Actress Pearl Mackie picked up an Ally Award at last night’s PinkNews Awards in recognition of Doctor Who‘s ‘groundbreaking’ LGBT storylines.
Doctor Who has featured a variety of LGBT characters since its 2005 return, including omnisexual Torchwood lead Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) as well as married lesbian couple Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint.
The most recent series of Doctor Who saw the introduction of Mackie’s Bill Potts, the show’s first openly-gay regular companion. Bill’s appearances in the show’s tenth series were bookended by the exploration of her relationship with student turned alien pilot Heather (Stephanie Hyam).
Mackie told PinkNews:
“It’s lovely to be able to accept this Award on behalf of Doctor Who.
“Last year I never fathomed coming to any Awards ceremony, so I feel quite honoured to even have been invited, let alone for Doctor Who and the character of Bill. It’s testament to how well she was received and how well people responded to having an out lesbian on a mainstream TV show.
“It’s genuinely been amazingly positive, especially going around the world and meeting people. I met a couple of young girls who were BAME, and talked to me about how watching Bill on Doctor Who enabled them to come out and feel comfortable with their own sexuality. For me that’s a massive achievement.
“The thing that I liked most about Bill was that she wasn’t grappling with her sexuality, she didn’t need to come out, it wasn’t an issue! It was always just about, I’m gay and happy and this is who I am, this is who I like and this is who I’m in love with.”
“I’m really proud for everyone involved in the show – all of the actors and all of the writers. And I’m proud of the BBC, because to put LGBT+ representation at the heart of the BBC1 schedule is no small thing!
“We’re saying it’s part of everyone’s lives and should be right at the heart of our dramas and Saturday night TV.”
Minchin also commented on the show’s long-standing LGBT inclusiveness, saying:
“I think it’s naturally part of Doctor Who as a show now.
“Doctor Who is really unique – the lead character is kind of asexual, and he’s always drawn people from all walks of life.
“So much of TV has a guy as the lead and he’s got a gun and is trying to shag all the women. Doctor Who’s never been like that. I think that counts for something.”