Steven Moffat’s guide to creating a Doctor Who companion is seriously fascinating

Pearl Mackie’s Bill was an organic creation - and not just a reaction to Jenna Coleman's Clara

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It’s only 5 days until new Doctor Who companion Bill Potts is introduced properly to the world, with actor Pearl Mackie bringing the character to life alongside Peter Capaldi’s Doctor in action-packed series premiere The Pilot this Saturday.

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And ahead of Bill’s first appearance series creator Steven Moffat has revealed the fascinating process behind her creation, which he reveals was less about moving away from companions past and more about (believe it or not) music. 

“You start from scratch,” Moffat told RadioTimes.com and other press.

“You’re talking about a new character, a new voice, a new style. You’re not thinking, ‘what gap has not been filled?’ And you mustn’t! You can’t go ‘Oh let’s go the opposite of last time,’ that doesn’t work!

“People aren’t opposites of each other, and obviously the sort of people who travel with the Doctor are gonna have certain things in common. On the other hand, as you will see Bill is very different to [former companion Jenna Coleman’s] Clara.

“You start with the tone of voice. I just started writing the first scene [in the first episode], that’s the first thing I wrote of Bill, just trying to find my way into it.” 

Apologising for sounding “pretentious,” Moffat went on to explain exactly how that tone informs the rest of the companion, forming their personality and dialogue as time goes on.

“You sort of hit a note, and then some things harmonise with that note and some things don’t,” he explained. “You’re writing a scene and you think ‘erm I don’t know why, but she wouldn’t say that. So I’ll get rid of that and do something else.’

“You start messing around and slowly a character develops out of that. It starts with a tone of voice and then a sort of attitude, and then a sort of person there. 

He concluded: “It gets, as we’re discovering today as we’re asked about it, harder and harder to talk about what she’s like because what she’s like gets more and more complicated.”

We can hardly wait to see the final creation in action.

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Doctor Who returns to BBC1 on Saturday 15th April at 7.20pm