Why It Matters That Bill Potts is the First Openly Gay Companion on ‘Doctor Who’
Per BBC, Pearl Mackie confirmed that her character Bill Potts, who will be the second black female companion on BBC’s long running sci-fi phenomenon Doctor Who will also be the first openly gay companion in the show’s history.
This is especially important considering that, while there have been portrayals of gay and bisexual characters on the show (John Barrowman’s Captain Jack Harkness, Alex Kingston’s River Song, and Neve McIntosh’s Vastra), there hasn’t been a main companion who would be considered LGBTQA+.
SOURCE: RadioTimes & BBC
It certainly appears that BBC is taking demands for more diversity and representation in Doctor Who more seriously. Not only is Bill Potts a black female but she is also openly gay. There is something to be said for the intersection of different identities there that will certainly prove satisfying on such a progressive show. Pearl Mackie’s portrayal of Bill Potts represents a step in a promising direction not only for Doctor Who but also for the BBC.
It is important that people around the world see intersectional identities represented on-screen, especially in the characters that are companions on the show because they are often the most relatable. The Doctor is frequently seen in all his incarnations as a rather deified and unattainable figure; just human enough but not nearly human enough. The companions, on the other hand, often represent the regular old person going through their daily routines, and even, arguably, the viewers themselves. The fact that Pearl Mackie will be playing only the second black companion (after Freema Agyeman’s Martha Jones) is troubling but exciting.
While this is a promising development, the logical next step is for the next Doctor to not be a straight white male. As Peter Capaldi announced that he would be leaving Doctor Who after its upcoming 10th season, it is important, now more than ever for that role to be filled by a Person of Color that also may be an LGBTQA+ character as well. I can honestly say that, for the first time in a long time, I feel excited and proud to be watching Doctor Who again.
We will be sure to keep you all posted on future updates with Doctor Who.
Season 10 of Doctor Who premiers on BBC1 and BBC America Saturday April 15th, 2017.