Up-and-coming actress Pearl Mackie has landed the role of a lifetime as Bill, the new companion of Doctor Who.
Mackie, who graduated from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2010, currently appears in the National Theater production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” in London’s West End. Just two credits are listed on her IMDB profile, but she’s soon to become a household name among Whovians.
“I’m incredibly excited to be joining the ‘Doctor Who’ family,” Mackie said. “It’s such an extraordinary British institution, I couldn’t be prouder to call the TARDIS my home!”
BBC One made the announcement Saturday at halftime of the FA Cup semifinal match between Everton and Manchester United in Britain.
Mackie succeeds Jenna Coleman, whose Clara Oswald made her final appearance in the Season 9 finale. She joins Peter Capaldi’s Doctor in Season 10, which is filming this year but won’t hit our TV screens until 2017. “Doctor Who” airs on BBC America in the U.S.
Season 10 will be longtime executive producer Steven Moffat’s final season as showrunner. “Broadchurch” writer Chris Chibnall is set to replace Moffat. Also the show’s chief writer, Moffat hinted that many grand adventures await Bill and The Doctor
“A new face in the TARDIS, a new voyage about to begin: Welcome aboard the amazing Pearl Mackie!” he said. “This is where the story really starts.”
To accompany the announcement, BBC One released a trailer (above) introducing Mackie as Bill. In it, both the actress and her character are introduced to the Daleks.
“Shooting the trailer was absolutely mental,” she said. “There were pyro technics and smoke and I met my first Dalek! I’m not sure it will ever become ‘the norm’ seeing crazy monsters on set, but I cannot wait to meet some more! The weirder the better; bring it on!”
Bill seems to be quite incredulous to the danger the Daleks present. She quizzes The Doctor—too loudly—about the killing machines and why they repeat “Exterminate!” all the time.
The Doctor might lose his patience with Bill, but Capaldi seems to be on board with his new costar.
“It is a genuine delight to welcome Pearl Mackie to ‘Doctor Who,’ ” Capaldi said. “A fine, fine actress with a wonderful zest and charm, she’s a refreshing addition to the TARDIS and will bring a universe of exciting new possibilities to The Doctor’s adventures.”
Mackie returned the compliments, calling Capaldi brilliant.
“His Doctor is such a wacky and wonderful character, I can’t wait to see what adventures are in store for him and Bill throughout time and space,” she said.
No details about the character Bill were shared, but from the trailer we see that she is inquisitive, funny and exuberant. Mackie said she thought Bill was “wicked”—the a good way.
“Fantastically written, cool, strong, sharp, a little bit vulnerable with a bit of geekiness thrown in—I can’t wait to bring her to life, and to see how she develops through the series,” Mackie said. “I always loved stage combat at drama school so I can’t wait to get on set and kick some evil monsters into the next dimension!”
Mackie is just the second person of color to become a full-time companion in the show’s 53-year history. Freema Ageyman starred as Martha Jones in 19 episodes in seasons 3 and 4, 18 of them as The Doctor’s companion.
“Doctor Who” debuted in 1963. The upcoming season is the 10th since it was reintroduced on TV in 2005 after nine years off the air.