Doctor Who's

new companion Bill Potts is gay, it was revealed today - and the actress behind the character, Pearl Mackie, has said that she welcomes the increased representation for LGBTQ people on television.

Mackie also said that, when she was a child, she suffered from not seeing many mixed race people on screen, and that it is important for children and young people to be able to watch characters that they can identify with, the Daily Telegraph reports.

"It shouldn't be a big deal in the 21st Century. It's about time isn't it?" she told the BBC.

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"That representation is important, especially on a mainstream show."

She then added: "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, so I think being able to visually recognise yourself on screen is important."

"[Being gay] is not the main thing that defines her character - it's something that's part of her and something that she's very happy and very comfortable with."

The new series of Doctor Who begins on BBC One on Saturday 15 April, and Mackie's first episode will be titled The Pilot.

Ahead of the new series, there has been excitement over the recent announcement that the show is planning to bring back one of the Doctor's most iconic enemies: the Mondasian Cybermen.

Meanwhile, the upcoming season will be Peter Capaldi's last as the Doctor. Fans are favouring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Kris Marshall and Tilda Swinton as possible replacements.