Doctor Who Introduces First Openly Gay Full-Time Companion

It’s official—for the first time in 10 seasons (more, if you count the original series), Doctor Who is getting its very first openly gay companion.

Earlier this week, British actor Pearl Mackie—who plays Bill Potts, the Doctor’s newest companion—told the BBC that her character’s sexuality “will be revealed pretty much straightaway in her second line of dialogue.” Mackie also talked about the importance of Bill’s sexual identity being addressed immediately, stating that featuring a gay character on show that’s as popular as Doctor Who, “shouldn’t be a big deal in the 21st Century” and that “it’s important to say people are gay, people are black—there are also aliens in the world as well so watch out for them.”

Mackie was also quick to point out that Bill’s sexuality will not be her only unique or noteworthy characteristic, explaining that “[being gay] is not the main thing that defines her character—it’s something that’s part of her and something that she’s very happy and very comfortable with.”

Doctor Who die-hards may question Mackie’s claim that Bill is Doctor Who‘s first openly gay companion, as fan-favourite characters Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and River Song (Alex Kingston) are pansexual and bisexual, respectively.

However, both Harkness and Song were “part-time” companions, meaning that Bill will be the Doctor’s first openly gay “full-time” companion.

The news about Bill arrives amidst reports that Doctor Who could be introducing its first female Time Lord in the very near future, as current Doctor Peter Capaldi recently announced that he’s leaving the show after its upcoming tenth season. Rumours that Mackie will leave the show at the same time as Capaldi have recently begun to float around, as longtime Doctor Who showrunner and executive producer Steven Moffat will also be stepping down from his position after this season. But while Bill’s quick exit wouldn’t be completely surprising—new actors came on to play both the Doctor and his companion when Moffatt took over the show in its sixth season—it has not yet been confirmed.

Doctor Who Season 10 premieres on April 15 (so close!) right here on Space. Watch the trailer below: