Doctor Who Season 10 finally premiered last April after a long wait. While Season 10 premiere featured plenty of the usual time-travelling madness, this season saw the introduction of new companion Bill, played by Pearl Mackie, who was briefly introduced in a special scene earlier this year and the return of Matt Lucas to reprise his role as Nardole.
Today, the team at Nookmag speaks with Pearl and Matt on the highlights of the new season and their thoughts towards the role.
N: Has Nardole changed now that he’s a regular traveler in this series with the Doctor? If so how?
M: I feel he has. He’s more textured, more three-dimensional. You couldn’t go through a whole series with him being as cartoonish as he was in The Husbands Of River Song. That episode was played for laughs. We get to learn more about him and why he’s there. He has a purpose.
N: What’s his relationship like with the Doctor now?
M: They bicker. He works for the Doctor, but he’s never afraid to take him on either. He’s not shy in saying when he disagrees with something, and sometimes he’s just grumpy because he hasn’t had enough sleep. He definitely prefers the quieter life.
N: How does he feel when Bill joins them in the TARDIS this series?
M: As far as Nardole is concerned, the less drama, the better. So when a human comes on board he’s not exactly delighted. He doesn’t look up to humans either. He thinks they’re of little consequence (he’s right). I think Nardole wants to stay focused on the task he’s been given and doesn’t appreciate the distraction for the Doctor that Bill provides
N: What’s the dynamic like between the three?
M: As the series goes on, I think Bill and Nardole find they have more in common and challenge the Doctor more. Nardole grows to appreciate Bill and what she brings to the TARDIS. The Doctor has grown weary of Nardole but as the series goes on, I think he comes to appreciate what he has to offer.
N: What were your filming highlights this series?
M: Michelle Gomez makes me howl with laughter. Pearl can do any accent. Peter is a font of knowledge. And the crew are the best I’ve ever worked with. We’ve been together for ten months and we laugh a lot now. I think I drive everyone mad.
N: Do you prefer the ‘going back in time’ or the futuristic adventures?
M: Most of my adventures have been in the future. I enjoyed episode ten when we went back to 2nd century Aberdeen, though the Brecon Beacons in November is probably the coldest place I’ve ever filmed.
N: Pearl, what have we got to look forward to in series 10?
P: There’s a lot of excitement in store – new and exciting adventures, new monsters and some old monsters coming back. We’ve got a team that see the Doctor through new eyes. I think with series 10 it’s a great place to start if you’ve never watched Doctor Who because Bill is so new to the world of Doctor Who – you kind of see everything through her eyes. So as she learns about it, you can learn about it too which I think is very exciting. We’ve got some danger in there too – there are some pretty hairy moments but we’ve got some humour as well. I hope you enjoy it!
N: Who is Bill Potts?
P: Bill is cool – she’s quite young, doesn’t really know much about the world. She’s very real – she’s not had a very easy upbringing and whilst she doesn’t really let that affect her day-to-day life, it’s there under the surface – she can be quite defensive. She’s fun, she’s excited, she’s a bit geeky – she quite likes sci-fi stuff, she’s into space and that type of thing so when she does go on adventures with the Doctor and discovers aliens are real and that kind of stuff it blows her mind which is really cool.
N: Can you describe the relationship between Bill and The Doctor?
P: It’s quite interesting at the beginning – their relationship is very much tutor/student. It has an ‘Educating Rita’ vibe about it at the beginning when they first meet each other. There’s a definite fasciation for Bill in terms of the Doctor – she’s really interested in the way his mind works – he’s supposed to be doing a lecture on science and ends up talking about poetry and he says they’re the same thing. Clearly his mind works in a different way to anyone else she’s ever met which I think is really fascinating for her. One thing he likes about her is that she’s not scared about all the things she doesn’t know – she always wants to know more – she’s keen to get involved which is one of the things that draws him towards her.
N: How does Bill learn to deal with all the extraordinary things she sees when she’s with The Doctor on his adventures?
P: I think she jumps in and is happy to get involved. She asked a lot of questions – she’s very inquisitive and she’s very smart so she calls the Doctor out on a lot of things that he hasn’t necessarily had to answer for a while so I think that’s the way she navigates through things – by asking him what’s going on an assessing his answers and she says things how she sees them. She has an open and honest nature which is how I think she gets through.