Doctor Who companion Bill is ‘bringing something fresh’ to the series

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By Joshua Kaye

As one of the largest phenomenon throughout the world, Doctor Who has fans that span all across the globe. The show, which was first started in 1963 and was revived back in 2005, is the longest-running television show in history and one of the best to ever grace the small screen. With compelling stories, fascinating characters, and always entertaining, it doesn’t matter what era of Doctor Who you jump into, you’ll find something to love. This year, Doctor Who will be airing it’s Christmas special followed by the tenth season of the revival, and it’s the most excited I’ve ever been. At New York Comic Con, Nerd Reactor was blessed with the opportunity to sit down and speak with our newest companion, Pearl Mackie, showrunner Steven Moffat, and the Doctor himself, Peter Capaldi. Who! By the way, is easily the kindest gentlemen I’ve ever had the chance to meet.

Since we’ve last seen The Doctor, he’s lost Clara and has said his final goodbyes to River. So what sort of state can we expect to see The Doctor in at the start of the tenth series? Why does he now feel ready to take on a new companion? According to Capaldi, he says that the great thing about this role is that there’s a “whole life cycle. You can start off being born in season one and not quite knowing who you are. And then you find who you are and you discover, ‘Oh I’ll go with this! I quite like this character.’ And then you discover there’s more to Doctor Who than you thought. So I think we’re going to see some more of his alienness.”

As always, a Christmas episode of Doctor Who will be airing and for those who have watched the show forever, we all know the Christmas episodes can very much be very… sad and depressing. Capaldi reassures that this time Doctor Who will cheer up Christmas. Capaldi goes and compares this episode to the Christopher Reeves Superman films.

Most fans know that season ten is the final season that Steven Moffat will be the showrunner of Doctor Who. When asked if he’s accomplished all that he’s wanted to on the show, he makes it clear that he still has a lot of time on the show. Moffat explains himself, saying that, “I’m not just doing this Christmas, I’m doing next Christmas as well. I haven’t really done a retrospective on myself yet, and I never will because that would just be awful, wouldn’t it?” When asked about handing the show off to Chris at the end of his run, he mentions his talk with Russell T. Davies handing him the show. Moffat’s request to Davies? “Could you crash the TARDIS?”

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The newest companion, Bill, appears to be unlike any companion we’ve seen before. Played by Pearl Mackie, Bill may just be the most playful of all the companions we’ve gotten the chance to see and, as based on the one clip released it appears that it meshes well with Capaldi’s style. And Capaldi has nothing but good things to say about his newest cast mate, saying, “The great thing about Pearl and about the character that she plays is that they are totally new to the Doctor Who world. Bill comes from the real world, so the whole Doctor Who universe has to be introduced to her.”

In talking about Bill’s relationship with the Doctor, Pearl mentions how Bill is smart and quick witted, saying that, “She goes with her instincts, which I think is interesting for the Doctor, the way they play off of each other and challenge each other.” Pearl mentions that she watched a bit of Doctor Who, but how it was important for her to not watch a whole lot of past Doctor Who, saying that, “Bill’s totally new to this world, so new to it in a way that’s brilliant and I think the freshness that she brings when she sees the TARDIS for the first time. It was kind of important for me to not watch too much of previous companions because when you see good acting in a context that you know, it’s hard not to emulate it.”

For anyone who has never watched the series before, it’s no worry! With Bill’s freshness to the universe, Pearl makes a note that this would be a perfect spot for newcomers to jump right into the series. Pearl states that, “The audience is kind of with Bill. They’re seeing everything through her eyes so she asks those iconic questions. Questions that haven’t been asked in a while. So you don’t need much prior knowledge!”

One of the best qualities about Doctor Who is the quality and consistency of the writing. And while Moffat didn’t really say much about the writers for this upcoming season, he did tease that a classic Who writer will be making his debut on the revival. There’s just so much to be excited about with the new season, but unfortunately we’ll have to wait until April 2017. Until then, we have the Christmas special, The Return of Doctor Mysterio, so make sure you don’t miss that for the holidays!

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