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Who is Pearl

Who is Pearl Mackie?

“Introducing Pearl Mackie as Bill.” So read the on-screen caption at the end of a short, sparky clip which saw Peter Capaldi’s Doctor and his new time-travelling companion hiding from the Daleks in a space station corridor.

Announced live on BBC One during half-time of the FA Cup semi-final (wonder how much crossover there is between Whovians and football fans? Stereotype would suggest not much), the identity of the Time Lord’s next companion was revealed as newcomer Mackie. She becomes the Doctor’s 41st companion and the 10th since the 2005 reboot.

It was refreshing to see the new recruit revealed through filmed footage, a new clip entitled “Friend From the Future”, rather than the actress giving interview bland non-answers in a studio interview. The fact that Mackie happens to shares a hairstyle with Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini, the sole goalscorer in the match at half-time, was a slice of time-space-soccer serendipity.

“I’m incredibly excited to be joining the Doctor Who family,” says Mackie. “It’s such an extraordinary British institution, I couldn’t be prouder to call the TARDIS my home! Peter is such a brilliant actor, and his Doctor is such a wacky and wonderful character. I can’t wait to see what adventures are in store for him and Bill throughout time and space.”

What is she known for?

Londoner Mackie, who graduated from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2010, is a relative newcomer with previous TV credits including Brit film Svengali and daytime Doctors. She also appeared in a music video for pop band Years & Years alongside Ben “Q from the Bond films” Whishaw and rising star Tuppence Middleton.

Mackie is currently starring in the National Theatre’s production of The Curious Dog in the Night-Time, which runs until June. Presumably when that wraps up, she’ll start filming at the time travel franchise’s Cardiff base.

What else do we know about her?

Not terribly much. A late flurry of bets had been placed on newcomer Mackie in the two days preceding the announcement, to such an extent that she became the 4/6 odds-on favourite for the job. Secrecy clearly wasn’t quite as tight as the BBC wanted.

As an acting tutor for children, she’s described as having “vibrant optimism” with her special skills listed as “mixing maturity and immaturity” – which sounds on-brand for Doctor Who. Peter Capaldi says he’s “very excited” about Mackie joining him in the TARDIS. “We’ve been doing a bit of work together already,” said the Twelfth Doctor. 

Mackie’s appointment makes good casting sense in response to recent suggestions that it’s time to see a non-white actor back in the TARDIS. The last companion of colour was Freema Agyeman eight years ago. As Capaldi says: “Doctor Who is at its best when it reflects contemporary culture. It’s time for us to be recognisably in the 21st century.” 

What will her character be like?

Unlike previous incumbent Clara Oswald, whose Impossible Girl status meant she had prior knowledge of the Time Lord, Capaldi says “now we have someone who knows very little about the Doctor”. That was reflected in the special preview clip, in which Bill was inquisitively lippy but ignorant of the Daleks

Capaldi had expressed a preference for a female companion, quipping: “With the best will in the world, I don’t want a bloke, because I’m frightened that they’ll give him all the action and I’ll be standing around spouting scientific gobbledygook. I just think that combo of the slightly strange, alien Time Lord with the intelligent, enthusiastic, inquisitive girl is a good combo. I don’t know why – but it just seems to work.” 

Mackie herself says: “Reading the script at the audition, I thought Bill was wicked. Fantastically written, cool, strong, sharp, a little bit vulnerable with a bit of geekiness thrown in – I can’t wait to bring her to life and to see how she develops through the series. I always loved stage combat at drama school, so I can’t wait to get on set and kick some evil monsters into the next dimension!”

All-new double act: Pearl and the Doctor
All-new double act: Pearl and the Doctor Credit: BBC/Ray Burmiston

Capaldi called her “a fine, fine actress with a wonderful zest and charm. She’s a refreshing addition to the TARDIS and will bring a universe of exciting new possibilities to The Doctor’s adventures”. Charlotte Moore, the BBC’s acting Director of Television added: “Pearl brings a wonderful energy and lights up the screen. She will captivate Doctor Who fans old and new across the globe.”

Bill looks like she’ll hold her own banter-wise, while sporting jeans-and-trainers in contrast to the Doctor’s tailoring and frock coats. As is traditional with the Doctor’s sidekicks, also expect her to marvel at the dimensions of the Tardis, followed by much dashing down corridors to flee from alien danger “When I say run, run!”

Where is she likely sit in the pantheon of Doctor Who companions?

Mackie replaces the popular Jenna Coleman, who played Clara for three years – making her the longest-serving companion since the reboot – and starred alongside two Doctors: Matt “bow ties are cool” Smith before Peter “eyebrows” Capaldi. 

The BBC will hope Bill goes on to win hearts and capture the public imagination, similar to Billie Piper a decade ago as Rose Tyler – or the likes of Elisabeth Sladen (as Sarah-Jane Smith), Sophie Aldred (as Ace) or Louise Jameson (as Leela) in the classic Doctor Who era.

Mackie will start filming this summer for the series to air in spring 2017 – the final run for head writer, executive producer and all-round “Whopremo” Steven Moffat, who will be succeeded by Broadchurch boss Chris Chibnall.

What the fans say

At first, it was mainly Doctor Who fans being bored by the football analysis and annoyed the announcement was running later than advertised. Once Mackie was confirmed, though, reaction centred mainly on “who?” and her hair. 

I can imagine the anxiety and stress. Who care about the football match, get to commercial (announcement). I bit like the Super Bowl. But I just watch the commercials online and skip the game entirely.

But the BBC had a spike in their ratings for a few minutes! 🙂

Then they were tossed to and FRO but Pearl Who? 🙂

Filming of series 10 is due to start in a few weeks but the next series is not due until 2017 – so it’ll be a while until we see Capaldi on screen with his new travelling companion. (UK Telegraph)

So we still have a year to wait folks. 😦



Capaldi 1 Pearl 2

The Pearl Revealed

Pearl Mackie has been named as the new Doctor Who companion alongside Peter Capaldi’s Time Lord in the Tardis.


The Londoner’s role was announced on BBC One during half time of the FA Cup semi-final match between Everton and Manchester United.

Mackie, 28, replaces Jenna Coleman, whose character Clara Oswald left the show in 2015.

Filming for the next series of the long-running science fiction show will start this year but air in 2017.

Mackie, who graduated from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2010, played Anne-Marie Frasier in Doctors in 2014 and is currently performing in the National Theatre’s West End production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.

“I’m incredibly excited to be joining the Doctor Who family,” she said. “It’s su an extraordinary British institution, I couldn’t be prouder to call the Tardis my home.”

‘Genuine delight’

She added: “Peter Capaldi is such a brilliant actor, and his Doctor is such a wacky and wonderful character, I can’t wait to see what adventures are in store for him and Bill throughout time and space.”

Mackie said her new character “Bill” was “wicked”, describing her as “cool, strong, sharp, a little bit vulnerable with a bit of geekiness thrown in”.

Image copyright BBC, Ray Burmiston
Image caption Mackie got her first encounter with a Dalek in the new Doctor Who trailer

Capaldi said: “It is a genuine delight to welcome Pearl Mackie to Doctor Who. A fine, fine actress with a wonderful zest and charm, she’s a refreshing addition to the Tardis and will bring a universe of exciting new possibilities to The Doctor’s adventures.”

Doctor Who, which was first shown in 1963, is heading for its 10th season since it was reintroduced to schedules in 2005 after a gap of nine years.

Coleman joined the show in 2012, and starred alongside two Doctors, Matt Smith and Capaldi, the 12th Doctor who joined in 2014.

She asked to be written out and left to take on the role of Queen Victoria in a major ITV drama series.

In January, it was announced that the head writer and executive producer of Doctor Who, Steven Moffat, was stepping down from the show.

The next series will be his last, after which he will be replaced by Broadchurch writer Chris Chibnall.


Trekking Along

Ok, I may get in dangerous territory today.

I love Star Trek. I’m American. It’s hard not to know about it. It’s the American equivalent of Doctor Who.

While it hasn’t been on TV as much as Who has, this year is the 50th Anniversary of the American institution.

I love imagination. That’s why I’m into Science Fiction in the first place.

So naturally I am into Trek.

What brought this up was a Concert here a couple of nights ago, call “Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage” which was a concert in celebration of those 50 years.

True, it was only estimated to be about a 30 pieces band helped by audio recordings and not The BBC Orchestra of Wales that I have seen also but it was a great concert nonetheless augmented by visuals.

It was afterwards that the discussion really got started, and this blog’s genesis (star trek pun).

It was pointed out that the concert itself was “inspiring” and that Star Trek, in general, is more “inspiring” than Who.

And that got me thinking.

Yes, I think Trek is more “inspiring”. This may also be an American point-of-view in someways as I didn’t grow up with Doctor Who as a kid. I was 21.

But I am big fan of both. But I am a bigger fan of WHO.

WHO is ALL OVER my house. Trek isn’t.

Trek inspired me as a kid for the imagination. Not the Science.

I am not the one who thought, I want to be a Planetary Geologist when I grow up. I know several who did.

I didn’t look at the communicator and go “oh look, a flip lid Cell phone, how 00’s of you.”

I gravitated to the imagination of it all. The going where no man has gone before. To go out there and see what and who is out there.

That was my thrill. Still is.

But Doctor Who has an even broader canvas. Arguably, the broadest possible one. Not just where Man hasn’t gone. He isn’t a Man. But Anywhere in Time & Space in the whole of creation and even beyond it.

Now that’s a imagination stage like no other.

And the lead character is the same one from 52 1/2 ago!

No “Next Generation”, you get Next Regeneration. 🙂

The Borg…HAH! Doctor Who had The Cybermen in 1966 when Star Trek had just premiered!

Doctor who has the Guinness Book of World Records for most Successful TV show.:)

Nov 25, 2013 – Guinness World Records can today confirm that the special 50 th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who which was broadcast globally on Saturday has set a new world for the largest ever simulcast of a TV drama after the episode was shown in 94 countries across six continents.

So, while Star Trek has inspired Science around the world. Doctor Who inspires even more Imagination.

And we need both.

So I am a fan of both. The Apple and the Custard. 🙂

The New Companion Announced

It can finally be revealed. After months of speculation.

The New companion has been announced.

The show is going to one of it’s old roots and rebooting a character that wasn’t well served back in the day because of the technology involved.


As you may recall Kamelion was a shape changing robot in the late Davison stories but because of the technology at the time he made his first appearance in “King’s Demon’s” and then largely got chucked in the bin until his last story, and death, “Planet of Fire”.

But with CGI now it can be so much better in 2016 plus you can have a guest actor in every week to play the part and you don’t have to have a permanent companion.

“We can do so much more with the concept now than 30 years ago.” said Doctor Who’s Special Effects Supervisor, Danny Hargreaves.

Plus it would also add the first non-human companion in the new era of the show.

Seeing as Peter may or may not stay on after the Chibnall change it could be used as a nice bridge companion that Chibnall could dump or not, and if Peter Capaldi leaves with Steven then you can have a new Doctor and a New Companion without any carryover. Or you can just fix Kamelion in one guise and you have a new Companion for the new Doctor while having some continuity.

Steven Moffatt was quoted as saying it was another bold way to make a statement about the companion’s role and to do something innovative to keep the audience watching it brings something fresh to the show.

Co-star Peter Capaldi said: “I can’t wait to start working with the new Kamelion . It was vital to see someone very different in the role and Steven has just the ticket.”

“This way we can have good actors rotating in to play Kamelion and we don’t have to stick with just one actor or actress and we can have a variety. Kamelion can be programmed to be different and have different things happen to it each week so it keeps it fresh and interesting for an audience.” said showrunner Steven Moffat.

In my opinion, kind of like have K-9 without all the rights issues and Frobisher without the CGI costs.It has a lot of potential, especially in this vastly different technological age.

Good for you Steven. You made a good choice.


11 years ago today

The Return of a TV Legend happened 11 years ago today.

So it’s sorta the Doctor’s Other Anniversary. The anniversary of re-birth.

“Rose” was broadcast, complete with Graham Norton bleed-over to a public ( that hadn’t seen the show since the 1996 TV Movie and hadn’t been a regular BBC show since Dec 6,1989. (The BBC would make Graham infamous again in 2010 with a promo crawl at the end of an episode).

It started with “A New Dimension” before the appointed hour. A very Fan-y made history of the TV show. To remind those people and kids that this show was on before. 🙂

Narrated by future 10th Doctor David Tennant.

Ah, years of BBC bootlegs was born. 🙂

You know, with dial up at the time it took 24 hours to download the episode… 🙂

The excitement I felt was off the charts. Though as I have relayed before I was the recipient of a friend’s bootleg 3 weeks before the broadcast so by the premiere night I had already seen it and was not very impressed. The 2nd viewing was much better. Expectations were probably too high that night in early March 2005.

It will be around another year before Series 10 but we wait patiently.

So break out that copy of “Rose” and relive 11 years ago when The Doctor and his TARDIS appeared again.


The Best Month of My Life

How long does it take to watch every episode of Doctor Who?

How long does it take to watch every episode of Doctor Who?

By Radio Times staff

Are you a Doctor Who fan? We mean a real Doctor Who fan… a dyed-in-the-Tardis-seen-ever-episode-that’s-ever-been-made Doctor Who fan?

Yes? Well congratulations, it turns out you’ve essentially spent a full calendar month watching your favourite show from start to finish (and that’s if you only watch every episode once!)

Indeed, those of you who have watched all the episodes of Classic Who from Hartnell through to McGann, and then sat down to the nine series of new Who screened from 2005 to 2015 have enjoyed a whopping 28 days 7 hours and 50 minutes of Doctor Who, according to That’s like spending all of February awake with Doctor Who on the TV.

The 26 series (and specials) of classic Who are the biggest part of the viewathon, taking 21 days 22 hours and 30 minutes to get through.  But even those of you who are only fans of the modern show since Christopher Eccleston brought it back under Russell T Davies have still spent 6 days, 9 hours and 20 minutes (or just under a week without sleep) keeping up with adventures in space and time.

The ‘good news’ is that the total time won’t be going up for a while with no series of the show slated for 2016, so plenty of time to slip a quick month of Doctor Who in to remind yourself just what you’re missing.


Katy Manning, who played Jo Grant on Doctor Who, has finally begun to open up to fans about her fascinating life, both in print and in person.

Jamie McLoughlin of the Liverpool Echo recently requested reader questions for an interview that was conducted this week with Katy Manning, who played UNIT employee and Third Doctor’s companion Jo Grant on Doctor Who, as well as appearing on The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Regarding which of the Doctor’s outfits that Manning likes best aside from the Third Doctor’s, she said that she likes the Twelfth Doctor’s because it is reminiscent of the Third’s, but that each Doctor’s wardrobe suited them “exactly right.” She discussed how she enjoyed the time that she had her picture taken with, and gave posing pointers to, Peter Capaldi.

A reader asked if Manning would ever consider reprising the role of Jo Grant, either on Doctor Who or a spin-off, and invoked her guest appearance on The Sarah Jane Adventures. She replied that while being on TSJA “was an extraordinary” experience, she feels that the character is probably too old now.

She refused to choose just one Doctor from the revival of the show with whom to travel, citing the greatness of all of the actors who have depicted the single individual. Also, she has enjoyed the opportunity to work both on screen and the audio adventures with many of the actors who have played the role.

Liverpool Echo:

“People tell me I should have been doing these shows for years”

Doctor Who actress Katy Manning is in conversation at St George's Hall on Saturday
Doctor Who actress Katy Manning is in conversation at St George’s Hall on Saturday

IF your sole knowledge of Katy Manning’s life and career is based on her Wikipedia page – she’s got news for you.

“None of it is true!” she told the Echo from her London home. “They’ve got my wrong age, my wrong date of birth and apparently, I’ve been married five times. I have never been married to any of my partners, it’s news to them when they see it on the page.

“And another one is Google. There’s a photo on there that says it’s me – and it’s Nanette Newman! I have never had dark hair!

“I loathe things that claim to give you information. You can only trust it if you put it up there yourself.”

Which makes Saturday’s event at St George’s Hall an opportunity for the former Doctor Who actress to set some of the records straight. An Evening With Katy Manning is a chance to hear recollections and anecdotes from a life just as fascinating as her varied career, taking in homes on three continents, raising twins and having a Hollywood legend organise their Christening.

But she had to be persuaded to do it in the first place. Seriously persuaded.

Katy, who played Jo Grant, the companion to Jon Pertwee’s Doctor from 1971 to 1973, explained: “They asked me to do it, to have an evening like this and I told my agent ‘no’, that’s not my thing.

“I do talks at Doctor Who conventions and I sort of go into manic overdrive. When I talk, I freefall and I’ll leap on a new subject like a seagull on a hot piece of fat. Also, I live very much in the ‘now’ and not the past so all I could think of was, ‘why would they want me?’. Then my agent said, you have had an extraordinarily interesting life, you have a plethora of stories. So for some reason, I said yes. I’ll do it. It’s not my comfort zone, I don’t really do ‘me’.

“But I adore people, I get very excited and the energy becomes quite manic and I just go with the flow. People tell me I should have been doing shows like this for years but I’ve told them, I’m just doing it in Liverpool and I’m never doing it again.”

Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning on location in 1972 filming the Doctor Who serial The Time Monster
Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning on location in 1972 filming the Doctor Who serial The Time Monster

Merseyside has featured heavily in Katy’s life this week. Her chat with the ECHO came after a very long recording session with Tom Baker, the city-born fourth incarnation of the Time Lord but you’d have to scroll back a lot further to find the last time she visited the city for a professional engagement.

“I did a play in rep in Liverpool many years ago,” she remembered. “I’ve done a couple of Doctor Who conventions here too but the thing with conventions is that you arrive somewhere, then you do it, get up and go straight back out again so you never see the place you’re visiting.

“It’s a wonderful city and I’m very excited about coming here, the music in particular is my era.

“I did Educating Rita for three years too when I was in Australia. I did the Liverpudlian accent and I got a lot of good feedback about it. There are a lot of Liverpool people in Australia and they were coming up to me after the show, saying ‘we never knew you were from Liverpool’ and I’d tell them ‘I’m not, doing voices is part of my job’. It was lovely, I never got one negative word about my Scouse accent! I’ve never met Willy Russell but I think he writes wonderfully for women and I’ve directed Shirley Valentine as well.

“I’m not getting a lot of time in Liverpool this weekend as I’m working right up until Friday night when I leave for this, then I’m leaving again early on Sunday morning but that is my life really, working. I haven’t had a proper holiday since 1976 but I’ve lived overseas, lived in three different countries and people say to me how lovely it is that you’re going to these places but it’s work. I love working and I’m not a great holidayer.

“I have travelled back and forth on planes on my own with twins (Katy’s children) – and I have lots of stories about that, believe me.

“But where my children are concerned, that is where I feel blessed to have been part of such an extraordinary programme as Doctor Who. I say to them, I will always have something to leave you to remind you of me. They’re two plastic figurines of Jo Grant and a sheet of special stamps that I’m on where my head is bigger than the Queen’s!”

In advance of Saturday night, it’s important Katy keeps the powder dry where her anecdotes are concerned – but she did have one last appeal for the people of the city: “I hope people will come to see me and everyone’s going to get a big hug.

“I want it to be as intimate as possible and I may run into the audience and sit on a few laps.

“And if you want to know the real facts about me, go to my website!”

With that our talk was at an end but even though she had yet to leave London, the Mersey influence on Katy’s week continued unabated.

Later that evening, after the final whistle went on the Europa League leg at Old Trafford, she posted on her Twitter account: “Well done Liverpool ! You’re through ! Just seen football & now long day endeth & bed is beckoning ! Night night xxx”

If we’re thinking of making anyone an honorary Scouser…

To find out what links Katy to the Australian soap Neighbours, how she helped Peter Capaldi strike a pose and why she couldn’t make Liza Minelli’s wedding – click here to see the answers she gave to our readers’ questions.




Finally, it appears the new Doctor Who companion has been cast – and Jenna Coleman’s replacement could be someone Peter Capaldi has worked with before…

“We will have a new companion, and I’m excited because obviously I know who this person is,” Capaldi told Brazilian website Omelete, reportedly adding that the actor joining him in the TARDIS is someone he has worked with in the past.

However, Capaldi said it was likely to be a very different relationship to that between the Twelfth Doctor and Coleman’s Clara Oswald and that the new arrival will know “very little about the Doctor”.

“Clara had prior knowledge of the Doctor,” said Capaldi. “It was conceived as a human connected to your timeline, and so had access to the cosmic nature of the Doctor. She understood a little about how he was. And as she was already with [Eleventh Doctor] Matt [Smith], she knew the Daleks and the TARDIS. Now we have someone who knows very little about the Doctor.”

The TV Movie Revisited

If you haven’t seen it, you should pick up the latest Doctor Who Magazine, which has some new articles on the 1996 TV Movie.

Yes, I have given it some grief in the past. Most fans have.

But the article by Jonathan Morris is particularly good.

It points out several very important points about the TV Movie that would eventually lead to another series 9 years later.

The most salient of the points is that the Movie itself is not the now fashionable “Reboot” or “re-imagining” where they throw out most of what you liked about the show just to borrow the name or the basic concept.

Xena reboot? Charmed Reboot? etc etc etc….

The TV Movie, is a CONTINUATION of the series. By having Sylvester McCoy in the first 20 minutes to pass the baton Paul McGann you have a continuation of the old show into the “new” show. Something that would happen, albeit more slowly when Russell T Davies continues the show FROM the the TV Movie in 2005. And then the TV Movie gets a roll in the 50th Anniversary, with Night of the Doctor!

So you have a nearly seamless transition from Classic Series (1963-1989) to TV Movie (1996) to NuWho (2005- ) and they are all THE SAME SERIES. So you can have a series that effectively has been on since 1963 with just some years when it wasn’t on.

In these days of Reboot Mania this is actually an extraordinary feat.

So one of the weaknesses of the TV Movie (not being very new viewer friendly because it picks up with the 7th Doctor for 20 minutes, then has the 8th Doctor come in and be all “Who am I?” for the next 20 minutes so that the movie is half over before it really gets going) and turns it into a significant historical precedent.

Classic Who is connected to the TV Movie and The TV Movie is Connected to NuWho.

There is a reboot in sight. They are not separate canon.

And should the show go off the air again for years and come back, the template has already been laid for it just to pick up where it left off.

I found this to be a revelation that I had not thought about beforea bout the TV Movie.

So it makes the TV Movie that much better overall. The plot still sucks. But for what he had to work with and the fact that it was Writer Matthew Jacobs idea that it should be a continuation makes it better in hindsight than it was in the moment.

Yes, I did say it was THE WRITER’s IDEA!  Not Fox. Not Universal. Not The BBC.

The Writer is the one you have to thank for the continuity between Classic Who and NuWho.

Not such a bad guy after all. 🙂