We gaze upon the Doc­tor’s new friend in the TARDIS.

Meet the new Doc­tor Who com­pan­ion played by Pearl Mackie...

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents -

The next Doc­tor Who com­pan­ion has ar­rived. On 23 April, the BBC aired a new scene in the half-time break of the FA Cup semi-fi­nal, en­ti­tled “Friend From The Fu­ture”. In it, we were in­tro­duced to Pearl Mackie as Bill (or as BILL, as the on screen text ac­tu­ally read), the com­pan­ion who will be re­plac­ing Jenna Cole­man when the show re­turns. The ac­tress was pre­vi­ously best known for ap­pear­ing in the stage pro­duc­tion of The Cu­ri­ous In­ci­dent Of The Dog In The Night-Time. The scene was cer­tainly short and snappy, but while it didn’t give much away about Bill’s char­ac­ter, there were a few nuggets of in­for­ma­tion to be gleaned... She’s funny: There’s a slight Donna vibe to some of Bill’s ir­rev­er­ent di­a­logue with the Doc­tor. She’s ob­ser­vant (in­stantly clock­ing that the Dalek might be too “fat” to reach them) but while she mocks their ap­pear­ance, she doesn’t seem as cocky as Clara. Mackie has de­scribed her char­ac­ter as “Fan­tas­ti­cally writ­ten, cool, strong, sharp, a lit­tle bit vul­ner­a­ble with a bit of geek­i­ness thrown in.” She might be from the past: Could Bill be from the 1980s? Her faded denim jacket, WOW! patch and Prince t-shirt all reek of the decade. Then there’s the Doc­tor’s line, “We need to get back to the fu­ture. 2017 needs us,” and Bill’s ex­cited ex­pres­sion. Surely she wouldn’t look that thrilled if he was just tak­ing her home... The name game: Casting di­rec­tor Andy Pryor has re­vealed that the code word used to re­fer to Mackie through­out the casting process was “Mean Town” – an ana­gram of Ten Woman, in ref­er­ence to Bill star­ring in the 10th sea­son. A glimpse at the fu­ture: So is this a self-con­tained short? Ap­par­ently not. The iPlayer blurb de­scribes it as “an ex­clu­sive scene from a fu­ture episode” – which is sur­pris­ing as film­ing on the se­ries hadn’t be­gun at that point, and it con­tains re­cy­cled footage from “Into The Dalek”. Doc­tor Who Mag­a­zine have since con­firmed, how­ever, that it will form part of a fu­ture episode. When will we see Bill next? The only Doc­tor Who episode broad­cast­ing in 2016 will be the Christ­mas spe­cial, but there’s been no con­fir­ma­tion that it’s Bill’s de­but. So will we have to wait un­til the 2017 se­ries to find out more about the TARDIS’s new oc­cu­pant? It’s look­ing likely. When­ever she starts, Pearl is ex­cited to be a part of the show, say­ing, “Peter [Ca­paldi] is such a bril­liant ac­tor, and his Doc­tor is such a wacky and won­der­ful char­ac­ter. I can’t wait to see what ad­ven­tures are in store for him and Bill”.

Doc­tor Who re­turns at Christ­mas.

Bill: sign o’ the times.

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