Did Doctor Who star Pearl Mackie just give the strongest indication yet that she hopes to stay with the show after Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat quit?
Speaking on Graham Norton’s Radio 2 show, the presenter used a number of clever ruses to try and get her to reveal whether her character Bill Potts would be leaving – and who the next Doctor would be.
And Mackie gave a pretty good job of keeping discreet while giving the very slightest indication that she would like to stay in the role amid rumours that she is going to be written out after one series.
Asked by Norton whether she or “Doctor Who land” would make the decision about her future she said that she hoped that “we would make the decision”.
Continuing his theme Norton said he wondered if it were the last time “I am going to see this face” and she replied: “I hope not”.
Norton’s next tack appeared to be flattery, saying “the fans like you so much they would be crazy to get rid if you” to which she replied: “Well yeah, it seems to have gone down really well, I am happy, I am loving it.”
She added that she didn’t know what Chris Chibnall's plans for the show were when he takes over for next year’s series 11.
“[Chibnall] said some nice things,” she said of one of their meetings. “He was pleased about the series and how Bill’s been received… I really like Bill and I’m glad other people do as well.”
She added that she didn’t know who the successor to Peter Capaldi would be.
“I actually don’t know! I’m actually quite glad I don’t know. Because if I did I would be like ‘oh my God I can’t handle the pressure’.”
Norton said he thought he “knew” who the next Doctor was going to be – based on paparazzi shots taken outside Cardiff’s Roath Lock studios. And it was a remark which appeared to disconcert Mackie’s support team waiting nearby.
“Look at them all panicked in there! I’m not naming anybody,” he laughed, adding that he wanted to talk to Mackie about the subject "off air".
Earlier in the interview there was a slightly awkward moment when Mackie swore live on air.
Speaking of Saturday night’s episode she said there would be some “crazy s***” going on, prompting Norton to say sorry for the “very very bad” slip and adding, “we apologise and we move on”.
“I’m sorry, that was very very bad,” Mackie said.
The interview follows weeks of rumours that the actress could leave the BBC sci-fi series alongside departing lead Peter Capaldi and showrunner Steven Moffat when they step aside later this year, giving incoming head writer Chris Chibnall a clean slate for his 2018 series.
But the BBC have refused to debate the possibility, telling viewers to “tune in” instead and find out for themselves what happens.
“We never reveal the fate of individual characters on the show,” a BBC spokesman has said. “Viewers will have to tune in to find out."
Speculation about Mackie’s future in the series has been rife ever since the announcement of Capaldi’s departure, with trailers also hinting that her character could meet a fatal end.
Mackie also gave hints about the direction of things in a Facebook Live Q and A on Saturday night, saying that she felt "pretty emotional" reading the scripts for the final two episodes.
"There are a lot of endings," she said.
The first part of the Doctor Who series 10 finale is on Saturday June 24 at 6.45pm on BBC1