'Doctor Who' Showrunner: It's Important to Not Make a Fuss Over Series' First Openly Gay Companion

Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie
Credit: Ray Burmiston/BBC

"The appropriate response should be: What took you so long?" said Steven Moffat regarding the news about the sexuality of the time lord's latest sidekick.

When the next season of Doctor Who lands on BBC (U.K.) and BBC America (U.S.) April 15, it'll make history by featuring the cult show's first openly gay companion. 

The news was revealed last week by actress Pearl Mackie, who joins season 10 as Peter Capaldi's new (and last) sidekick Bill Potts.

But don't go expecting the series' producers to make a big deal about it. 

Speaking at the premiere of the opening episode Tuesday night in London, outgoing showrunner Steven Moffat cut short any questions from the audience about the revelation by insisting that the matter of Potts' sexuality was addressed onstage straight up. 

"To be clear, we are not expecting any round of applause for [making the character gay]," he said, adding that he hadn't anticipated any of the fuss that has been made. "That's the minimum amount of representation you should have on television and the appropriate response should be: What took you so long?"

Moffatt, who leaves at the end of season 10 after leading the charge at Doctor Who since 2010, insisted that the fuss in the media had to stop. 

"Children are much smarter than us and they're thinking you just did a headline about a fairly average person," he said. "It's important that we don't make a fuss about this in a children's show which talks directly to them. We don't want young kids, who may happen to fancy their own gender, we don't want them to feel as if they are some of kind of special case, as that's frightening. And it's not your job, journalists, to frighten children. It is my job, and I will decide that."

Season 10 of Doctor Who will also be the final outing with Capaldi as the iconic time lord, having revealed he would be leaving earlier this year. However, the actor ducked out of answering who he'd like to see replace him in the TARDIS, or if the character should — for the first time — be played by a woman.

"I’m sure whoever that person is [that takes over] would be wonderful," he said. "Doctor Who is a wonderful part and they’re going to make, if they have not already done so, a wonderful choice. Whether that’s a man or a woman is irrespective, just as long as they are right for the part."