New Doctor Who star Pearl Mackie will take on a much bigger role than The Doctor’s newest companion, or our introduction to Peter Capaldi’s replacement. As revealed in a new Season 10 preview, “Bill” will become the first full-time companion identified as openly gay.

The BBC reveals that Pearl Mackie’s new companion character will quickly introduce herself as gay in the opening moments of Season 10. Worth noting, while characters like John Barrowman’s Captain Jack Harkness and Alex Kingston’s River Song have been depicted as gay or bisexual, none of The Doctor’s official companions have been.

Said Mackie:

It shouldn’t be a big deal in the 21st Century. It’s about time isn’t it? That representation is important, especially on a mainstream show … 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.

I remember watching TV as a young mixed race girl not seeing many people who looked like me, so I think being able to visually recognise yourself on screen is important … [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.

Elsewhere, in addition to Michelle Gomez’s return as Missy, Season 10 will also feature Jekyll & Hyde star Stephanie Hyam in a minor role. Peter Capaldi has suggested Jenna Coleman’s Clara might return in some form, while the search for a new Doctor will begin later this year. Steven Moffat’s last season was also confirmed for 2017, placing Chris Chibnall as the new head writer and executive producer, to begin after Season 10.

We’ll see more soon, but check out the first Season 10 trailers below, and stay tuned for the April 15 premiere.

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