"Doctor Who" returns to television on Apr. 15 and with the new season brings a 50+ year first: an openly gay companion.
BBC on Friday announced that this season's companion, Bill Potts -- portrayed by Pearl Mackie -- will be the first openly gay full-time assistant to The Doctor.
"It shouldn't be a big deal in the 21st Century," Mackie said to BBC. "It's about time isn't it? That representation is important, especially on a mainstream show. It's important to say people are gay, people are black -- there are also aliens in the world as well so watch out for them."
"I remember watching TV as a young mixed race girl not seeing many people who looked like me," she said, "so I think being able to visually recognize yourself on screen is important."
Other characters have passed through the long-running series and have been obviously LGBT like Captain Jack Harkness, portrayed by John Barrowman, but Mackie's Potts will be the first full-time gay companion.
"[Being gay] is not the main thing that defines her character," Mackie said. "It's something that's part of her and something that she's very happy and very comfortable with."