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.
“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.
— Doctor Who Page (@DWPageOFFICIAL) March 31, 2017
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.