All kinds of names have been in the frame for the new companion – including a former EastEnders star and more than one actor who's already starred in Doctor Who. But with just a day to go until the official announcement live on BBC1 (at half-time in the FA Cup semi-final no less) we at RadioTimes.com are (along with others it seems) putting our money on a newcomer, Pearl Mackie.
In a press release circulated earlier today, bookies Betfair were headlining with the fact that odds had been slashed on Georgina Campbell, the Bafta-winning star of BBC3’s Murdered By My Boyfriend, who has very much been among the rumours. But when we spoke to them later on, we discovered that a late flurry of bets had since been placed on Mackie, to such an extent that she is currently 4/6 odds-on favourite.
Now the betting market is far from a perfect indicator, so is there any evidence we can add to back up the late punt on Pearl? Bear with me here but a delve into Mackie’s Twitter account shows that she has recently started following two former Doctor Who companions – Freema Agyeman and Jenna Coleman – one immediately after the other.
Possibly looking to pick up some advice for taking on her new role and dealing with the attention that comes with it (like journalists stalking you on Twitter)? Maybe. But then Mackie is an actor and, as you would expect, she follows a lot of other actors.
She certainly knows a few. Here she is in a Years and Years music video with none other than Ben Whishaw and another rising star Tuppence Middleton...
How about this: she also follows Doctor Who casting director Andy Pryor? Again: she’s an actor, etc etc…
Er, she was in BBC1 daytime soap Doctors. Doctors? Doctor Who? No?
Ok, would Mackie even be free to work on Doctor Who? Well, she’s currently starring in the National Theatre production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which runs until June. Peter Capaldi starts filming Doctor Who this month, but assuming that the Christmas special – which we’ve been told won’t feature the companion – comes first, that would line up pretty well. Either way, she could probably wriggle out of any theatre contract to go and work on a gig as big as Doctor Who, right?
Whatever you think about the evidence above, though, you have to admit Mackie just looks like a Doctor Who companion. That’s what everyone in the office thought as soon as they saw her publicity shot.
She apparently also has the necessary personality and charisma – as an acting tutor for children she’s described as having a “vibrant optimism” while her special skills are listed as “mixing maturity and immaturity”.
Now if that doesn't say Doctor Who, I don’t know what does…