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Pearl Mackie Talks Fans, Acting And Filming

Despite only appearing for a few minutes on TV so far, Pearl Mackie – who plays the new companion, Bill – is already experiencing the fame and love that comes with playing a Doctor Who companion.

In a interview with The Guardian, Mackie gave an example of a recent encounter with a fan:

“It’s already happening. The other day, I was in my friend’s shop just over there and this French guy comes in. I say, ‘I don’t work here, but someone will be with you in a minute.’ He says, ‘Non, non, non! You are Pearl Mackie, yes? Can I take your picture?'”

Speaking about her initial audition, Mackie commented:

“I turned up in T-shirt, jeans and some yellow boots and I felt out of my depth. It was the Soho Hotel – so posh!

I knew I could bring her to life. She’s funny and geeky and vulnerable. There’s a goofiness to her and a big heart. She gets things wrong, she has a temper. I thought, ‘I know her. I could play her.'”

When asked about why the character is called Bill and what Bill’s job might be, she was reluctant to give an answer, simply replying “Can’t say.” However, she did reveal was that she “enjoys bringing her stage-combat skills to the fight scenes and has already done one of her own stunts.”
When quizzed on her favourite Doctor, Mackie admitted that she wasn’t much of a fan before getting the role. 

“I haven’t got a favourite Doctor. The thing is, it wasn’t on when I was a kid. I was 15 or 16, and it wasn’t my thing. I was going through my rebellious phase… I was, erm, hanging out.”

As the conversation turned to acting, Mackie said that she was inspired to join the profession at the age of five when her mum was plaiting her hair at home in Brixton:

“I was watching Judy Garland in Meet Me in Saint Louis and I said, ‘I want to do that!’ She was like ‘OK’ and kept combing.”

However, she felt the common problem of race held her back a little:

“I didn’t see many people who looked like me on TV. There were hardly any strong black women.”

When reminded about former companion Martha Jones (played by Freema Agyeman) she commented:

“I guess. There is some sort of similarity between me and Freema, but Bill is very different from Martha.”

Finally, Mackie summed up her time filming so far:

“I’ve never worked so hard. We filmed four of the 12 episodes in Cardiff. I have a flat there so I don’t have to travel all the time. Work, innit? I feel like I’ve joined a big family.”