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Doctor Who is one of the most popular science fictions shows ever created for television, with over 53 years of Doctor and companion shenanigans. It should come as no surprise to anyone that casting a new actor in either role is a difficult job, and it’s one that was just recently pulled off. After a lengthy casting process, the producers of Doctor Who selected Pearl Mackie as the next companion from a list of 70 actors. Casting director Andy Pryor was up to the task and has opened up about what Mackie will bring to the role.
I’m looking forward to seeing that playfulness that you saw in the clip. How that humour and warmth will play out. I think already it's clear she’s her own person who’s not going to be impressed easily. I think that’s quite a fun thing to explore, and it’s something that Pearl is brilliantly equipped to do.
This quote comes from Radio Times, who interviewed Andy Pryor about the process of casting that eventually ended to the hiring of Pearl Mackie as her character Bill. Having been the casting director for Doctor Who since it was revived in 2005, Pryor is no stranger to finding a new companion or Doctor. He and his team met with 50 actors from a list of 70 before finally testing the final five in a scene with the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi. Chemistry is the name of the game when your character is known as a companion, so how the actors played with Capaldi ended up being a major factor in the final decision.
It’s been a long road on the search for a new companion. It was rumored that Jenna Coleman, the previous companion, would be leaving the show before it was officially announced. Coleman served as companion Clara Oswald from 2013-2015 for a total of 36 episodes - one of the longest stints of any companion thus far. Ever since rumors have circulated over who would step up into the TARDIS with the Doctor. Actresses like Rakhee Thakrar and Doctor alum Maisie Williams have had their names thrown in the mix in the past.
Pearl Mackie’s Bill will be an entirely new character to the long-running show, and unlike some previous companions, she will have very little knowledge or experience with the world of the Doctor. You can see that reflected pretty brilliantly in a clip that was produced for the casting announcement. In the video, you can see what Pryor meant about how Bill isn’t one to be "easily impressed." Mackie proves she will be a pleasant fit to the show as she points out the quirks of the robots currently chasing her and Peter Capaldi’s Doctor.
Pearl Mackie won’t be on Doctor Who until next season, which will air sometime in 2017. An exact premiere date has not been released yet, but keep with us for all Doctor Who updates.