Plus: The actress addresses rumors that her first season might be her last

By Clark Collis
April 14, 2017 at 11:47 AM EDT
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When EW recently caught up with Pearl Mackie, she had just one more day of shooting left on the new season of Doctor Who, the first to feature her companion, Bill Potts.

“I think everything surprised me,” said the actress, laughing while recalling her first year working on the beloved time travel show, which stars Peter Capaldi as the titular Time Lord. “This is basically my first TV job. So, after day one on Doctor Who, I’d pretty much lapped the amount of time that I’d ever spent on a film set ever. And obviously that’s not even talking about the content of the days, and how mad it is working with monsters, and working with CGI, and working on such an important show. Everything about it is surprising because the nature of the series is so epic and brilliant.”

One thing that surprised many people was the announcement last month that Bill is the show’s first gay companion, although Mackie says her character’s sexuality is really not that big a deal. “I was like, ‘Yeah, okay, cool,'” says the actress, describing her reaction to being informed she would be playing a gay character. “I mean, there’s so many elements to Bill, there’s so much to dive into as an actor, that her sexuality is quite far down the list of things that I’ve thought about. For me, I think representation is really important. You know, it’s 2017, so it’s about time for a gay main companion, really.”

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Season 10’s two-part finale is written by executive producer Steven Moffat and directed by Rachel Talalay, whose credits include Tank Girl and Sherlock and who has been responsible for overseeing some of the most acclaimed Doctor Who adventures in recent times, including 2015’s Capaldi showcase, “Heaven Sent.” “She’s absolutely fantastic,” says Mackie. “She really gets into the nitty gritty of the text, and the meaning, and the emotions of the scene, which is wonderful for the finale. She’s been absolutely incredible.”

Mackie is coy about her future on the show. With both Capaldi and Moffat soon to be exiting Doctor Who, there are rumors that Mackie’s first season on the show may also be her last. “Um, well, you’ll just have to wait and see if Bill comes back!” she says.

Watch a Mackie-featuring trailer above. The new season of Doctor Who premieres on BBC America Saturday at 9 p.m. ET.

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