Pearl Mackie says she could return to Doctor Who – it’s just a matter of time

The Bill Potts star talks a possible Whoniverse comeback, encounters with Who fans, female directors and her Urban Myths episode with Donald Trump

(BBC, TL)

Despite quickly becoming a favourite among modern Doctor Who fans, Bill Potts sadly hasn’t shared the screen with the Tardis since the show’s 2017 Christmas special.

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And unlike former companions such as Catherine Tate and Billie Piper, Pearl Mackie’s character hasn’t appeared in a Big Finish Doctor Who audio drama, either.

Will we ever see (or hear) from Bill again? According to Mackie herself, it’s definitely possible – just maybe not for a while.

“I think I need more time, to be honest. I still feel quite close to Bill. I need to miss her before I want to play her again, you know?” the actress told RadioTimes.com. “I think I need to [do that] and find a way to add to her story before wanting to go back and play her again.”

She added: “I was happy to work with [Twelfth Doctor] Peter [Capaldi], and to do just one series was a gift.”

However, if she wants to return to the show, Mackie has some catching up to do: thanks to her post-Who travels she hasn’t had chance to watch new Doctor Jo Whittaker’s first series. But her fondness for the show hasn’t faltered and she still remembers the reaction to Bill, Who’s first gay companion.

“This has happened a few times subsequently, but I’ll always remember when a girl came up to me to say that she identified with Bill so much that it enabled her to come out to her family and without me she wouldn’t have been able to do that,” Mackie says.

“That’s not something that I ever dreamed to do as an actress, but if I’m able to give support, even in a secondary way, to a community that is marginalised then that’s wonderful and that is a fantastic gift to me.”

Although it may be a while before we see Bill Potts in the Whoniverse once more, Mackie will return to screens very soon in Sky Arts comedy Urban Myths – with Donald Trump. Well, sort of.

The actress is set to play Kay, a secretary of the future president (played by Anthony Atamanuik) circa 1984 as he hosts a cheerleading contest in the basement of Trump Tower.

Pearl Mackie as Kay in Urban Myths (Sky)
Pearl Mackie as Kay in Urban Myths (Sky)
SKy

Not only will the episode see the orange-tinted businessman chomp through a stack of burgers, but he’ll also come face to face with artist Andy Warhol (30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer), who’s out to settle a debt with Trump.

“In the style of Urban Myths, it’s based on stories that might be true and then fictionalised,” Mackie explains. “It’s just such a great dynamic to watch Trump and Warhol – they’re polar opposites. There are a few moments when you see Trump’s fear and his insecurity, which you can see how we’ve got the man today. But it is a funny piece!”

Jack McBrayer as Andy Warhol and Anthony Atamanuik as Donald Trump in Urban Myths
Jack McBrayer as Andy Warhol and Anthony Atamanuik as Donald Trump in Urban Myths

It wasn’t just the humour and take down of the US president that left Mackie so happy with the episode. “It also has a female director –  Molly Manners – as well, which is fantastic!” Mackie beamed.

“She is the first female director that I’ve worked with since being on Doctor Who, actually.

“It is so important to recognise that there aren’t many female directors that are given opportunities because they’re not trusted in the way that male directors are – they don’t have the same opportunities so they don’t have as many credits and then it’s a vicious cycle.

“I think it’s great working with a female director, especially as a woman. It’s just really nice to talk about your character with a woman, as a woman. Not that it’s better or worse, but it’s wonderful to be able to explore that dynamic.

“For this episode, it means there’s still comedy, but it doesn’t shy away from the sexism. And that’s good: it shows it in all its true colours.”

Donald Trump in Urban Myths
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Urban Myths is on Wednesday 17th April at 9pm on Sky Arts