Doctor Who has finally announced who will be joining Peter Capaldi in the Tardis, and it’s none other than Pearl Mackie.
Earlier this year rumors floated that Rakhee Thakrar was the new companion who would take over from Jenna Coleman, but over the last several weeks other names such as Ingrid Oliver and Georgina Campbell have surfaced. Finally, though, as bookies at Betfair discovered, Mackie became the odds on favorite as the reveal date got closer.
Here’s a first look at Mackie in her new role!
— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) April 23, 2016
“Pearl who?” You might be saying. Allow us to introduce you.
Pearl is currently on stage in the West End in a production of The Curious Incident of the Dog. In fact, Peter Capaldi dropped by to see the show back on April 7, and he took a photo with the cast, including Pearl Mackie.
The tardis stopped by the Gielgud Theatre this afternoon and look who came to watch the show…Mr Peter Capaldi! pic.twitter.com/KbOKV1qytk
— Curious Incident (@curiousonstage) April 7, 2016
Mackie, if her own Twitter account is any indication, is a fan of Lena Dunham, Prince, and Empire. She’s also an advocate for more diversity in casting, autism awareness, and social justice.
Speaking of Twitter accounts, Mack has 654 followers at the time of this writing. Hopefully she has her alerts and push notifications turned off, or her phone will implode as she gains tons of new followers. Two of the folks she is following are Jenna Coleman and Freema Agyeman who played companions Clara Oswald and Martha Jones. They’ll certainly be able to give Mackie a rundown of what being the Doctor’s companion is like both on set and in the public eye.
Doctor Who is next slated to have its annual Christmas Special, which may or may not involve the new companion. The new series, which will include Mackie, will be broadcast at a to-be-determined date in Spring 2017.
Mackie has an extensive theatre background and has been in numerous productions throughout the U.K. The productions have ranged from lighter pieces, to serious examinations of race and culture.
Mackie is also a talented vocalist. She can be seen below in a cabaret style performance of “Seasons of Love” from Rent performing a solo starting at roughly the 1:30 mark.
With Mackie’s casting, the Doctor Who team has the opportunity to tell a companion’s origin story. Peter Capaldi’s Doctor has always had a companion who knew exactly who she was, and was fully acquainted with the perils of his world. This is the first time that the 12th Doctor will get to acquaint a companion with life in the Tardis.
Capaldi mentioned to a Brazilian back in March that, “…we’ve been doing a bit of work together already, and it’s very exciting. Because it’s a very different sort of take on it. Clara had prior knowledge of the Doctor. It was conceived as a human connected to your timeline, and so had access to the cosmic nature of the Doctor. She understood a little about how he was. And as she was already with Matt [11th Doctor, Matt Smith], she knew the Daleks and the TARDIS. Now we have someone who knows very little about the Doctor.”
Mackie’s casting will be a nice change in diversity for the show. Previously the only other main companion of color was Freema Agyeman, who played Martha Jones back in the days of David Tennant occupying the TARDIS. Though the companion has not been as diverse in recent years, the show is generally acknowledged as being inclusive. The show routinely incorporates actors of multi-ethnicities and sexual preferences in episodes that are not one-off specials about those issues.
Doctor Who will be back for the Doctor Who Christmas Special on December 25, 2016.