Doctor Who: Steven Moffatt says 'fuss' over Pearl Mackie's companion's sexuality must stop now

'The correct response would be: 'What took you so long?’'

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The Independent Culture

Doctor Who’s new companion Pearl Mackie confirmed last week that her character Bill Potts will be openly gay, much to the dismay of Daily Mail readers.

Speaking about the “fuss” at a screening of the forthcoming first episode, Steven Moffatt revealed he was surprised about the numerous headlines.

"We are not expecting any kind of round of applause or pat on the back," he told an audience, according to the BBC. "That is the minimum of representation you should have on television. The correct response would be: 'What took you so long?’"

"It is important we don't make a big fuss of this in a children's show that communicates directly with children. You don't want young kids who regard themselves as boring and normal and happen to fancy their own gender, we don't want them to feel as if they are some kind of special case.”

Addressing journalists who were in attendance directly, Moffatt joked: "It is not your job to frighten children - it is my job!”

During the interview in which she first spoke about the character’s sexuality, Mackie said: “It shouldn’t be a big deal in the 21st Century. It’s about time, isn’t it?”

“It’s important to say people are gay, people are black,” she continued, stating that “representation is important, especially on a mainstream show”.

“I remember watching TV as a young mixed race girl not seeing many people who looked like me, so I think being able to visually recognise yourself on screen is important,” she added.

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London-born Mackie wanted to make it clear that Bill’s sexuality isn’t what mainly defines her character but that it’s a groundbreaking move for the long-running sci-fi series.

“[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.”

Bill is the show’s first LGBTQ companion. Gay and bisexual characters have featured as part of the series before – Torchwood character Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and River Song (Alex Kingston), but they aren’t considered one of the Doctor’s full-time sidekicks.

Peter Capaldi and Moffat will be bowing out after this years’ Doctor Who Christmas special after deciding to call time on his Time Lord tenure last year.

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Doctor Who returns to TV screens on the 15 April.