OpinionTelevision & Film

WHO KNOWS: New Companion Pearl Mackie Announced!


Earlier today, the BBC announced the name of the actress to become the new Companion to Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor with this teaser promo:

BBC America quotes Mackie:

I’m incredibly excited to be joining the Doctor Who family. It’s such an extraordinary British institution, I couldn’t be prouder to call the TARDIS my home! 

 Peter Capaldi is such a brilliant actor, and his Doctor is such a wacky and wonderful character, I can’t wait to see what adventures are in store for him and Bill throughout time and space. Reading the script at the audition I thought Bill was wicked. Fantastically written, cool, strong, sharp, a little bit vulnerable with a bit of geekiness thrown in – I can’t wait to bring her to life, and to see how she develops through the series. 

I always loved stage combat at drama school so I can’t wait to get on set and kick some evil monsters into the next dimension!

Shooting the trailer was absolutely mental, there were pyrotechnics and smoke and I met my first Dalek! I’m not sure it will ever become ‘the norm’ seeing crazy monsters on set, but I cannot wait to meet some more! The weirder the better, bring it on!”

And from Peter Capaldi:

“It is a genuine delight to welcome Pearl Mackie to Doctor Who. A fine, fine actress with a wonderful zest and charm, she’s a refreshing addition to the TARDIS and will bring a universe of exciting new possibilities to The Doctor’s adventures.

Fan speculation (and wish lists) has abounded on the internet ever since Jenna Coleman announced she was leaving the show, with several actors and actresses being hyped as contenders for the role. With each Companion serving as something of an audience surrogate since the beginnings of Doctor Who in 1963, many fans were calling for an Asian, Black or East Indian companion to more represent the multicultural society of the British Isles, as well as calls for a Companion who wasn’t from the contemporary UK, as they have been since the introduction of Rose Tyler in 2005.


Whether from the past or the future, or even from another planet, the call for something different has been pretty loud, and while we can speculate about some of the hints that the trailer drops – Bill’s clothes, the Doctor’s “back to the future” line – we still don’t have a lot of information about Bill at this point. Still, those clothes look awfully – in a good way – 80’s and evoke the 7th Doctor Companion Ace visually, as does the barrage of questions, which also has an echo of Donna Noble. Mackie is also only the second actress of color to be a regular Companion, with Freema Agyeman’s Martha Jones being the first, way back in 2007.

At 28, Mackie doesn’t have a huge list of credits. She graduated from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2010 and UK audiences may know her from playing Anne-Marie Frasier on the series Doctors in 2014. British Theatre audiences can see her performing currently in the National Theatre’s West End production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.

Time, of course, will tell what adventures await Mackie’s Bill, and how fans will take to her character. We have a bit of a wait ahead of us, with Doctor Who not returning to the screen until the Christmas Special, and the regular series not airing until 2017. And, of course, as we have more news, whether about Bill or the 10th Series, we’ll eagerly pass it along…

We are, after all, fans ourselves.



Timothy Harvey

Timothy Harvey is a Kansas City based writer, director, actor and editor, with something of a passion for film noir movies. He was the art director for the horror films American Maniacs, Blood of Me, and the pilot for the science fiction series Paradox City. His own short films include the Noir Trilogy, 9 1/2 Years, The Statement of Randolph Carter - adapted for the screen by Jason Hunt - and the music video for IAMEVE’s Temptress. He’s a former President and board member for the Independent Filmmakers Coalition of Kansas City, and has served on the board of Film Society KC.

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