entertainment

Is Doctor Who's first gay companion set to be axed already?

2017-04-03
There was cause for celebration last week after it was revealed that Doctor Who was set to feature its first ever openly gay companion for The Doctor - but according to tabloid reports, that celebration could be short-lived. According to The Sun, the character of Bill Potts, played by British actress Pearl Mackie, is set to be axed from the show after just one series, owing to the exits of show star Peter Capaldi and longtime showrunner Steven Moffat at the end of the year. Moffat is set to be replaced by Broadchurch writer Chris Chibnall, while the search for the 14th Doctor is on after Peter Capaldi announced in January that the show's upcoming tenth series would be his last in the role. Sadly, it appears the character of Bill could fall victim to a planned shake-up of the the iconic series, which originally aired from 1963 to 1989 before being revived in its current guide by Queer as Folk creator Russell T Davies in 2005. "Bosses have decided to have a completely fresh start," a source told the paper. "It’s yet to be formally decided but it makes sense to give Chris his own choice of actor to play the Doctor and his companion." The rumours come just days after Bill's sexuality was confirmed by Mackie, who said it was "about time" Doctor Who included an openly LGBT companion, having previously featured LGBT characters including Captain Jack (John Barrowman) and River Song (Alex Kingston). "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," the 29-year-old actress said. "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."

Related: The enduring gay appeal of Doctor Who

Appearing on the latest Attitude Heroes podcast, Russell T Davies says he believes the show has often resonated with LGBT people because they are “more imaginative” as a community. “It takes a lot of nerve and a lot of work to love Doctor Who,” the legendary screenwriter says. I think, I’m gonna be really bold now and say you’ve got to be cleverer than the normal viewer. “You’ve got to take more of a risk, you’ve gotta invest in it. Because you’ve got to fill those gaps where it’s looking cheap or it’s looking poor. “It’s a very imaginative act to watch Doctor Who. And I think gay people are better and cleverer and more imaginative than anyone else!” Doctor Who returns to BBC One on April 15. More stories: ‘Cucumber’ creator Russell T Davies reveals why he thinks the show lost so many viewers Kylie Minogue refused to cut gay kisses from ‘All the Lovers’ music video, director reveals