Pearl Mackie, who plays the newest companion, Bill, on the upcoming season of Doctor Who, was interviewed about her character and revealed that Bill will be the first openly lesbian companion in the show’s 54 year history.
“It shouldn’t be a big deal in the 21st Century. It’s about time isn’t it?” Representation is important, especially on a mainstream show. 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,” Mackie confirms.
While Bill may be the first openly gay character, she’s not the first one to represent the LGBT community in Doctor Who. Jack Harkness, portrayed by John Barrowman, was the show’s very first openly queer character but his sexuality was never explicitly clear and we were also introduced to Vastra and Jenny, an interspecies lesbian couple who lived in Victorian London. Those were all recurring characters, though, so Bill will be the series’ first openly gay series regular
Bill and the Doctor return to small screens on April 15 in “A Star in Her Eye,” written by Steven Moffat and directed by Lawrence Gough.