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Film and TV

Bisexual Doctor Who star explains why LGBT+ representation is so vitally important for young fans

Emma Powys Maurice February 7, 2021
Pearl Mackie, Doctor Who

Pearl Mackie joined Doctor Who in series 10 (Mike Marsland/WireImage/Getty)

Doctor Who star Pearl Mackie perfectly explained the importance of LGBT+ representation as she reflected on Bill Potts’ “phenomenal” impact on queer fans.

Mackie made waves in the Doctor Who fandom as the beloved Bill Potts, the Doctor’s first out gay companion who joined Peter Capaldi in the tenth series.

Three years after leaving the TARDIS, the star recalled being catapulted into a fandom that was crying out for queer leading characters.

“It all feels like a bit of a whirlwind for me, because it was such a huge thing for me at the time,” Mackie told Digital Spy.

“Getting the job and being catapulted into this amazing world and this huge fandom, and also opening up this whole world of LGBT+ fandom that had been there in the Doctor Who community but hadn’t had, apart from Captain Jack, like a solid companion to channel and represent them essentially.”

The star revealed that, after her debut, scores of LGBT+ fans reached out to her explaining how Bill had helped them come out to their loved ones.

“I’ve met a lot of people to whom Bill was a huge catalyst in enabling them to come out to their families, which is something that you never really think as an actor you ever have any kind of impact on someone’s life on that scale,” Mackie said.

“It is phenomenal the amount of people who have told me that without Bill they wouldn’t have been able to come out to their family.

“Without seeing someone that they identified with on a show that they loved, they wouldn’t have felt comfortable enough in themselves to be able to tell their own story.”

The actor, who came out as bisexual herself last year, underlined just how vital it is for queer youth to see vivid, authentic LGBT+ characters in mainstream film and TV.

“That is why representation is important,” she said. “For me, I think it’s a huge example of why it is important to keep telling LGBT+ stories, especially women of colour telling these stories as well because there aren’t enough of those out in the world at all.

“I do feel like [Bill] was very important to a lot of people which is amazing,” she added. “I just feel really really lucky to be able to do it justice and to have been part of it.”

More: BBC, bisexual, Doctor Who, Pearl Mackie, Peter Capaldi

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