Issue 502 of the much-loved Doctor Who Magazine features an exclusive interview with Doctor Who casting director Andy Pryor – and he has good things to say on Pearl Mackie!
Casting for Doctor Who is one of the most vital periods of production. Doctor Who actors don’t just bring their characters to life, but are part of a celebrated history that spans over 50 years. Pearl Mackie is the latest companion to step into the TARDIS and maintain the longstanding legacy. In an interview with Doctor Who casting director Andy Pryor, there is nothing but praise for Pearl Mackie’s Bill.
“Casting, particularly in a role like that, is so informed by who the actor is, where they pitch the comedy, where they pitch the elements of the part that require slightly darker tones,” says Pryor to Doctor Who Magazine.
Moreover, as Pearl Mackie has already won the part, she undoubtedly has the skill to strike a balance between comedy and drama. Both of these are integral to Doctor Who, and thematically shape the series moving forward. Pryor reaffirms this confidently: “Pearl has an ability to tap into the humour of the part, without making it an overtly comic performance”. This is precisely what Doctor Who requires of its actors, and Bill will no doubt bring both laughter and tears.
Not only does Pryor assure Mackie’s capability, but he also backs as to just how well she nailed the part. With an ever-changing cast such as Doctor Who’s, casting is always recurrent. Looking for ways to move forward after over 50 years of Who canon is no doubt daunting. Nevertheless, Pryor’s casting team has never faltered: “With the most successful bits of casting we’ve done – and I include all of the companions in that – its always been a unanimous choice”. Clearly, Pryor cast Mackie on a united front. Fans will no doubt respond to Bill with the same enthusiasm as Pryor had in casting her.
In his interview, Pryor pushes excitement for Bill. Mackie not only auditioned for Bill, but she contributed to the character also. “She found things in the part that none of us had envisaged,” said Pryor, “she made Bill a rounded person”.
Rounded companions are the best fit for The Doctor on his adventures. They often ground his adventures and keep him in check whilst providing the show with its humanity. No doubt that this gave Pryor his reason to state that: “we all fell in love with Pearl instantly”. Mackie is a part of the Doctor Who family and fits perfectly within it also. No doubt Whovian hearts will love both Bill and Pearl just the same.
You can browse the full contents of issue 502 of Doctor Who Magazine here and at newsstands now.