Check Out This Clip from Doctor Who: The Pilot (Also: Bill’s Gay)

With The Pilot, the first episode of Doctor Who Series 10, just around the metaphorical corner, the BBC has released snippets from one scene in the episode, and revealed that Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) will be the first openly gay companion.

Doctor Who: Pearl Mackie Interview

“I’m here to play the part as truthfully as possible.”

Pearl Mackie reveals that The Doctor is to be joined by his first openly gay companion.

#DoctorWho. Starts Saturday 15th April.

Posted by BBC One on Friday, 31 March 2017

The scene is very brief, but absolutely lovely. Glorious dialogue, linking the rhymes of physics with poetry. I love that. The Doctor also has a sonic screwdriver collection on display, as well as a photo of his granddaughter, Susan. Feel free to get excited by the fact the image is from the unaired pilot episode of Doctor Who, and will appear in a story called The Pilot. I did.

In other news, the BBC has confirmed what we’ve basically known for a while now: that new companion, Bill Potts is gay. As far as we know, her partner is Heather, played by Stephanie Hyam. Bill and Heather? Yep, it’s very likely a tribute to William and Heather Hartnell.

The news swept over social media faster than you can say, “Raxacoricofallapatorius”, and “Bill Potts” started trending. Pearl Mackie said:

“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.”

Okay, I hear you. “FIRST openly gay?!” you may cry. “What about Captain Jack?!” Well, the BBC incorrectly says he’s not a full-time companion (despite travelling with the Ninth Doctor between The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances and Bad Wolf/ The Parting of the Ways). Nonetheless, he wasn’t gay. He was omnisexual or pansexual; writers just sort of forgot about that and instead wrote him as gay for much of Torchwood. Clara Oswald was probably bisexual. And Madame Vastra never travelled extensively in the TARDIS (brief hops notwithstanding, as in The Snowmen).

Watch that clip, intermingled with the interview with Mackie, and without the subtitles, over at the BBC website.

  • Rick714

    that little quiet exchange of dialogue there at university is the best, most intriguing thing I’ve seen so far for series 10. Looking forward to it.

  • Dr. Moo (Cow)

    Love it already. I just know Bill’s gonna be wonderful!

  • Ranger

    So I started to type out a long diatribe about how this kind of announcement just perpetuates the myth that being gay is abnormal and something that has to be justified. And then I couldn’t be bothered, I’m just too tired and dis-spirited (and I don’t know if that has one s or two and I also can’t be bothered looking it up).

    • Philip

      I agree with you, which is why we’ve put that in brackets, as sort of “sub-news” if that makes sense. The problem is, we have to think about what’ll draw people in, and there are plenty of people who will be drawn in by that, just as much as those promised with a new clip from The Pilot, so we had to have it somewhere. It was a tough decision to make, but I hope we’ve done it without annoying too many. 🙂

      • bar “B.I.”O.

        I wish you’d have made the headline: ‘Susan! Look, look – it’s Susan! New clip form the Pilot. and btw there’s a good interview with Pearl Mackie being more mature than the marketing she’s used for.’
        Or even ‘great new clip of the Doctor and Bill makes the BBC news for the wrong reason.’

        • Philip

          Damn. Should’ve gone for the second title there. You should write our headlines, bar!

  • Helene M

    I like how they acknowledge that there are non-straight characters, who have travelled with the Doctor and still treat Bill like a sensation.

    I get what they’re trying to do. They’re afraid that the fans will make it a big deal and so they announce it beforehand. But by doing it like this THEY make it a big deal by elevating her to this speciel first-gay-companion status.

    Lizard woman and 1900-century woman married: only needs to be mentioned in the episode.
    Future guy wants to shag everything: only mentioned in the show.
    Bisexual companion: haven’t seen that far, so can’t comment on it. But I doesn’t seem like it was more than hinted at.
    Gay companion: “She’s gay, but it’s not a big deal. We’re announcing it way before the show starts and making it crystalclear and put a lot attention to the fact that IT IS NOT A BIG DEAL!¨I mean she’s the first gay companion, so it’s kind of big, but IT IS NOT A BIG DEAL!”

    I agree, it’s not a big deal. But they do their best to make it seem like it is.

    • Ranger

      I know, right? It’s just so boring. Just present her as a character and draw no attention to her sexuality, treat her partner exactly the same as all the heterosexual partners that have appeared in the series (which, you know, is usually pretty badly, but hey).

      • TimeChaser

        I always hope we’ll one day live in a world where such things are not made into a big deal. Gay people on TV (real or fictional), mixed-race couples in cereal commercials, etc. It’s the 21st century and its maddening how many people are still living in this weird mash-up of the Victorian and Dark Ages rolled into one.