Pearl Mackie: It’s 2017- the Doctor is gender fluid

Jess Glass December 15, 2017
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Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie in Doctor Who

Outgoing Doctor Who star Pearl Mackie has responded to the backlash against a female Doctor, saying that the Doctor is gender fluid and the gender of the actor doesn’t matter.

Earlier this year, Jodie Whittaker was confirmed as the 13th actor to play the lead in the BBC show, which attracted a significant backlash.

The show currently features Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor, who is set to leave the show at Christmas and be replaced by Whittaker in the new year.

Peter Capaldi, writer/producer Steven Moffat and actor Pearl Mackie (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Mackie will also make her final appearance on the show at Christmas.

In an interview with iNews, Mackie discussed the backlash against Whittaker taking the role, highlighting how as well as being an alien, the Doctor is non-binary.

She said: “Time Lords are gender-fluid – that was established ages ago. Why can’t the Doctor be a woman? I think it’s important, and I think if people are frustrated by that then, I don’t know, maybe they need to update their views.”

“It’s 2017.”

(Photo: Ray Burmiston)

Mackie also spoke about her role as the lesbian Bill Potts, the first Doctor’s companion to be gay.

Related: Doctor Who: We regret to inform you that you are still legally a man

Although Doctor Who has previously featured LGBT characters (including a ‘time travelling lizard woman’ and her wife) Mackie’s character was the first fully-fledged companion on the show who is gay.

Of course, including a lesbian companion in a prime-time television show wasn’t without its own backlash.

Mackie praised her part as Bill and spoke about the impact the representation of role had on many Doctor Who fans.

“It was just part of who she was, and not the most interesting part. For people to see a mixed-race woman, a woman of colour, being completely comfortable with being a lesbian on a global prime-time series is phenomenally important,” she said.

“People have come up to me and said that watching Bill helped them come out to their families. I didn’t anticipate that it would ever have that kind of impact.”

Earlier this year, Pearl Mackie collected a PinkNews award for her work on Doctor Who and for the show’s recent LGBT storylines.

Speaking to PinkNews earlier this year, Mackie praised Doctor Who’s writers for the character.

She said: “The thing that I liked most about Bill was that she wasn’t grappling with her sexuality, she didn’t need to come out, it wasn’t an issue!

“It was always just about, I’m gay and happy and this is who I am, this is who I like and this is who I’m in love with.”

Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie
Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie

When asked whether Doctor Who had become too ‘politically correct’ or ‘preachy’ in recent years, Mackie said to iNews: “There are fundamentals that the show is grounded on, but I think the most important one is to be kind to everyone,”

“If it does preach anything, it’s that, which is possibly the best thing you can preach.”

Related topics: BBC, BBC 1, Doctor Who, entertainment, gender, gender fluid, gender fluidity, Pearl Mackie, Peter Capaldi, Television

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