‘There have been lots of gay characters on Doctor Who’ says lesbian companion

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Doctor Who’s new companion claims it is “about time” the show had its first openly gay series regular.

Pearl Mackie is set to play Bill Potts in the tenth series of the long-running show, wit hthe first episode set to air this Saturday.

Speaking to Good Morning Britain, she said: “It’s great, isn’t it?

“I think arguably there have been lots of gay characters on Doctor Who previously… the terminology of ‘the official companion’, is why she’s the first [one to be] gay.

“I think it’s the terminology of that that’s actually the ‘first for Doctor Who’ as it were.”

She added: “It’s about time isn’t it?”

There has been a big reaction since it was revealed that the new character, Bill, will come out as gay on the long-running BBC sci-fi show.

Mackie’s character will be the first out series regular on the show, though there have been a string of recurring LGB characters in the past.

Former fan favourite characters River Song (Alex Kingston) and Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) were both omnisexual, while the show more recently featured married lesbian interspecies crime-fighters Madam Vastra and Jenny (Neve McIntosh and Catrin Stewart) in recurring roles.

John Barrowman, who played Harkness on Doctor Who and in spin-off Torchwood, said: “She’s in for a great rollercoaster ride.

‘There have been lots of gay characters on Doctor Who’ says lesbian companion

“She should grab on, put her hands in the air, and go ‘wooo’!

“She’s going to have a ball.”

Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat has tried to play down the revelation that the show’s new companion will be gay.

Moffat has attacked attention paid to the announcement and branded coverage “nonsense”, despite the fact the character’s sexuality was revealed in a pre-arranged exclusive BBC interview.

Speaking at a press event, he claimed: “This wasn’t, as some people thought, some kind of press release we made – it was just mentioned by Pearl in an interview.

“I didn’t even know it was happening. I saw it on the internet!”

He added that the character’s sexuality “barely comes up”, trashing hopes of a romance plot for the character in line with those of previous companions.

The showrunner said: “It’s not a major plot strand. It’s not even a minor plot strand. It’s just there. She’s not ‘the gay companion’ – she’s Bill Potts.

“She barely bothers to mention the fact. It only comes up when it’s relevant.”

Speaking at a screening last week, Moffat said: “Just to be clear, we are not expecting any kind of round of applause or pat on the back for that; that is the minimum level of representation you should have on television”.

The Emmy Award-winning producer added that “the correct response should be: ‘What took you so long?’

“We didn’t expect all the fuss, so the fuss stops now.”

Referring to a group of schoolchildren in the first row of the screening, he said they were “much, much wiser than our generation.”

“’What the hell of a fuss are you making?’

“They don’t understand. ‘You just did a headline out of someone being a fairly average person. What are you talking about?’”

Moffat, who also co-created and wrote for another hit BBC show, Sherlock, said it was “important we don’t make a big fuss of this in a children’s show that communicates directly with children”.

“You don’t want young kids who regard themselves as normal and happen to fancy their own gender – we don’t want to make them feel as if they are some kind of special case,” he added.

He then joked: “That’s frightening, and journalists: it is not your job to frighten children. It is my job.”