“It shouldn’t be a big deal in the 21st Century,” Mackie said in a recent interview with the BBC, which first broke the news. “Representation is important, especially on a mainstream show.”
According to the BBC, the reveal is first made in Mackie’s second line of dialogue in the season premiere. And while the actresses stresses that Bill’s sexuality should not be all that defines her, she also recognizes the significance of portraying the first openly gay companion, and the importance of diversity on television.
“[Being gay] is not the main thing that defines her character,” she said. “It’s something that’s part of her and something that she’s very happy and very comfortable with.
“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.”
Mackie succeeds Jenna Coleman, whose Clara Oswald made her final appearance in the Season 9 finale. Her inaugural Doctor Who season will also serve as Peter Capaldi’s last, who in January confirmed that he would exit the role of Time Lord following Season 10. Showrunner Steven Moffat is also on his way out, and will be replaced by Broadchurch scribe Chris Chibnall in Season 11.
Will you be tuning in to see Mackie’s debut in the Season 10 premiere of Doctor Who?