Sunday, April 2, 2017

Doctor Who: Now For Something a Little Bit Different

We are two weeks out from the premier of Doctor Who Series 10 and the debut of Pearl Mackie as new companion Bill. We learned this week something about Bill that makes her unique among Doctor Who companions: She is gay.

This is a significant development for Doctor Who as this marks the first time an ongoing companion is openly gay. Yes, you might argue that something was going on with Nyssa and Tegan back during the time of the 5th Doctor but that only lives in your fan fictions. Yes, Clara Oswald may have made out with Jane Austen and Amy Pond literally flirted with herself but no, this is different. This is not an off the cuff joke but a serious thing.

As the father of a gay daughter, I’m cognizant of how important this kind of representation can be. (Click here for Randie’s write up on Beauty and the Beast.) Yes, it can be said that it shouldn't matter what Bill's sexual orientation is. And it's true, it shouldn't matter. But when there are still forces at work that denigrate LGBTQ people who don't always seem themselves portrayed in a normal, positive light, yes, it does matter.  

Here's what Pearl Mackie had to say on the subject:  

“It shouldn’t be a big deal in the 21st century. It’s about time, isn’t it? That representation is important, especially on a mainstream show. It’s important to say people are gay, people are black … 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.”

So good on Doctor Who for making history.  I'm looking forward to seeing what Bill brings to the TARDIS when she joins the Doctor and Nardole in 2 weeks.  

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