Doctor Who has been around since 1963 and has tried to push boundaries each year it is on the air. The newest series will of course be the last one to feature Peter Capaldi as The Doctor. The BBC is now informing its audience that Pearl Mackie will also be portraying the first openly gay companion.
In a recent interview with BBC, Pearl Mackie said, “It shouldn’t be a big deal in the 21st Century. It’s about time isn’t it?” I definitely agree it shouldn’t be a big deal, but I think making a big announcement about it shows that it is still a big deal to the public at large. I believe it shouldn’t have needed a major announcement before the show airs.
Then there are many fans, myself included, that sat back and thought we have already seen openly gay companions before, haven’t we? The answer depends on your personal definition of companions. In my personal opinion, we have indeed seen other companions who were not heterosexual.
Off the top you have to include Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) who many will argue that he was actually omnisexual. He was indeed more open to any sexual encounter, so I can respect that argument. Perhaps linking the actor, who is openly gay, to the character is my own personal fault.
To that end, I would then argue for Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh) and Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart) who not only were companions of The Doctor, but were in an openly gay relationship. They play a big factor in helping Peter Capaldi’s Doctor to regain his memories. The argument people will make is that they were never long time companions of The Doctor. I would respectfully disagree with those who make that particular argument.
All these arguments aside, I am glad that Doctor Who embraces love in all it’s forms. The diversity on the show is always growing and portraying the issues the world faces daily. I wish all the best to Pearl Mackie and the direction her character will take.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to see if this new companion will stay on board when Chris Chibnall takes over the show. I still ask for a female Doctor, even more so if companion Bill will be on board. We have seen love stories between The Doctor and companions before, but not in a same-sex capacity. New worlds to explore for sure.
What do you think of Pearl Mackie’s character Bill being a gay companion? Do you believe, as I do, that she is not the first? Let us know in the comments below.