normal diction, Rose/Billie suddenly started to slur her words?

    • Dr. Moo

      I don’th thinkth sssho.

    • Edward Delingford

      Dental work I think. In series 4 her teeth do look more prominent but she might also have lost a fair bit of weight so perhaps her face just looked smaller in relation to her teeth. Or maybe Billie was struggling to recover the exact accent she had used in the first two series and was winging it. Either way it was certainly a distraction and didn’t help when she was already lumbered with the awful characterisation she got in series 4. I really like Billie, just not Wose.

    • Peter Rabytt

      I watched Turn Left the other day, after reading something about it, and the slurred speech is even worse than I remembered. It’s ridiculous! There had to be something wrong, it was no way her trying to recapture the accent. Even if that was the case, she failed miserably as its completely different. She looks and talks as though her face is paralysed. It really is bizarre and very noticeable.