Huge news in the world of Doctor Who was just revealed today. According to an interview on BBC News, Pearl Mackie's character, Bill, the new companion for the tenth season of Doctor Who, will be openly gay. While Bill won't be the first gay or bisexual character on the show, she is the first openly gay companion, the report confirms, and Bill's sexual orientation will be revealed right away in the character's second line of dialog.
"It shouldn't be a big deal in the 21st Century. It's about time isn't it?" Mackie said. "That representation is important, especially on a mainstream show."
Mackie elaborated on why she feels representation is important, 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. 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."
While fans are likely to argue the semantics of the "first" moniker, the BBC report notes:
Gay and bisexual characters have featured in Doctor Who before, such as Captain Jack and River Song, but this is the first time the Doctor's companion has been openly gay.
Doctor Who Season 10 premieres on April 15 on BBC One and BBC America.