Doctor Who has always been one of the most progressive shows on television. It’s premise of the last Time Lord travelling through space and time provides a lot of creative storytelling.
Over the years the show has never made a big deal about sexuality, characters just love who they love.
Those ideas will come to life in The Doctor’s new companion, Bill Potts, played by Pearl Mackie. The BBC has announced that Bill is The Doctor’s first openly gay companion. The fact that she’s Black makes this story even more groundbreaking.
“It shouldn’t be a big deal in the 21st Century. It’s about time isn’t it?” Mackie, told the BBC. “That representation is important, especially on a mainstream show.”
“It’s important to say people are gay, people are black…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,” said Mackie.
While Doctor Who has been ahead of the curve on issues of sexuality, race hasn’t been its strongest point of view. This is the tenth season and Bill is the second Black companion.
While the BBC is calling Bill The Doctor’s first openly gay companion, serious fans will argue that Captain Jack and River Song were also very open about their sexuality. Though fans categorize them as companions, the BBC refers to them as characters in the universe, but not technically companions.
The important part of this story is that one of the world’s most popular TV shows, has a lead character who is a Black lesbian and that’s serious progress.
Doctor Who premieres its tenth season Saturday, April 15 at 9 pm ET on BBC America.