Thursday 14 November 2019

Pearl Mackie: I almost ran out on my Doctor Who audition

By Francesca Gosling

The star tells how nerves about meeting Peter Capaldi almost got the better of her.

Actress Pearl Mackie has admitted she almost abandoned her Doctor Who audition at the final hurdle when she was invited to meet Peter Capaldi for the first time.

She told how both her nerves and fashion choice almost put her off going for the part, even after impressing casting director Andy Pryor.

Remembering the moment she met Peter and series creator Steven Moffat, she told the Radio Times: “Just walking through the foyer was nerve-racking.

“I rocked up in my Afro and bright yellow trainers and a baggy T-shirt into this big glossy octagon foyer and they told me to wait in a room till they were ready for me… I almost ran away.”

But the 29-year-old fought her fears and will star as new character Bill Potts alongside Peter’s twelfth Doctor when the series returns this weekend.

While Peter said his would-be co-star “looked great” during their first meeting, Pearl confessed: “When we read together and you (Peter) said, ‘Shall we stand up?’, I panicked.”

Joining the story as what creators called ‘Woman Ten’, Bill is an intelligent, but cocky, canteen assistant at St Luke’s University in Bristol, where the Doctor teaches.

The new addition has already sparked interest after it was announced that she would be the Doctor’s first openly gay companion in the show’s 54-year history.

Describing the pair’s on-screen relationship, Peter, 58, said: “There’s almost an Educating Rita element.

“The Doctor decides to take her on as a pupil and there’s a lot of jousting between them… They banter, for want of a better word.”

Pearl added: “She tends to say things kind of as they are and can be quite direct. I think he’s surprised by her.”

But while the new series marks a new beginning for Pearl, who was picked for the part while starring in the West End’s The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, it will be Peter’s last stint as the Doctor.

He said: “I’ll have done 40 episodes of Doctor Who… I don’t think if I stayed on I’d be able to think of another way to say, ‘This could be the end of civilisation as we know it.’

“I’ve always gone from one job to the other and seen what was around the corner and I want to get back to that.”

Asked who he thought might replace him – after weeks of viewer debate that has seen a number of female actors tipped for the role – he said: “I’m sure they will find the best person for the job.”

Read the full article in the Radio Times, out now.

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