One evening, several months after Pearl Mackie was announced as the new companion, I got the chance to meet her.
A friend of mine was working on the lighting for the West End show of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. My friend couldn’t get us tickets until after the cast would change over, so going to see it was out of the question. I was already aware that Mackie was in it, but it didn’t occur to me that I could wait outside the theatre stage door, even if I didn’t see the show. However I did realise that doing this would probably be cheap and just taking advantage.
So when we were waiting for Mackie outside the stage door that night, I was imagining that she might throw me a quiz about the show, and I would expose the massive scandal of not seeing it! This didn’t happen. When she did come out, about five other Who fans that arrived after me swarmed around her for autographs.
Then Mackie’s cousins turned up for hugs too. When I did get to meet her, I was pretty nervous. But it was a different kind of nervous; normally I have watched this person on my favourite show for years and love the character they portray. But in this case, she hadn’t even started filming for her first episode, so it was strange that I was still shaking.
After getting an autograph and photos, Mackie and cousins disappeared into the night. My lighting friend emerged and agreed to let us buy him a drink. I had to have a Coke as I was driving, but my fiancée had ginger and white rum – lucky. After a few minutes of chit-chat about Red Dwarf and Star Wars, Pearl Mackie and her crew walked into the same bar. My face dropped and I started to go pale again. My other half rushed to my aid and walked over to her, not phased by the fact that she was soon to be chased up and down corridors by Daleks.
I plucked up the courage to join them, when Mackie put her arm around me. I realised that we were about to have another photo with her. Score!
After that we left the bar, leaving Bill Potts behind with her cousins and friends.
So there we have it. Without friends, I wouldn’t have thought of meeting a new companion outside the stage door, and with my fiancée, I wouldn’t have got so many momentos of the occasion to cherish.
Oh and incidentally, we did go and see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time a few days later when some tickets became available, and Pearl Mackie and the rest of the cast were superb. As I work with Autistic people, it was fascinating to see it portrayed on stage. Go and see it!