After last season of Doctor Who saw the emotional departure of Clara Oswald, the show’s 10th outing since regenerating back in 2005 will introduce a new face into the TARDIS — as well as a somewhat familiar one. Pearl Mackie has joined the cast as Bill Potts and Little Britain star Matt Lucas will be reprising his role as Nardole from past Christmas Specials. They’ll be joining up with current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, to form the new TARDIS trio in what has been confirmed as Capaldi’s final season in the role.
Getting the Doctor’s companion right is one of the most vital parts of the show and has been ever since Ian, Barbara, and Susan first joined William Hartnell’s Doctor back in the ’60s. These characters give the audience an entry point to the series and a figure to relate to while the Doctor is having his more alien moments. Companions also allow for exposition and give the show’s title character an emotional or comedic foil. It’s no coincidence that unpopular periods in the show’s history have often coincided with unpopular companions.
In a new video published by Fathom Events (via EW), several of Doctor Who‘s cast and crew — including showrunner Steven Moffat — speak about the challenges of casting a new companion. The behind-the-scenes clip comes from ‘Becoming the Companion’, a bonus feature that will be screened at the cinematic release of the season 10 premiere. In the video, Moffat reaffirms: “casting a new companion is every bit as difficult as casting a new Doctor.”
Clearly, the importance of crafting and casting an effective companion hasn’t been lost on those at the BBC. Furthermore, the behind-the-scenes footage and interviews will likely be a welcome bonus to the Whovians attending the season 10 screenings in April and after seeing the episode, Mackie’s debut performance as Bill will surely be the hottest topic of conversation, making this bonus feature all the more relevant.
Of course one question hanging over Bill as Doctor Who heads into season 10 is how long she might last in the role given that both Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat will be leaving after this batch of episodes. With new showrunner Chris Chibnall set to step into Moffat’s shoes and a new Doctor on the horizon, a full-scale clean slate might just be in order, meaning that regardless of how Mackie is received, she could wind up a one-season wonder.
With that said, there are plenty of instances in Doctor Who history of companions sticking around after a Doctor’s regeneration and it can often be useful for the show to have a familiar face on-screen to help fans get accustomed to the new actor in the title role. A decent portion of Who fans believe that Capaldi had more than just one season left in him and that his departure is somewhat premature. It would be a shame if by the end of season 10, the same can be said of Bill Potts.
Doctor Who premieres April 15 on BBC1 and BBC America.
Source: Fathom Events (via EW)