Doctor Who Gets His First Gay Travel Companion

This isn’t the first time a queer character has joined the titular character on his adventures. John Barrowman famously played the “omnisexual” Captain Jack Harkness, while Alex Kingston played The Doctor’s bisexual wife, River Song. Neither though, were full-time companions and only occasionally joined him.

Bill Potts, who’s The Doctor’s newest traveling companion, becomes his first ever full-time openly gay travel companion. Pearl Mackie, the actress who portrays the character, revealed all during an interview with BBC.

“Bill’s gay. It shouldn’t be a big deal in the 21st century. It’s about time isn’t it?” said her portrayer, Pearl Mackie. “That representation is important, especially on a mainstream show… 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.” She adde, “[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.”

Doctor Who returns for its tenth season on April 15 on BBC America. It marks the last season for both Peter Capaldi’s Twelth Doctor and showrunner Steven Moffat.