Doctor Who season 10 is getting ready to premiere next month and, while it was already shaping up to be a pretty monumental season of the popular BBC sci-fi series, it just got even more importance placed upon it. Not only will the Doctor be getting a new companion in the form of Bill Potts, who is being played by Pearl Mackie, but this particular companion is going to be groundbreaking. It turns out that Bill is going to be the first openly gay companion in the history of Doctor Who.
Pearl Mackie will be hanging out with Peter Capaldi's Doctor this season on Doctor Who, which will be his last. It is unclear if Bill will be sticking around after season 10 as well, but no matter how long she is around, she is going to make her mark. As reported by BBC, Bill will be openly gay and it is something that will be addressed in a very upfront way, very quickly in the new season. Here is what Pearl Mackie had to say about it.
"Yeah, Bill's gay. 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. 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 recognize yourself on screen is important."
Those familiar with Doctor Who know that Bill won't be the first gay character in the show's long, storied history. But she will be the first gay, or at least openly gay, companion. In the past, Doctor Who has featured other gay characters like John Barrowman's Captain Jack Harkness, Neve McIntosh's Vastra and Alex Kingston's River Song. But having a character like Bill, who will likely appear in every episode of season 10, is significant. Though, Pearl Mackie makes it clear that, while her sexuality is an important part of her character, it doesn't define her and it doesn't sound like it will be something that is handled as such.
"[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."
Outside of the news that the Doctor's new companion will be gay in Doctor Who season 10, there are some other significant elements to this new season as well. For one, it will be the last with Steven Moffat as showrunner. Come Doctor Who season 11, it will be Broadchurch showrunner Chris Chibnall in charge. He will be working with a relatively clean slate as well, since season 10 will be the last to feature Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. There haven't been any announcements made in regards to his replacement, but the oddsmakers are betting heavy on the idea that the next Doctor will be played by a woman. The rumored frontrunner is Doctor Strange star Tilda Swinton. Outside of that, Skyfall and Spectre star Ben Whishaw is also seen as a likely candidate to man the Tardis after season 10.
Doctor Who is a truly massive show and it has been away for a while, so new episodes of any kind are going to get the attention of fans. But between Peter Capaldi exciting and Bill being openly gay, this season could be something truly special. Doctor Who season 10 will consist of 12 episodes and is set to premiere on BBC April 15.