For the last few weeks there have been dark rumours about the fate of new Doctor Who companion Bill (played by Pearl Mackie), ever since a trailer for the upcoming series of the BBC sci-fi seemed to hint at her imminent demise.
“I’m having the time of my life – and I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Bill says in the teaser, adding ominously: “Even if it kills me…”
Separate to this, rumours have also abounded that Mackie might be leaving Doctor Who this year after just one series as companion, giving new showrunner Chris Chibnall a clean slate as Bill departs at the same time as Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor and current head writer Steven Moffat.
Taken together, some fans have wondered if this all means Bill could be facing her death at the end of the new series – and now new hints from series star Peter Capaldi seem to hint that the dangers facing Mackie’s companion could be just as deadly as they fear.
“It’s a kind of teacher-pupil relationship, but it becomes more complex than that,” Capaldi said of the interaction between the Doctor and Bill, “and I think ultimately the Doctor has to undergo some dramas by himself.
“So I think he becomes slightly worried that he’s swept someone else up into his adventures without quite preparing them.”
In other words, it sounds like Bill’s getting in over her head with the Doctor’s dangerous world – and her inexperience could end up costing her dear.
Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie in Doctor Who series 10
Speaking more generally about his time working with Mackie, Capaldi continued: “It was great meeting Pearl – she brought a whole new vigour and excitement to the role of the Doctor’s companion.
“She’s not that different to older companions in the sense that she’s a character that doesn’t know anything about the Doctor’s life or about the TARDIS or about Daleks or anything like that so she has to be introduced completely to what goes on in his existence and that’s been a good way of rebooting the show.
“It allows people who aren’t experienced in Doctor Who to experience it for the first time.”
Plus, if Bill does meet a horrible fate, these new fans will get a crash course in some classic Doctor Who heartbreak.
Doctor Who returns to BBC1 on Saturday 15th April at 7.20pm