Doctor Who has returned to our screens for its 10th (modern) season, which will be the last for both Peter Capaldi and Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat. However, this season is also the first for Pearl Mackie, who made her debut as the Doctor’s new companion, Bill Potts, in the new season premiere.
Mackie’s casting was announced almost a year ago, and it marks her first major television role. Prior to Doctor Who, Mackie was earning rave reviews for her role in The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Nighttime, in London’s West End. Maybe Mackie was busy with the play, or maybe she just had no onterest in sci-fi prior to her casting, but in an interview with Huffington Post, Mackie admitted she’s only ever seen one episode of Doctor Who:
“You know, I didn’t watch much of “Doctor Who” when I was a kid. I didn’t watch any of the feature series ― I think I’ve watched one episode. But obviously you’d have to be living in some type of a hole to not be aware of the show. After getting the job, I said to Steven and [executive producer] Brian [Minchin], “Look, give me the back catalog and let me watch everything.” And they said, “Well, what you’re doing at the moment is great. You’re bringing a really nice sort of freshness to it. And, you know, you experiencing things as Bill is kind of experiencing things seemed to work really well. So don’t watch it!”
And also, I kind of felt like as an actor watching someone play what is essentially your role [as a companion] and watching them do it so well, it would be hard not to borrow a little bit here and there, even subconsciously. And I really didn’t want to do that because I thought Bill was supposed to be completely fresh and completely new to this. So I thought it was best not to [watch].”
Mackie’s admittance might not go over well with some, who might also question why she auditioned for the role in the first place, but Mackie also revealed that she didn’t know she was going up for a role in Doctor Who; she was told the project was Mean Town, an anagram of Woman Ten. Still, while some might say she should know more about the show, her lack of Doctor Who knowledge paid of in the season 10 premiere.
While fans were worried about how the character of Bill Potts would actually come off following the early trailers, Mackie actually made a strong, likable debut; Bill was well-rounded, funny, strong, and her wide-eyed excited innocence over space and time travel was infectious. Mackie’s innocence about the Whoverse is in stark contrast to Capaldi, who has been a huge Doctor Who fan since childhood, and has asked Moffat to bring certain monsters back in his final season; the Mondasian Cybermen among them.
Rumors were rife that incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall would start his tenure with a clean slate, meaning Mackie would only be the companion for one season, but if she makes a strong and favorable enough impression, he could well ask her to stay on. Right now, the new Doctor casting is still a secret, though recent rumors suggest it could be Kris Marshall.
Doctor Who continues on BBC 1 and BBC America on April 22.
Source: Huffington Post