And no, I don’t mean that she will be gay full-time (as opposed to clocking out at the end of the day). Doctor Who fans know well that the Doctor has had adventures with queer companions before–both Jack Harkness and River Song fall under the spectrum of pan or omnisexual–but Bill Potts, the upcoming companion to be played by Pearl Mackie, has been revealed as the first full-time TARDIS pal who happens to be gay.
At least, so far as we know. (Turlough, I’m looking at you.)
Pearl Mackie recently revealed this to the BBC in an interview saying, “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.” She went on to point out that being gay was not the defining feature of Bill’s character, just a part of her indentity that she is entirely comfortable with. According to the BBC, Bill’s sexuality is revealed straight out the gate, in her second line of dialogue.
While Doctor Who has not been shy about having queer characters in its current incarnation (in addition to Jack and River, Madame Vastra and Jenny occupied a distinct corner of the Whoniverse for a couple of years), this will be the first time that a character who occupies the TARDIS for a full season alongside the the Doctor is gay. It also makes Bill the first prominent and openly queer person of color in the show’s half-century history.
*throws confetti everywhere, all the time, forever*
As this is Peter Capaldi’s final season, the next Doctor will also get to interact with Bill, which leads to a fun possible switch-up: The current frontrunner for the part is Phoebe Waller-Bridge (who is also set to play a role in the upcoming Han Solo movie). Bill’s not into guys, but what if the Doctor regenerated into a woman, and Bill was suddenly like “…you’re cute, though.”
I don’t even care if a romance develops at that point, either way it would be ADORABLE.
Having a gay companion around for the foreseeable future is an exciting move for the show, particularly someone who seems as funny and endearing as Bill does at first blush. We’ll have to wait and see what’s in store, but Season Ten is thankfully closer than ever.
Doctor Who will return to your televisions on April 15.